Reporters Without Borders (RSF) stated that Hong Kong Epoch Times printing plant was ransacked on April 12 for the second time in less than two years. It called on Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam to “put an end to the climate of suspicion surrounding independent media and that of impunity, which make such attacks possible.”
RSF issued a press release on April 14 stating that four armed masked individuals attacked the Hong Kong printing plant of the Epoch Times on April 12. The individuals not only threatened the employees of the printing plant, but also used a sledgehammer to damage the main printing presses and other equipment. Surveillance cameras recorded the whole incident. It was the second time that the Epoch Times printing plant in Hong Kong was attacked. Two years ago in 2019, the printing plant was set on fire.
Cédric Alviani, head of the RSF East Asia bureau, said, “By leaving previous attacks on journalists unpunished and creating a climate of suspicion against independent media outlets, the Hong Kong authorities are encouraging such violence.”
RSF stated that the Epoch Times is not the only media that has been violently attacked in Hong Kong in recent years. On July 1, 2019, several masked men vandalized Citizens’ Radio, an independent radio station. In 2015, two arson attacks targeted Pro-democratic Apple Daily. In 2014, an individual with a knife attacked and severely injured Kevin Lau, the former editor-in-chief of Ming Pao.
RSF pointed out that Hong Kong used to be a bastion of press freedom. At present, Hong Kong’s ranking in the RSF World Press Freedom Index has fallen from 18th in 2002 to 80th in 2020.
1. Central News Agency, April 15, 2021
2. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) rsf.org