New doxxing stunt no issue of discipline: police - RTHK
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New doxxing stunt no issue of discipline: police

2020-01-20 HKT 14:21
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  • New doxxing stunt no issue of discipline: police
Police said on Monday that an officer holding up a reporter's identity card in front of a rolling camera on Sunday does not suggest a problem with discipline in the force, even though management had conceded such behaviour is wrong when a similar incident happened last month.

The ID card of a Stand News journalist, who was among a group of people stopped by officers for identity checks in Admiralty, was held up to the camera for around a minute.

Privacy Commissioner Stephen Wong has said he is following up on the latest incident.

After an officer displayed the ID card of a journalist from the same media outlet in front of a live TV camera in Tai Po on December 19, Wong had warned that the stunt appeared to violate personal data protection principles and said the watchdog would launch an investigation.

The December incident attracted widespread media coverage and at a police press briefing, chief superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen had described the officer's move as "inappropriate" and said the force would investigate the matter.

But on Monday, Kwok – who leads the force's public relations bureau – said the fact that the behaviour had been repeated did not demonstrate a disciplinary problem among frontline officers.

On RTHK's Chinese-language "Talkabout" show, he said the police did not know at the time that the man was a reporter, despite video footage suggesting officers were fully aware of this. Stand News says the reporter told officers where he was from, and he was displaying his press credentials.

Asked whether it is appropriate to make public the personal details of any person, regardless of who they are, Kwok said only that he would try to learn more about the situation and that the force places a great emphasis on people's privacy.

He added that if the reporter has an issue with what happened, he can file a complaint.

The chief superintendent was also asked why police fired pepper spray directly at a group of journalists in Mong Kok on Sunday night, even though there were no protesters around at the time.

Kwok said the situation had been chaotic and there were "other people" near the reporters.

He added that a reminder would be given to officers that they should pay attention to their surroundings when they use force against people.