Hong Kong journalist released on bail and traveling for scholarship
The head of Hong Kong’s largest group of journalists was released on bail on Thursday and allowed to leave the city for an overseas fellowship two weeks after he was arrested for allegedly obstructing police officers while reporting.
Ronson Chan, who chairs the Hong Kong Journalists Association, pleaded not guilty to two counts of obstructing the police. A conviction could mean up to two years in prison.
Chan was allowed to post bail and leave Hong Kong for a scholarship program at Oxford University later this month on the condition that he notify Hong Kong police of his address and number. laptop during his stay in Great Britain.
He was arrested while reporting on a landlords’ meeting in Mong Kok district earlier this month with a colleague.
Police said the two were behaving suspiciously and were asked to produce proof of identity. Chan was arrested after refusing to cooperate and refusing to show his ID.
His arrest sparked concern from the city’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club, which said it “supports the right of journalists to cover stories without fear of harassment and arrest”. The club also called on the authorities to be “transparent and careful” in handling the case.
Asked in court on Thursday about his thoughts on press freedom in Hong Kong, Chan said he was unable to discuss the details of the case, but said “everyone in Hong Kong , if you try to observe what is happening, then you can get the answer.”
Hong Kong, once a bastion of press freedom in Asia, has since seen its press freedom decline after a strict national security law aimed at stamping out dissent was imposed on the city.
Media critical of the government, such as the former Apple Daily and Stand newsclosed after police raided their offices and arrested executives and journalists.