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Hong Kong 26 April 2002

Police handcuff journalists

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières - RSF) has written to Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Tung Chee-hwa, protesting about police methods used against journalists covering the expulsion of asylum seekers. "After the deportation of Chinese dissident Harry Wu, methods such as these, which had disappeared since the early 1980s, lead us to believe that press coverage of certain sensitive subjects in Hong Kong is being compromised", says Robert Ménard, the organisation’s Secretary-General. RSF calls on the Chief Executive to order an investigation into the exact circumstances of this incident.

 image 162 x 149 (JPEG) According to RSF’s information,at least four journalists were detained by police for a short time on 25 April 2002 in connection with the expulsion of asylum seekers from Hong Kong’s Charter Garden. Two photographers, Ricky Chung, who works for the South China Morning Post and Bobby Tsui, of the daily Sing Tao, were thrown to the ground by police before being taken to the area reserved for the press. Ricky Chung has stated he was handled roughly by the policemen. Chan Chi-wai, a journalist for the daily Ming Pao, was seized  by four or five policemen as he attempted to take photographs of the scene. He was dragged forcefully along the ground. A police officer apparently accused him of "obstruction". Fung Siu Wing, journalist for Ming Pao, was handcuffed by the police, just as Putt Kwong-lai, cameraman for Cable TV,who was later treated in hospital for hand injuries. Shortly after the incident, Hong Kong’s Central District Commander, Wong Pak-nin, stated, "When people become emotional, there can be pushing and shoving, which is very dangerous. We didn’t want anybody to get hurt. We handcuffed them and when they calmed down, we freed them". Police Commissioner Tsang Yam-pui deplored this "unfortunate" incident involving police and journalists.

On 15 April, Chinese dissident Harry Wu, who now lives in the United States, was turned back by immigration officials as soon as he arrived at Hong Kong airport. The New-Zealand journalist accompanying him was sent back to the US during the night.

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