Questions raised as tear gas canister injures reporter

November 11, 2019 15:42
A Now TV reporter suffered burn injuries on her left upper arm after she was struck by a canister of tear gas in Tsuen Wan on Sunday. Photo: Now TV video/screenshot

Now TV has slammed the police after a female reporter working for the media group was hit by a tear gas canister over the weekend, causing burn injuries, while she was covering an anti-government street protest.

The company accused the police of firing of tear gas without prior warning, saying such conduct amounts to reckless disregard for public safety.

It was referring to an incident that took place on Sunday in Tsuen Wan, where police fired multiple volleys of tear gas as they sought to clear protesters off the streets.

At around 3:30 pm, anti-riot officers were ready to leave in a police vehicle after conducting a dispersal operation and subduing a man on a footbridge.

But before the door of the vehicle was about to close, one of the officers suddenly fired a canister of tear gas at the footbridge.

A Now TV reporter, who was on the footbridge at that time, was hit on her left upper arm. It is alleged that there was no demonstrator on the footbridge at that time.

The injured reporter received first aid from a volunteer paramedic at the scene before she was taken to hospital.

After the incident, Now TV issued a statement, accusing the police of firing tear gas without prior warning and causing injury to its journalist.

Denouncing the police action, it said it reserves all right to take further action.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) and the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association (HKPPA) condemned the police in a joint statement, noting that they had urged the police multiple times to restrain its frontline officers and ensure that there is no obstruction, disturbance or violent acts on media workers.

The association also condemned an incident in Mong Kok on Saturday night when a TVB News reporter, who was covering a road blockade situation, was pushed and fell on to the ground, and a photographer from the same TV station was hit and kicked, by some people on the street.

Condemning such acts as interference with news coverage, the HKJA and HKPPA said that it had noticed online messages in which people were urged to violently target news organizations, and that threats were made to some frontline journalists.

The media associations asked all sides to stop obstructing and interfering with journalists’ work, and put an end to violence against media personnel.

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