Police explain operation, arrests

August 11, 2020

Police today stressed that yesterday's operation was conducted in accordance with the law to safeguard national security.


It explained that nine men and one woman were arrested by officers of the Police National Security Department in a law enforcement operation for suspected collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security, contravening Article 29 of the National Security Law and conspiracy to defraud.


It noted that in respect of yesterday's operation, Police had applied for a search warrant from the court in accordance with the legal requirements and procedures and conducted searches at various locations to collect evidence of illegal acts in accordance with the authorisation of the search warrant.


As the workplace of those arrested was a media organisation, Police conducted evidence collection at the media organisation.


During the process, Police displayed the search warrant multiple times for examination by the media organisation's personnel and legal representatives.


Police stressed that the operation was targeted at the alleged offenders' unlawful acts, not the media organisation.


It emphasised that freedom of the press is an important cornerstone of Hong Kong and that Police always respect freedom of the press, speech and publication.


It indicated that prior to yesterday's operation, police officers were specifically reminded to avoid going through news materials during the evidence collection process, which was also conducted in the company of the media organisation's personnel.


Police expressed regret that some media deliberately discredited its search operation.


Regardless of the identity or background of the suspects involved, Police stated that they will enforce the law professionally in accordance with the relevant legislation and actual circumstances.


On press arrangement, Police reiterated that they always respect press freedom and the rights of the media in reporting.


Without compromising operation effectiveness, Police have all along endeavoured to facilitate the media's reporting work.


To meet operational needs, Police conveyed that it will set up cordoned-off zones during law enforcement operations and facilitate media in performing their reporting work outside the cordoned-off areas.


In recognition of the public's concerns about a law enforcement operation in Tseung Kwan O yesterday, the Police Public Relations Branch actively communicated with the frontline commander in charge of the operation.


Through the co-ordination of the Force Media Liaison Cadre at the scene, some media organisations including television, radio and newspapers gained access to the cordoned-off zones to cover the operation from a better vantage point, thereby enhancing the transparency of police work.


Police added that they fully acknowledge that some media organisations or reporters have different views on this trial arrangement and will review and improve the measures in the future after listening to the media’s views.

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