Reporters from pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao have been accused of harassing the team behind a documentary on Hong Kong’s deadly 1967 leftist riots, injuring one of the film’s volunteer staff.
One of the reporters involved in the altercation last Sunday had been involved in a fight last year with pro-independence activist Edward Leung, but charges were dropped with a binding-over order against the pair for 12 months.
The director of Vanished Archives, a documentary interviewing participants of the riots, condemned the alleged violence, and called on the pro-Beijing mouthpiece to respect history.
Ta Kung Pao published an “investigative report” the following day alleging links between the documentary-makers and the pro-democracy Occupy protests, and claiming the film quoted its interviewees out of context. Director Connie Lo refused to respond to what she called an attempt to smear her.
Last Sunday afternoon, Vanished Archives was shown in Wanchai in a screening attended by Lo and members of the production team.
According to Lo’s account on Facebook, Luk Tak-shing – deputy director of a 1967 riots participants’ group – and two female Ta Kung Pao reporters entered the premises after the screening was over. The reporters demanded to know why Lo’s interviews with Luk were not included in the documentary.
Lo responded that she had never interviewed Luk. “The pair [of reporters] had a very poor and threatening attitude,” she wrote on Thursday.
Screening organisers Hong Kong Community Cinema wrote on Facebook the reporters managed to enter the premises because attendees who booked a seat were allowed to walk in without registration based on a “trust system”.
Lo said that she and the Vanished Archives team were confronted by a muscular man when they attempted to leave the scene, taking photos of them from close distance. “One of our volunteers stopped him, but he barged the volunteer onto the wall, causing a forearm injury.”
“Many of the documentary audience members and volunteers were former journalists,” author and photographer Cloud wrote on a Facebook post. “They clearly pointed out that… the man was Lo Wing-yin: the one who tracked Edward Leung, and then used violence.”
Lo was handed a binding-over order by the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts in January for his fight with Leung in Tai Koo MTR station last August.
“We have not yet decided whether to report this to the police,” Lo told HKFP.
She added that she has decided to attend fewer screenings of the documentary in the future. “The most important premise is that we want to ensure the safety of our team,” she told HKFP.
On Monday morning, Ta Kung Pao published a two-page “investigative report”, alleging that Lo had “close relations” to Occupy protest initiator Chu Yiu-ming because she had interviewed people for a television programme launched by Chu in 2009.
The report claimed that Lo quoted interviewees out of context, failed to credit an organisation named “1967 Witness”, and used the film as a political tool by screening it in Taiwan.
“I will not respond to the two pages of false reports published the following day by Ta Kung Pao with the aim of smearing me,” wrote Lo on Facebook.
HKFP has contacted Ta Kung Pao for comment.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the screening was held in Kowloon City, in fact it was held in Wanchai.