Journalists condemn shooting of Indonesian reporter


A journalist body in Indonesia on Thursday called for investigation into a bullet injury suffered by their colleague who was covering ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

Indonesian journalist Veby Mega Indah was hit by a bullet near her right eye while covering a demonstration last Sunday in the Wan Chai area.

She was shot by police despite the fact that she was standing near a group of journalists and wearing obvious press identity and proper protection gear like a helmet and bright-colored safety vest, the Indonesian Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) said in a statement.

Veby, who works for Indonesian-language local newspaper Suara Hong Kong, is receiving treatment at Pamela Youde Nethersole Hospital in Hong Kong.

The chairman of AJI Jakarta, Asnil Bambani said that the alliance demands that the Indonesian Consulate General in Hong Kong provide legal assistance and ensure Veby’s safety and security.

“As an Indonesia citizen, Veby has the right to receive support that protects her health and life and to fight for justice,” he said.

The journalist group also called on the Hong Kong police to arrest the shooter and hold him accountable.

“The Hong Kong Police should take full responsibility for what happened to Veby. This is not only a threat to Veby, but also to the other local and international journalists covering the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong,” said Bambani.

Veby’s lawyer Michael Vidler, who was appointed by Hong Kong Journalist Association Vidler & Co. Solicitor, said that the impact of the shooting is dangerous and might be deadly.

“Ms Veby is very lucky just to stay alive. If she was not wearing a protection goggle, she could lose her eyesight as a result of injuries. For now, there is a chance that she might suffer severe vision damage,” said Vidler.

Based on information gathered by Veby’s lawyer, the bullet allegedly came from a 12-gauge shotgun.

Established in 1994, AJI is the largest registered organization of independent journalists in Indonesia and is member of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

The alliance said they had been informed that the Hong Kong Police had attempted to meet Veby, but the hospital declined the request for medical reasons.

Protests have rocked Hong Kong since June against a proposed amendment which will allow mainland China to extradite suspects. Scores of people have been injured in the demonstrations which have occasionally turned violent.

*Nicky Aulia Widadio, a reporter of Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language services, writes this story for Anadolu Agency’s English News Desk from Jakarta, Indonesia. Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo contributed to this story.

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