HK broadcaster Now News accuses police of ‘violent treatment’ of its driver after he was allegedly shot by suspected beanbag round during protests

15-Oct-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A Hong Kong news outlet accused officers on Monday of assaulting one of its drivers after he was allegedly shot by a suspected beanbag round outside a police station during a protest in Kowloon.

News Now condemned the force for what it called the “violent treatment” of its contractor while he was detained for two hours inside Mong Kong Police Station in the early hours of Monday.

The broadcaster said he was only released and sent to hospital with a broken jaw after the force “confirmed he had a reasonable excuse to be on site”

Footage shows the man writhing on the ground at about 1am, after he was said to be approaching his company’s vehicle parked near Mong Kok Police Station, a frequent scene of clashes between police and radical protesters.

In a statement, Now News urged police to launch a probe into the alleged assault against its worker.

“The channel expresses regret over the incident and condemns the police for abusive use of force,” it said.

Police have not yet responded to the statement.

Mong Kok Police Station was a target of anti-government protesters on Sunday night, when police said more than 20 petrol bombs were thrown at the building, which sits at the junction of Nathan Road and Prince Edward Road West.

Across the city, at least 36 people were sent to hospital during yet more violence on Sunday night.

Now TV is one of the largest pay-television providers in Hong Kong and run by PCCW, the flagship conglomerate of Richard Li Tzar-kai.

It said the driver was seen by a colleague on the ground, where he was holding his head in his hands.

“The driver was hurt and fell to the ground,” the news organisation said in a report.

“Our video journalist approached to say he was a colleague, and was dispersed by riot police armed with shields and rifles.”

News footage shows a high-visibility vest near the fallen driver.

He was then surrounded by riot police and had his hands tied behind his back, before being taken inside the police station.

After being detained for over two hours, the driver was released and sent to Kwong Wah Hospital in Yau Ma Tei with a broken jaw, Now News said.

The media organisation later said its driver had reported being beaten by officers, despite making it clear he was working for them.

“A few officers brought him to the stairwell and someone pushed his face to the wall,” it said in an updated reported aired on Monday.

“They also used batons to hit his head, arms and legs.”

The Post has contacted police for comment.

According to a witness on site, officers shouting from inside the station had earlier told the man “not to throw petrol bombs”.

“Before [the driver] can react, the police shot three rounds of unknown ammunition,” the witness added.

Hong Kong has been in the grip of 19 straight weekends of unrest, triggered by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, with the violence intensifying in the wake of the mask ban introduced on October 5.


Category: Hong Kong

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