When covering the clashes in the evening of February 29, 2020, in Mong Kok, Stand News reporter was again targeted and intercepted by the Police Tactical Unit (Team Z).
During the process, the reporter was kicked by a police officer and violently forced onto the ground. The police had his gas mask yanked off and helmet removed violently, apparently using disproportionate force.
The independent news outlet made an inquiry to the Police Public Relations Department, seeking their explanation on the use of excessive force against the press.
Stand News specifically asked under which law in Hong Kong that journalists were prohibited from using mobile phones and whether the Police Force would apologize. The Police, however, did not respond directly to any questions.
On the evening of March 1, the Police reiterated that section 54 of the Police Force Ordinance empowered police officers “to stop, detain and search” any person suspected of committing or is intended to commit any offence. The police also claimed that officers may also require members of the public to produce identity documents for inspection under the power conferred by section 17C of the Immigration Ordinance on “carrying and producing identity documents”.
Although the Police said that the Force respects press freedom and the journalists’ right to conduct on-site interviews, the police also said journalists to take into account the safety of the officers and their own in the course of media coverage.
The reply concluded by saying any person dissatisfied with police handling of a case can lodge complaints with the Complaints Against Police Office, which will deal with it fairly and impartially following established procedures.