Chairman of the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association Edwin Kwok resigned on Monday following controversy surrounding his professional conduct and a rumoured police tip-off.
The Hong Kong photojournalist union held an extraordinary general meeting on Monday evening after accusations of Kwok’s misconduct surfaced on discussion forums and social media platforms over the weekend. One of the key accusations was that Kwok had allegedly handed close-up photos of the protesters he took at the recent anti-extradition law protest to the police.
During the meeting, Kwok had denied the claims, and the association said they could not find sufficient evidence to prove Kwok had been involved in the alleged activity. The union said in a statement on Facebook on Tuesday that the rumours online are not verified, and might cause citizens in Hong Kong to lose trust in frontline photojournalists.
Other deficiencies in Kwok’s work during the protest were pointed out at the meeting, such as revealing to the police about the existence of dangerous items at the scene of the protest, which is considered a violation of the non-intervention guidelines.
Members were also disappointed at Kwok’s inability to defend their rights of reporting during the protest, as well as not consulting with the union whether they would join fellow journalists to protest against the police’s treatment of the press during the June 12 clashes at the police press conference a day after.
“His actions are unacceptable to the association,” the union wrote in a statement.
Kwok resigned as head of the association at the meeting, with immediate effect, but the union members had also passed a non-binding motion to remove Kwok’s duties as a show of their disapproval of his conduct.
“We hope to re-establish mutual trust with Hong Kong citizens in the future and fulfil the responsibility of a journalist, to carry out the duty as the Fourth Estate,” the union added.
Young Post tried to reach Kwok for comment, but he has deleted his social media accounts. He is not responding to calls at the moment, as his mobile number was released online.