A Hong Kong journalist is out on bail in Bangkok after he was arrested for the illegal possession of a bulletproof vest.
- The Samut Prakan Provincial Court granted a bail to the visiting journalist on Monday afternoon.
Anthony Kwan Hok-chun, a photojournalist from Hong Kong, who was charged for carrying protective body armor without a license. Mr. Kwan was detained at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport on Sunday while waiting to board a flight to Hong Kong. The journalist said his company gave him the vest to use it during his reporting in Thailand.
The 29-year-old journalist, who works for Initium Media Technology, a Hong Kong-based news agency, was leaving Thailand after reporting on the aftermath of the Erawan shrine bombing which killed 22 people, including two Hong Kong citizens. A Bangkok-based court ordered him not to leave the country and report to the judicial body every 12 days while investigations were ongoing.
Mr. Kwan was arrested for breaching Thailand’s Arms Control Act after an X-ray machine at the departure terminal detected a helmet and ballistic vest in his luggage with the word “Press” on it. If found guilty, he could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 50,000 baht. Moreover, the suspect could also face additional two years of imprisonment or a fine up to 5,000 baht under the Air Navigation Act.
“The Bangkok bomb killed and injured several Hong Kong and Chinese people, so we sent two journalists to cover the incident,” said Jieping Zhang, editor of Initium Media. “We appreciate Anthony for joining our organization, as he’s a talented photojournalist from Bloomberg. It’s just an unfortunate situation,” she said.
The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) criticized Kwan’s arrest and urged authorities to drop the criminal case against him. The club demanded the government should prioritize reforming its outdated arms control act in a manner that will allow the reporters to protect themselves. IMAGE/bbc