Hong Kong Police Shot at Journalist, Case Deemed ‘Unsubstantiated’

Hong Kong Police Shot at Journalist, Case Deemed ‘Unsubstantiated’
Riot police drove away reporters with violence in Mong Kok and one of them shot a sponge grenade at a reporter in the early morning of Nov. 16, 2019. The grenade shattered the masks in the reporter's backpack. (Screenshot via the Editorial Board of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)
The case of a Hong Kong reporter who was shot by a sponge grenade during the 2019 anti-extradition movement in Hong Kong, was recently categorized as  “unsubstantiated.”

The reporter, from the Commercial Radio Hong Kong (CRHK), launched an allegation and a complaint about the police officer who fired the shot after the incident.

On Sept. 18, the Hong Kong Complaints Against Police Force (CAPO) released the result of its investigation, claiming the allegation was not supported by evidence and would be classified as “unsubstantiated.”

After being informed of the results of the complaint, CRHK said the reporter, who had left the company, felt disappointed about the investigation result and that CAPO’s findings did not match the facts.

CRHK reiterated that the police investigation results are not accurate, and will ask the police force to review the investigation and CAPO’s response.


During the 2019 anti-extradition movement in the early morning of Nov. 16, riot police drove away protesters and stopped passers-by at an intersection as they cleared the demonstration site in Mong Kok.

Some riot police approached the media, who were interviewing people at the scene, shoved the reporters, tried to forcibly drive them away, and shouted, “[If] you continue to shoot I will sue you for assaulting the police!” Meanwhile, the riot police at the scene kept shining a bright light on the reporters.

A reporter wearing a reflective vest, press pass, and helmet bearing the logo of CRHK, stepped forward to take a photo and was immediately pushed aside by the police.

A hole left in the backpack of a CRHK reporter that looks like it was hit by a sponge grenade. (CRHK’s News)
A hole left in the backpack of a CRHK reporter that looks like it was hit by a sponge grenade. (CRHK’s News)

The officer shouted, “Arrest him!” As the CRHK reporter ran backwards, a riot police officer with a gun immediately rushed up, raised his gun, and fired a shot at the reporter’s back, hitting the reporter’s backpack.

The reporter’s personal belongings in the backpack were smashed. The riot police pushed the reporter’s cell phone away and forcibly pulled down his gas mask..

The CRHK reporter said later that he heard a gunshot from behind and felt the impact on his backpack. He found that the backpack had been pierced, and the tear gas mask and other items in the backpack were destroyed. A sponge grenade was found at the scene. Fortunately, the reporter was not injured.

A sponge grenade is a non-lethal projectile shot from a 40 mm grenade launcher that can reach a target 135 feet away.

On the same day, CRHK issued a statement strongly condemning the dangerous and violent behavior of the police, asking them to conduct a complete investigation and explain the incident, and urging the authorities to restrain the police irregularities, ensure that journalists are not interfered with during normal interviews, and ensure the rights and safety of journalists.

‘No Supporting Video’

CAPO replied that the officers involved had denied the allegations and there was no relevant video to support the allegations, so the incidents were classified as “unsubstantiated.”
The police officer involved claimed that he asked the reporter to leave many times but was ignored. Then the reporter touched the police officer’s hand and fled. Therefore, CAPO believed that the police chasing and firing sponge grenades was not unreasonable behavior.

Attitude of Chris Tang Ping-keung

In an interview in early 2020, Chris Tang Ping-keung, Secretary of Security of Hong Kong, who was the Commissioner of Police in 2019, agreed that the CRHK reporter who was hit by the sponge grenade was just doing his duty, and said that the police officer who fired the shot should be reprimanded.

However, when he was questioned by reporters about the results of this case, he said that he respected the findings of the investigation.