Police Chief Inspector John Tse at a press conference on Monday (30/9) stated that the injury of an Indonesian journalist, Veby Mega Indah, was purely an accident. At the critical moment in the middle of the demonstration Sunday (29/9) the journalists and demonstrators were both at the scene, with the demonstrators throwing at least two petrol bombs from the bridge that endangering the lives of the officers.
“The injury of the Indonesian reporter is a pure accident. We are saddened about it but reporters should keep a distance from the violent protesters. We have sent our sympathies to the journalist and got in touch with her through a representative of the Indonesian consulate. She said she needed to rest and refused to give a statement to police, but she will lodge a complaint via her lawyer later,” Tse said.
Indonesian journalist Veby Indah’s legal representative Michael Vidler says police violated internationally accepted norms of using weapon by firing from potentially lethal distance and low angle.
Veby Indah was shot in the face while covering a protest in Hong Kong on Sunday will request the city’s police commissioner to launch a criminal probe into the incident, her lawyer said on Monday.
Veby injured her forehead and eyes after a riot police officer fired a round while she was standing on an overpass linking Immigration Tower to Wan Chai MTR station.
Vidler said Veby would also file civil proceedings to seek redress. The Indonesian Consulate, in a letter sent to police on Monday, also requested the force to conduct an investigation.
Vidler said police should be held responsible for the injury – as Veby, an associate editor with Suara Hong Kong News, and other journalists around her – were clearly identifiable as members of the press who posed no threat.
After the incident that made Veby injured in his forehead and eyes, the Indonesian language newspaper published in Hong Kong reaped much sympathy and prayers for Veby on their Facebook page.
He said the projectile, believed to be a beanbag round or rubber bullet, struck Veby’s protective goggles from about 12 metres.
The impact caused severe injury to her right eye, a cut near her right eye which required stitches and injury to her left eye. He added substantial visual impairment remained a possibility.
Veby is being treated at Eastern Hospital where doctors have said she does not require surgery, Vania Lijaya, a media officer with the Indonesian Consulate, said.
The Indonesian Consulate has been in touch with Veby’s family, Lijaya said. Veby declined a request for interview.
The community of the International Christian Assembly, the Hong Kong church that Veby attends, has been visiting and taking care of her and also read out a short prayer for her at the hospital on Monday evening.