The arrest of a producer from public broadcaster RTHK allegedly linked to a report on a mob attack on protesters is raising more concerns about the state of press freedom in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers and the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) have condemned the arrest of RTHK producer Bao Choy, who worked on programs about the July 21, 2019 attack in Yuen Long.
Choy, who is employed by the public broadcaster on a freelance basis, was arrested at her home in Mei Foo at about 1 pm on Tuesday (November 3), RTHK reported. Choy was accused of violating the Road Traffic Ordinance in some car plate searches, according to the report.
Sources told RTHK that the arrest was in connection with searches carried out on the personal information of the owners of vehicles seen picking up men suspected of being involved in the Yuen Long attack on July 21, 2019.
The Hong Kong Connection program, entitled 7.21 Who Owns the Truth, showed clips from surveillance cameras at shops in Yuen Long and interviewed people who were identified in the footage.
After the episode aired in the summer, police admitted that plainclothes officers had been patrolling Yuen Long before the rampage took place. On July 21 last year, hundreds of men wearing white shirts gathered near the Yuen Long MTR station and attacked some commuters.
According to a statement issued the following day, the police force strongly condemned the violent incident in Yuen Long after “some people attacked commuters at the platforms of the Yuen Long MTR station and train compartments, resulting in multiple injuries.”
However, in August this year, police sought to present an entirely new version of events about the mob violence as they arrested some of the victims, including Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, who was held on suspicion of “rioting.”
Rather than an indiscriminate attack, the force’s new description of events was of a fight between two “equally-matched” sides. Police have so far arrested more than 60 people, including some of the alleged attackers and also some victims.