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Hong Kong journalist stood trial for the use of online license plate search – Radio Free Asia

An investigative journalist arrested by Hong Kong police after she made a documentary revealing handling of the July 21, 2019 crowd attack on train passengers in Yuen Long has been tried. in the city on Wednesday.

Bao Choy, the producer contracted by the government television station RTHK to make the documentary, is being prosecuted for accessing details about car ownership on the official database when she try to track the movements of the suspected attackers on movie night.

She appeared on her first day of trial at the West Kowloon First Instance Court, where she was photographed surrounded by members of the RTHK staff union holding banners: “The press is not a crime” and “Without fear or affection.”

Once inside, Choy pleaded not guilty to two charges of “intentional perjury” for accessing license plate ownership records, an allegation that could result in her being fined and imprisoned for up to six months if convicted.

The incident occurred when Beijing moved to quell dissent following massive democracy protests in 2019, under the impact of draconian national security laws led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). ruling imposed on the city from July 1, 2020.

Choy’s show, titled “Who owns the truth?”, Showed police present when the attackers gathered in Yuen Long, but they delayed their response when men dressed in white T-shirts Starting to attack train passengers at MTR station.

Thirty-nine minutes passed between the first emergency calls until police arrived at the Yuen Long MTR station, where dozens of people were injured and many needed treatment at the hospital, it showed.

It uses footage filmed by witnesses and security cameras – as well as number plate searches and interviews – to stitch events together, uncovering links between some attackers and attackers. Rural Committee Heung Yee Kuk pro-China.

Choy’s show also showed that the men with sticks were brought into the county with specific vehicles hours before the attack, and police did nothing to increase the numbers.

She was arrested after the documentary was aired in November 2020, allegedly because she used a government vehicle database for improper purposes.

Prosecutor Derek Lau said in court: “Visiting the site and attempting to interview the vehicle and its use one day has nothing to do with traffic and transportation – nor is it a report. news.

Defense lawyer Derek Chan said Choy’s search was “related to traffic and transport issues” because she was trying to find out who provided weapons to the attackers, arguing that the court should give “the broadest possible interpretation” of the definition.

He also argued that there are no laws that prohibit the search of license plates and that the media’s use of the vehicle is for the public good.

‘For show only’

When Choy appeared in court, one of the assailants accused of “riot” in the Yuen Long case denied using the stick he was holding to hit anyone, saying it was “for show purposes only. “, RTHK reported.

Ng Wai-nam, 57, said he just swung his stick and smacked everything with it, to try to dissolve the crowd, and the stick wasn’t even his.

Ng was among six men who denied the riot allegations, while two others have pleaded guilty, the report said.

On Tuesday, former pro-democracy lawmaker Au Nok-hin was jailed for nine weeks for “assaulting” two police officers when he used loudspeakers during a July 8 street protest. year 2019 in Mong Kok.

Au, who was detained after being charged under national security law, was found guilty of hitting an officer’s shield with loud noises and “hurting the ears” of others because of the noise from it.

Au was initially serving the community, but was jailed by the Court of Appeal after the government asked to reconsider the sentence.

Reports by Gigi Lee and Chan Yun Nam for RFA Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.



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