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Independent Hong Kong media threatened over political coverage

UK family of founder of English-language Hong Kong Free Press sent letters threatening physical harm

Independent Hong Kong media threatened over political coverage

Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) has been sent threatening letters warning the independent media to 'tread carefully' in its coverage of political issues. (Screen-grab image)

October 9, 2017

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Threats have been sent to the British family of the founder of an independent English-language Hong Kong media outlet over its political coverage.

A "warning" letter was sent to Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) co-founder and chief editor Tom Grundy's family in the UK on Sep. 29.

"In politics, when one does not know one's enemies clearly, one could get hurt," part of the letter said. It told Grundy to "tread carefully" and "be very wise about his actions and their consequences."

In response, Grundy said that HKFP would continue its journalism and would not bow to the threat. Hong Kong's Criminal Investigation Department  opened a case on Oct. 1 over the threat.

The threatening letter sent to Grundy's family is one of six received threatening the HKFP since Aug. 25.

The letters accused HKFP of writing biased and negative stories about Hong Kong and China and being brainwashed by foreigners.

The online publication reported one letter listed 50 non-Chinese names, including HKFP contributors and democracy activists under the heading: "The following foreigners have been deemed guilty of spreading hatred and dividing" Hong Kong and China.

The letter said, "The punishment shall be mandated as of January 2018. Expulsion from Chinese territory. A list will be sent to immigration staff."

The Hong Kong Journalists Association released a statement Oct. 4 urging the police to thoroughly investigate the matter.

Launched in mid-2015, Hong Kong Free Press was founded by independent journalists via crowdfunding as an alternative to the dominant English news sources in the city. According to Grundy over the past two years HKFP has written more than 10,000 reports including a large number focused on politics in the city and the mainland.  

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