Hong Kong journalist convicted for accessing public records

A Hong Kong journalist was convicted on Thursday of constructing false statements to acquire data to analyze an assault on anti-government protesters, a recent blow to independence within the metropolis as authorities continued their crackdown on dissent.

Cho Yuk-ling, often known as Bao Choy, was arrested on false prices in November as she was acquiring license plate data from a publicly accessible database. She was trying to trace down the perpetrators of a violent assault by a mob of white-clad males at protesters at a metro station in 2019 for an investigative documentary for public broadcaster RTHK.

Principal Justice of the Peace Ivy Chui mentioned that the Street Visitors Ordinance solely permits the general public to acquire car possession information for transportation or traffic-related issues, authorized issues or car purchases.

She mentioned Choy introduced in her on-line software that she would use the data for “different site visitors and transportation-related points”. The applying doesn’t present an possibility for journalism analysis.

Choy, a freelancer related to RTK, pleaded not responsible. He was convicted in two counts of constructing false statements and fined 6,000 Hong Kong {dollars} ($ 775).

The documentary Choy was engaged on, titled “7.21 Who Personal the Fact,” additionally explored the conduct of Hong Kong police throughout anti-government demonstrations final 12 months. Police had been accused of not interfering in the course of the assault on the metro station in Hong Kong’s New Territories metropolis, UN Lengthy.

“At this time is a really darkish day for all Hong Kong journalists,” Choy mentioned after the decision. “At this time there isn’t any judgment or judgment on me personally, however a judgment on journalism in Hong Kong and a judgment on all journalists in Hong Kong.”

He described the consequence as “heartbreaking” and wiped away tears whereas addressing journalists and their supporters.

“The courtroom’s determination could be very harsh in the present day,” she mentioned. “He interpreted public information discovery within the narrowest perspective that has restricted the free movement of knowledge in Hong Kong.”

He urged journalists to do what they may to guard the values ​​of an unbiased press.

Supporters mentioned that “journalism will not be against the law” and “stand with Bao Choy” as he held placards in help of and freedom of the press.

Chris Yong, president of the Hong Kong Journalists Affiliation, mentioned Choy demonstrated the function as a media watchman utilizing a car search to achieve extra details about the assault.

“The tireless efforts of journalists could make it clear to unravel the complete reality of the UN Lengthy assaults as to who must be held accountable within the incident. That is in regards to the fourth energy, ”Yung mentioned after the decision.

“The federal government despatched a reporter into the dock, discovered him responsible and the fourth energy is in peril.” Freedom of the press is dying in Hong Kong, ”he mentioned.

Media teams have expressed concern that the ban on independence in Hong Kong, together with the implementation of a stringent new nationwide safety legislation, might be used in opposition to journalists reporting on delicate points.

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