Taipei, April 13, 2021 — The Hong Kong police should swiftly and thoroughly investigate the attack on the printing facility of The Epoch Times and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
At about 4:30 a.m. yesterday, four masked men broke into the newspaper’s printing facility in the Tsuen Wan district of Hong Kong, forced staffers to leave by threatening them with hammers and a knife, and proceeded to smash the office’s computers, douse the printing machines with concrete mix, and steal computer parts, according to the newspaper, which posted CCTV images of the attack, and other news reports. No staffers were harmed during the attack, according to those reports.
The Epoch Times is a U.S.-based media company that reports critically on the Chinese government, according to its website and CPJ’s review of its reporting.
An officer of the Police Public Relations Branch emailed a case brief to CPJ stating that the force classified the attack as a criminal damage case, and that the Tsuen Wan Regional Anti-Triad Police Unit would be responsible for investigating. Police had not arrested any suspects as of today, according to that case brief.
“The violent attack on The Epoch Times’ printing plant in Hong Kong is another worrying example of violence faced by media outlets operating in the city,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna, in New York. “Hong Kong authorities must take action and bring those responsible for the attack on The Epoch Times, including its planners, to justice.”
The paper released a statement following the attack alleging that the perpetrators aimed to silence its independent reporting on the Chinese Communist Party. CPJ emailed The Epoch Times for comment but did not immediately receive any reply.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club both released statements condemning the attack and urging the police to launch a serious investigation.
Previously, in late 2019, four masked men stormed into the newspaper’s printshop in Mong Kok and set the company’s printing machines on fire, as CPJ documented at the time.