Pro-democracy broadcaster Citizens’ Radio vandalised in Hong Kong

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Mixed reactions in Hong Kong after protesters stormed the Legislative Council on Monday, the anniversary of the former British colony’s 1997 return to Chinese rule. Video: Al Jazeera

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

Authorities in Hong Kong should swiftly investigate the vandalism of the Citizens’ Radio office and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Yesterday, at about 2:45 a.m., four men wearing masks forced their way into the offices of Citizens’ Radio and smashed its door, windows, and broadcasting equipment, according to news reports and Tsang Kin Shing, the station’s founder, who spoke to CPJ via phone.

The men broke broadcasting equipment that Tsang planned to use to cover yesterday’s protests, he told CPJ.

READ MORE: Hong Kong demonstrators storm lawmakers building

Police guard outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong yesterday. Image: CPJ/Vincent Yu

Citizens’ Radio was still able to cover the protests, as seen in video it posted to Facebook.

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Hong Kong has faced protests since May, chiefly against a proposed amendment to its extradition law that would allow Hong Kong to send fugitive suspects to places where it lacked extradition agreements, including mainland China, according to news reports.

In May, CPJ called on Hong Kong authorities to revise or drop the bill.

“Hong Kong authorities must take swift action to apprehend those responsible for vandalising Citizens’ Radio,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia programme coordinator, in Washington, DC.

“Authorities need to demonstrate that the use of violence to halt news coverage has no place in Hong Kong.”

Tsang told CPJ that he witnessed the men enter the station brandishing hammers and a baseball bat, vandalise the office, and leave, and said that the entire incident lasted about two minutes.

He estimated the damage at between HK$20,000 to $30,000 (US$2560 to US$3845), and told CPJ that he filed a report with the local police.

Citizens’ Radio is a nonprofit broadcaster affiliated with the League of Social Democrats, a pro-democracy political party in Hong Kong, which broadcasts without a permit since its license application has been pending since 2005, according to news reports.

Tsang and other employees of the broadcaster have been prosecuted and fined for broadcasting illegally, and the station has been shut down by authorities multiple times since 2005, according to media reports.

The Hong Kong Police Force did not answer CPJ’s phone call requesting comment.

Hong Kong police crackdown
Hong Kong police crack down on protesters who had stormed the Legislative Assembly on Monday. Image: Al Jazeera screenshot PMC
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