In response to Thailand’s charging of a Hong Kong photojournalist for carrying body armour and a helmet, the Hong Kong Press Photographers’ Association, the HKJA and the FCC, said in a joint statement that they were deeply dismayed by the Thai authorities’ charging of Anthony Kwan Hok Chun, who was assigned by Initium Media Technology to cover the aftermath of the Erawan shrine bomb.
Two Hong Kong residents were killed and six injured in the bombing on August 21.
Kwan was charged under the 1987 Arms Control Act, which prohibits the possession of military equipment without a licence and carries a five-year sentence. However, the body armour and a helmet are not offensive weapons, but routine protective gear used by journalists around the world.
We urge the Thai authorities not to press ahead with the criminal case against Kwan and to work with the media community in Thailand to decriminakise the legitimate use of body armour and other relevant protective items, the statement said.
The Hong Kong government was urged to push for the immediate release of Kwan and the quashing of the charge against him.