FCC Statement on Withdrawal of Charges Against HK Photojournalist
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong welcomes Thailand’s decision to drop criminal charges against photojournalist Anthony Kwan. Mr. Kwan had been arrested last August and accused of violating the country’s “weapons” law, for carrying protective body armour and a helmet.
He had been assigned by Initium Media Technology to cover the aftermath of the August 17 Erawan shrine bombing, in which two Hong Kong residents were killed. He was detained on August 23 while attempting to board a return flight to Hong Kong with the gear in his carry-on luggage; and allowed to leave Thailand shortly after he posted bail the same month.
Protective vests and helmets of the type in Mr. Kwan’s possession are standard gear for reporters working in dangerous areas around the world, and were needed in the course of his work. We reiterate our stance that journalists should always be able to use appropriate protective equipment legally in Thailand.
An FCC petition calling for charges to be dropped was delivered to the Thai consulate in Hong Kong on November 20. The petition was signed — in person and online — by 2,900 members, their guests and the wider community.
We extend our thanks to all who provided their support.
Press Freedom Committee
March 9, 2016