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Hong Kong: Citizen Media Office Attacked

Categories: Hong Kong (China), Violent Threats

Yesterday (August 8 2012), 4 masked men rushed into a citizen media advocacy group's office and smashed its computer equipment. [Disclosure: the writer of this article is a member of the organization.]

The organization is Hong Kong In-Media, a non-profit organization aiming at promoting the development of independent and citizen media in Hong Kong. Since 2005, the organization has supported various local citizen media projects including the independent news website: inmediahk.net, which is run by a group of voluntary editors, reporters and writers. The articles in the websites are highly critical of the government and those in power.

The attack happened around 1:20pm in the afternoon in front of two females staff, one of them is an intern student. Both are terrified. The local police are treating the case as criminal damage.

According to one of the staff members, she received a call at around 11am, a man wanted to visit the office to offer donation. At around 1:20pm, the office bell rang and a man wearing a flu mask was standing outside the office. She thought the man was sick and opened the door, then three other men jumped out from the building's stair case and rushed into the office, all were wearing masks and gloves, with iron hammers in their hands. She described the thugs “professional” as they smashed all the computers in less than three minutes and left the scene very quickly. They destroyed a total of three computers and a LED TV in the office.

The organization issued a statement [zh] condemning the violence against media organization:

本社團相信,這次強行入屋破壞的行為,是有計劃及針對公民媒體的行為。該四名戴口罩及手套的歹徒,在短短幾分鐘內,針對破壞辦公室內的電腦,明顯是要以暴力行為,恐嚇香港的獨立及公民媒體。
我們譴責這種惡勢力,同時,亦憂慮更多黑手伸向香港的媒體,扼殺港人的言論自由。我們呼籲市民站出來,投入更多人力及物力,支持所有獨立於政府與財團的公民媒體!

Our organization believes that the violent breaks in is a carefully planned action against local citizen media. The four masked men destroyed our computer in a matter of two to three minutes. Their objective is to instigate fear among the community of independent and citizen media.
We condemn such evil and dark force and are worried that the people behind this would extend their reach further to other media organization in Hong Kong, destroying the freedom of press and speech in Hong Kong. We urge citizen to stand out and support independent media by donating money, resources and actively participate in citizen journalist practice which are independent from the control of government and big corporates.

A macbook smashed in Hong Kong In-Media Office by masked thugs.