Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Media: Violent attack on Next Media headquarters, home of former chairman

12 January 2015
Hong Kong Journalists Association

This statement was originally published on hkja.org.hk on 12 January 2015.

Next Media headquarters in Tseung Kwan O and the home of its former chairman Jimmy Lai were the targets of coordinated firebomb attacks in the early hours of Monday morning [12 January 2015].

The Hong Kong Journalists Association strongly condemns these acts of violence. These life-threatening attacks were clearly targeted at a news organization, with the specific intention of silencing the media through intimidation. We call upon the industry and the public to join in condemning this violence and to defend a fundamental core value of Hong Kong - press freedom.

At the same time, we urge the Chief Executive to show his concern over the incident. We also urge the police to track down the attackers as soon as possible to ensure the city's security. A number of cases of violence against journalists in the recent past have yet to be solved. Today's firebomb attack clearly shows that the attackers have become impudent and boldly showing their disregard for the police efforts to ensure we have a safe and stable society. We urge the police to, therefore, handle this attack on Apple Daily in the most serious manner and to bring the attackers to justice.

In our 2014 Annual Report, HKJA states: "Despite enjoying reasonably high detection rates for crime in general, Hong Kong has a shameful record in solving premeditated attacks on outspoken media figures." HKJA has noticed that the criminal cases involving Next Media in recent years have almost never been solved. These include the incident at the end of June 2013, when a kitchen knife was thrown outside Next Media headquarters with the intention to intimidate, and 26,000 copies of Apply Daily were burnt on the same night.

Although the two incidents of violence today did not cause any casualties, we are still extremely concerned as the violent acts against the media are getting more and more serious. There is no guarantee that another "Lam Bun Incident" where a former Commercial Radio programme host was assassinated, will not recur. HKJA is bitterly disappointed over the current situation.

Yesterday [11 January], a number of European leaders and more than three million French citizens marched in Paris to oppose terrorist violence and uphold freedom of speech. Hong Kong citizens should also stand up and say "No" to violence! We believe that, even though everyone has a different standpoint, no Hong Kong citizen will tolerate the wanton destruction of freedom of speech and the rule of law.