The head of the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) said on Tuesday that Chief Executive Carrie Lam should order the police to stop breaking the law by deliberately attacking reporters, rather than appealing for "understanding" over officers hurting people at protests.
Lam had earlier sought to explain that officers might shove people over because they are on "high alert" during demonstrations, and the situation can sometimes be chaotic.
The CE's comment came after the HKJA urged Lam to rein in the police force, after a weekend that saw reporters once again deliberately pepper sprayed, held for ID checks, and a Cable TV reporter injured when she was knocked to the ground by an officer.
The association's chairman, Chris Yeung, rejected Lam's claim that officers' actions are to be expected because they are on "heightened alert".
"We are all under immense pressure. I think pressure is not really an excuse for police to violate the law and the rules in their law enforcement," Yeung told RTHK's Damon Pang.
"These are no isolated cases, but cases that show some fundamental problems in police enforcement and also in the management, and perhaps even government policy towards media handling at the [protest] scenes."
Yeung said the facts show that police officers are deliberately attacking reporters, both verbally and physically, and Lam must order the police commissioner to ensure that his officers start abiding by the law.