On 17 April 2023, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was jailed for 3 months for posting on social media in 2020 personal details of a police officer. The officer had shot an unarmed protestor with a live round during the 2019 extradition bill protests, leaving the protestor in critical condition. The protestor was later convicted of protest-related offences and sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment, whereas by contrast the officer was neither charged nor disciplined.
Wong admitted that his post, although taken down after several days, had breached a court injunction which banned the disclosure of the personal information of police officers involved in the 2019 protests.
Wong has been in prison custody since late 2020 on other protest-related and NSL charges, including the ‘47 democrats’ case.It is notable that, compared with the high number of protestors arrested or jailed for ‘doxxing’ or other charges, no police officer has been held accountable for countless incidents of brutality committed during the protests.
In September 2021, Hong Kong passed a contentious anti-‘doxxing’ law, under which offenders face severe penalties, including a HK$1 million fine and five years imprisonment, for intentionally revealing individuals’ personal details. The authorities also made amendments to Hong Kong privacy laws, under which the city’s privacy commissioner has power to order internet platforms such as Google and Twitter to remove content classified as doxxing, and to impose sanctions if they fail to comply. Critics say the laws are open to abuse, will erode freedom of speech and expression, and can be used to target government critics.
(This story originally appeared in the March-April 2023 edition of our newsletter).