RTHK producer Bao Choy was put on trial on Wednesday for allegedly making false statements while trying to obtain vehicle registration information as part of research for a TV documentary aimed at finding the perpetrators of the 2019 Yuen Long gang attack.
Choy appeared at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court, flanked by around a dozen RTHK staff union members who held up banners with slogans such as “journalism is not a crime” and “without fear or favour”.
The TV producer pleaded not guilty to two counts of violating the Road Traffic Ordinance by allegedly making false statements when searching for car licence plate information online. She did not give evidence in person.
A prosecution lawyer read out a witness statement by a Transport Department employee who said people should only make a vehicle registration search for transport-related proceedings, the sale or purchase of a vehicle, or traffic and transport-related matters.
Choy’s lawyer argued that the journalist was not wrong to declare that her search was connected to transport-related matters, because she wanted to find out who owned a car which might have been involved in taking weapons to the attackers.
But prosecutors said Choy only intended to use the information obtained for reporting purposes, and not for a transport matter.
The defence also told the court that if there is a need to change rules on registration checks for privacy reasons, this should be done by the Legislative Council, and not via a prosecution.
After a hearing lasting several hours, Principal Magistrate Ivy Chui adjourned the case, with a verdict expected on April 22.
On July 21, 2019 a large gang of men wielding sticks and other weapons indiscriminately beat people in and around Yuen Long MTR Station, putting dozens put in hospital. Police failed to respond to the violence, despite a flood of 999 calls.
Last updated: 2021-03-24 HKT 16:46