Mainland journalist assaulted in last year’s HK airport protest says he didn’t provoke attackers and was only being ‘sarcastic’

24-Oct-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A mainland journalist detained and assaulted by Hong Kong protesters during demonstrations at the airport last year has denied provoking his attackers, saying he was only being sarcastic when he told them to “fight” and “beat” him.

Fu Guohao said in court on Thursday that he actually pleaded with his attackers to stop during the overnight chaos at the air hub on August 13 and 14, part of the months-long anti-government movement sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill.

Protesters surround a man accused of being a mainland spy during demonstrations at Hong Kong’s airport last year. Photo: AP/Vincent Yu

Protesters surround a man accused of being a mainland spy during demonstrations at Hong Kong’s airport last year. Photo: AP/Vincent Yu

The reporter, who works for a sister site under state-run newspaper Global Times, was testifying on the third day of a District Court trial against four protesters who allegedly engaged in violence against the 29-year-old.

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Fu found himself at the centre of the chaos at 11.30pm after he was caught filming the sit-in demonstrations without press credentials, the court heard. Protesters had flooded the airport concourses and brought flights to a standstill.

Fu declined to produce his press card when urged by protesters, and instead claimed he was a “tourist”. He was then tied up and restrained on a baggage cart, with his identity card and a pro-police T-shirt displayed with him in the hour-long episode. He was further assaulted after telling his captors: “I support the Hong Kong police. You guys may beat me up now.”

On Thursday, Fu testified that he had intended to “conceal” his identity from protesters as he believed he would get into trouble if his status as a mainland journalist was unveiled.

“I concealed my identity to protect myself from harm,” Fu said. “To my knowledge, many mainlanders and pro-mainland people were assaulted before and after this incident, so I chose to hide my identity.”

Protesters suspected Fu was a mainland police officer disguised as a reporter and tasked with spying on the city’s protest movement.

In open source footage played in court, one protester was heard telling Fu in English: “You are not a f***ing journalist. You are a f***ing cop.” Another was heard saying: “China sent people to pretend to be [the] press.”

In reply, Fu said in English: “Why do this to me? Why you guys do this? I don’t know what is happening.”

Following that exchange, protesters stuck black tape on Fu’s body and attempted to pull down his pants, but were unsuccessful.

At one point in the video footage, Fu was heard saying: “Just fight me. Just beat me. Whatever.” In another instance, he was heard telling protesters to “be careful”.

In the witness box, Fu explained that the remarks together with the pro-police statement were made with “helplessness, sadness and a touch of irony”. He stressed that he did not intend to incite protesters to attack him.

“As I lost freedom and could not escape from this peril, the only thing I could do was to hit back with my words,” he added.

“I could only be sarcastic by telling them to watch themselves. Today you may be beating up people, but tomorrow you could be the one beaten up.”

The four defendants part-time waiter Lai Yun-long, 20, unemployed woman Amy Pat Wai-fan, 25, part-time construction worker Ho Ka-lok and surveyor Wong Yat-ho, both 29 stand accused of a total of eight counts of various charges, including rioting, unlawful assembly, false imprisonment and inflicting grievous bodily harm.

The trial continues before Judge Clement Lee Hing-nin on Friday.



Category: Hong Kong

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