Hong Kong-based Indonesian journalist seeks justice after losing right eye

Hong Kong-based Indonesian journalist seeks justice after losing right eye

Hong Kong-based Indonesian journalist seeks justice after losing right eye

Written by Reuters

10 Dec, 2019 | 1:24 pm

Reuters: Hit by a projectile fired by Hong Kong police while covering an anti-government protest nearly two months ago, Indonesian journalist Veby Mega Indah was blinded in one eye, but that has not blotted out the traumatic flashbacks filling her mind.

Working as an associate editor for Suara, a newspaper popular with Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Kong, the 39-year-old Indah had been live-streaming in the Bahasa Indonesia language on the frontlines of demonstrations.

At the time of the shooting Indah was reporting on the street protests alongside other journalists from the vantage point of a footbridge. She believes she was hit by a rubber bullet. Whatever the projectile was, it has caused the permanent loss of sight in her right eye.

“Honestly I thought it’s going to be my end,” she told Reuters.

Indah recalled hearing fellow journalists behind her shout: “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, we are journalists, we are journalists!'”

The Chinese-ruled city has been roiled by more than six months of sometimes violent protests as activists call for greater democracy and an independent inquiry into police actions, among other demands.

Police, who have at times fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse demonstrators, say they have shown restraint in the face of escalating violence.

Indah and her legal representative told Reuters they have filed a legal request asking the police to name the officer involved in the incident so they can pursue a civil case, but that they have had no meaningful response so far.

“My case is intended to send a message to the police that they are accountable for what they have done”, she said.

Hong Kong police did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Although at the time of the incident, a police spokesperson Tse Chun-Chung told a news conference, “on the bridge there were also a large number of violent rioters, who were attacking our police officers. And so our colleague was left with no other choice than to to use the appropriate level of force.”

“But I can be completely certain that he in no way had any intention to harm any reporter,” Tse added.

While Indah still feels pain, she is adjusting to life with one eye, although she is still haunted by the experience and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“I saw the anti riot police standing in front of my building, (and) I felt anxious”, she said while holding back tears. “I was thinking, my god. What will he do to me?”

Indah has been unable to return to work.

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