Four journalists from two Hong Kong media outlets were violently assaulted by pro-government demonstrators during a rally on Saturday against the four-week long pro-democracy Occupy Central movement, according to the Hong Kong press. Hong Kong journalists through their associations condemned the violence.
Two cameramen and a reporter at Hong Kong TV station TVB and a female reporter at Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) were brutally beaten up on the evening of Oct. 25 in the neighborhood of Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong during their report of a rally hosted by three anti-Occupy Central organizations—the Blue Ribbon Movement, Alliance in Support of Our Police Force, and the Hong Kong Rightfulness Alliance.
While a TVB cameraman was filming the scene of around 1000 anti-Occupy people gathering to denounce the civil disobedience movement, his camera was knocked onto the ground on purpose by a demonstrator, he told the Hong Kong Ming Pao Daily News.
When the cameraman attempted to report the assault to police, he was surrounded, punched, and kicked by a group of demonstrators, many of whom wore blue ribbons on their shirts. His two other colleagues who came to help him were also beaten by the group, the report says.
A photo by Hong Kong Press Photographers Association shows a man with a blue ribbon harshly pulling a TVB reporter’s tie.
The three TVB journalists suffered different degrees of injuries on their faces and bodies, and their clothes were torn during the confrontation.
The female reporter Wong Wing-yin at RTHK was also injured by a group of anti-Occupiers when she was reporting the rally. Several female protesters started to curse at Wong and asked her to stop reporting, while someone tried to pull off the press card hanging on her neck, Wang told Ming Pao.
Wong fell to the ground while being pushed and dragged by the anti-Occupiers, and she was brutally kicked on her shoulders, back, waist, and legs, the report says.
The attacks on the journalists have been loudly condemned in Hong Kong society. On Oct. 26, 6 Hong Kong news associations and unions published a joint statement to condemn Saturday’s violent attacks.
The statement was issued jointly by Hong Kong Journalists Association, Independent Commentators Association, Next Media Trade Union, Ming Pao Staff Association, Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, and Journalism Educators for Press Freedom.
The statement strongly condemns “these attacks and the people behind them.”
“The violent acts have trampled on press freedom and threatened journalists’ personal safety,” the statement says.
The six groups also published an open letter to the Commissioner of the Hong Kong Police Force Andy Tsang Wai-hung. The letter notes, “A total of 24 journalists have been attacked on various occasions since the beginning of the Occupy Movement in late September.”
It also urges the police to “thoroughly investigate these attacks and bring the culprits to justice.”
On Oct. 15 these groups had requested a meeting with Tsang to discuss their concerns with him. The letter gave him a one-week deadline to respond to their request.
On Oct. 26, 60 TVB staff members and former staff members also published a joint statement to condemn the attacks and ask the company’s management to boycott future reporting of all events related to the anti-Occupy groups involved in the violent attacks.
By Sunday afternoon, Hong Kong police has arrested a 61 year-old suspect involved in the attack for “assault causing actual bodily harm,” “criminal damage,” and “common assault,” according to RTHK. Police did not exclude making further arrests, the report says.