Police who target journalists should be sacked: HKJA - RTHK
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Police who target journalists should be sacked: HKJA

2020-03-22 HKT 16:09
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  • Police who target journalists should be sacked: HKJA
The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) on Sunday urged the police force to sack or retrain any “unqualified” frontline officers who can’t distinguish between reporters and protesters after multiple journalists were repeatedly pepper-sprayed during anti-government demonstrations on Saturday.

The HKJA has made numerous appeals to the government to rein in officers who it says have been violently abusing journalists for months, to no avail.

The group said the sheer volume of incidents involving police mistreatment of journalists demonstrate there’s a systemic problem with officers collectively violating police rules and targeting members of the media, adding that unqualified” officers cannot keep on hurting journalists and suppressing press freedom.

The association highlighted one incident in Yuen Long on Saturday night when riot police rushed to confront a group of journalists, ordering them to get on the pedestrian walkway when the majority of them were already there, before quickly deploying pepper-spray without warning, hitting a number of them.

The HKJA also noted that some officers had accused one journalist who was struck and receiving treatment, of faking his injuries, before attempting to disperse both the victim, and the medics who were treating him.

In an open letter to the Chief Executive, the HKJA asked Carrie Lam to demand the police chief, Chris Tang, to sack officers who do not comply with police guidelines on the use of weapons, or cannot do their job in accordance with the law.

It said they should at least be sent for retraining, saying those who cannot meet such criteria aren’t suitable to continue serving as officers of the law.