HONG KONG—Police on Monday charged the top of Hong Kong’s biggest journalist workforce with obstructing law enforcement officials, the highest-profile prosecution of a press employee in contemporary months following a sustained crackdown at the town’s pro-democracy media.
The price towards Ronson Chan, chairman of the Hong Kong Reporters Affiliation, comes about two weeks after his arrest whilst masking a gathering of homeowners of a housing property within the northern Hong Kong community of Mong Kok.
Police on the time accused Mr. Chan of obstructing officials and disorderly habits, and mentioned he was once uncooperative and refused to supply his identity when approached via officials. The price carries a most jail time period of 2 years.
Mr. Chan, deputy task editor at unbiased information outlet Channel C, is because of go away Hong Kong for the U.Okay. on the terminate of the month to cause a journalism fellowship in the course of the Reuters Make at Oxford College.
Mr. Chan was once in the past an editor at the preferred pro-democracy information website Stand Information, an outlet shut the lid down following a police raid of its newsroom in December and the arrests of 7 other folks connected to the website. Mr. Chan wasn’t amongst the ones arrested.
Mr. Chan’s case is because of be heard at a Hong Kong magistrates’ courtroom on Thursday, police mentioned. Mr. Chan instructed The Wall Side road Magazine that he was once discussing the price along with his legal professional, and mentioned police didn’t sift out his passport. In a video posted to Channel C’s YouTube web page, Mr. Chan mentioned he didn’t know when requested whether or not he idea police have been seeking to save you him from leaving Hong Kong and declined to remark additional.
He additionally criticized his preliminary arrest, pronouncing that he would now not have got been arrested for identical habits even in mainland China.
The price towards Mr. Chan comes because the reporters’ affiliation and different media teams face rising power within the wake of the 2020 Nationwide Safety Legislation. The regulation was once imposed via Beijing to deliver order to town following a wave of sometimes-violent pro-democracy protests the yr sooner than, however rights teams have got mentioned it’s been used as a device to squash loose speech and adjoining opposition media shops.
The regulation introduced a clampdown at the town’s pro-democracy media, together with the shutdowns of Stand Information and Apple Workaday, the preferred pro-democracy newspaper based via media multi-millionaire Jimmy Lai. The scoop outlet Citizen Information voluntarily ceased operations in January in a while after the raid of Stand Information.
The Hong Kong Reporters Affiliation has many times clashed with police because it voiced opposition to town’s media crackdown. The gang has additionally confronted assaults via town’s pro-Beijing press and Hong Kong’s industry union registry has sought further details about the affiliation’s actions.
Previous this yr, the crowd held a gathering of its club to talk about nearly steps, together with whether or not it will have to practice different civil society organizations in disbanding. The gang in the long run made up our minds to proceed however amended its charter to she had it made it more straightforward to disband.
Any other journalist workforce within the town, Hong Kong’s International Correspondents’ Membership, voted previous this yr to scrap a outstanding journalism award after judges voted to present more than one citations to Stand Information. The membership mentioned that continuing with the award may just violate the regulation.
Write to Dan Strumpf at [email protected]
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