A reporter for a newspaper critical of Beijing was attacked in the street outside her Ho Man Tin home by an unknown assailant wielding a baseball bat on Tuesday.
Epoch Times reporter Leung Zhen was attacked by a man wielding a baseball bat from a passing vehicle, according to a witness who spoke to the newspaper. She was sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and suffered bruising to her legs.
The attack lasted around one minute, after which the assailant returned to the vehicle which he came in and sped off, the witness said.
Leung, who is also head of the Hong Kong Association of Falun Dafa, accused the Chinese Communist Party of orchestrating the attack: “We are experiencing these kinds of triad-style scare tactics to try and intimidate Hong Kong journalists from speaking out,” Leung told reporters outside the hospital.
The journalist said she had reported the incident to the police and passed on details of the vehicle’s registration plate: “We hope the police will catch the perpetrator as soon as possible, so the government can reassure the international community that Hong Kong is a safe place.”
The Epoch Times is a media outlet affiliated to the Falun Gong, a spiritual movement banned and persecuted on mainland China.
‘Bring perpetrator to justice’
The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) expressed serious concern about the attack: “The association expresses anger at the incident and strongly condemns violence against media,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The association also urged on the police to investigate the incident to “bring the perpetrator to justice”.
“The HKJA reiterates that press freedom is the core value of Hong Kong’s success. We absolutely will not tolerate any violent threats against media and journalists,” the statement continued.
The attack comes within one month of an attack on the media’s printing presses by a group of four men wielding sledgehammers.
The second attack against the media outlet comes as rights groups sound the alarm of diminishing press freedoms in Hong Kong. In 2014, a former Ming Pao editor critical of Beijing was attacked by a man with a chopper.