The Hong Kong Journalists Association has condemned the harsh action taken by some police officers against journalists covering the police clearance of the Occupy protest site in Mong Kok, RTHK reported.
“Some police officers have a grudge against journalists,” said HKJA chairwoman Sham Yee-lan.
She said at least 25 journalists had experienced violence during the Occupy campaign so far from police and people who were against the protesters.
“As a journalist, we have to monitor police clearance operations at the scene to safeguard the public’s right to know,” Sham said.
Wong Chun-lung, an Apple Daily photographer, was arrested by police while reporting on the clearing operation in Mongkok. He has been accused of assaulting a police officer.
A Now TV engineer was also arrested for allegedly attacking an officer but was subsequently released without being charged.
David Ng Ka-sing, a former assistant commissioner of police (crime), said police and journalists are “partners” rather than “enemies”.
“The two arrests are just isolated cases under extremely chaotic circumstances,” he said.
Front-line officers are under great pressure after having worked long hours over an extended period, which may have led to clashes with citizens over the last few nights in Mong Kok.
Police have been urged to stay “tolerant and restrained” while performing their duty, the RTHK report said, citing an unnamed senior police officer.
It said eight psychological experts will be deployed at the scene of such operations to help officers where necessary.
“We did not target any journalist and have no intention to suppress press freedom,” senior police officers told RTHK.
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