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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

Hong Kong Police Deprive Online Reporter of Press Freedom. By Chapman Chen, HKBNews

At 3:15 am on August 5, Cheng Wai-shing, a journalist holding a valid press card issued by online media Frontline Observation, was alone on a kerbed island outside Kwun Tong Police Station, where he picked up sponge round shell cases earlier on fired from high up the police station by the police at the protesters below without warning. Unexpectedly, he was arrested by the Police for unlawful assembly and unlawful possession of ammunition. His Nicon P1000 camera, iphone, tripod, helmet, gas mask, press card, all necessities for his journalism, were confiscated. After 48 hours of detention, Cheng were released on HKD 10,000 cash bail. Cheng condemns the police for suppressing the press freedom of online media reporters, and appeals to the public to donate a Nicon P1000 camera to him, or help him acquire one, which costs around HKD 8,000, so that he can continue to cover human rights issues on the frontline (interested parties may send a private message to our media HKBNews).

Unlawful Ammunition Possession Does NOT Include Used Shell Case

According to Cap. 238 FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION ORDINANCE, illegal possession of ammunition "does not include—a shot, bullet, missile, used or empty shell case or cartridge case, or any other part of an article which constitutes ammunition under paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e), which is used only as an article of personal, household, or office adornment."

As shown in a live broadcast video of RTHK, Cheng , wearing a yellow press vest, a press helmet, was then sitting alone on a kerbed island at the junction between Tseung Kwan O Tunnel and Lei Yue Mun Road. According to Cheng, as soon as the police stopped and searched him, they claimed they recognized him as one of the pro-independence pair found guilty of making explosives in a former ATV studio in Sai Kung back in 2015. When they found used sponge round shells in his left hand side trouser-pocket, they asserted, "Enough for arrest!"

For a Feature Article

Cheng produced his press card, but the Police alleged it was fake. Nonetheless, the back of the card showed the picture of an organization license issued by the Commissioner of Police. Cheng tried to explain that he intended to have the shells analyzed in order to find out the degree of age hardening and to write a feature article on the topic. The arresting police officer did not write down his explanation on his log book, neither was the arrest done with a caution. After bringing Cheng on board of their vehicle, the police said to him, "Just now you took close shots of each of us, didn't you want to do facial recognition for us?!"

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