Hong Kong journalists union head charged before overseas trip

Hong Kong journalists union head charged before overseas trip

HONG KONG: The head of Hong Kong’s journalist union was charged with obstructing police on Monday (Sep 19), 10 days before he was set to leave the city and begin an overseas fellowship.

Ronson Chan, chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), was arrested earlier this month over a dispute with two officers who asked to see his identification while he was covering a residents’ meeting at a public housing estate.

The police say Chan refused to provide his ID card and behaved in an “uncooperative” way despite multiple warnings.

He was charged on Monday for obstructing a police officer, an offence that carries up to two years in jail, and will appear in court on Thursday.

Authorities have used a national security law and colonial-era sedition charges to crack down on dissent in Hong Kong after pro-democracy protests three years ago.

“I told them I do not understand the charge … I did not obstruct any police officers,” Chan said outside the police station.

The journalist has disputed the police’s account, saying he was asking the officers to explain why they had subjected him to a search and was cuffed before he could get his card out.

He also accused the officers of threatening him on the way to the police station, saying they made comments such as “let’s see when you will die”.