A Hong Kong court won a temporary order on Saturday banning anyone from publishing personal details or photos of police officers and their families in their latest effort to crush dissent.

The Hong Kong government made the announcement on government websites that the High Court granted the Department of Justice's request for the interim injunction to "restrain doxxing and harassment of police officers and their families."

The move comes after police officers complained about having their personal information leaked online, known as "doxxing," and that their family members were harassed as a result.

The 14-day injunction bans "intimidating, molesting, harassing, threatening, pestering or interfering" with any police officer or family member.

People are also banned from posting police officers' personal details such as their names, addresses, dates of birth and identity card numbers. Information about police officers' Facebook and Instagram IDs, as well as their car number plates, is also forbidden under the order.

It remains unclear how the order, in effect until November 8, will be put into force and whether it will restrict journalists.


Photo Credit: Kin Cheung / AP / TPG Images

In a sign of protest against the police using force against the media, press photographers wear protective gear during a police media conference in Hong Kong, on September 9, 2019

Limitations on Freedom of Expression

Hong Kong-based lawyer Antony Dapiran described the injunction as a "very alarming development" in Hong Kong's clampdown on pro-democracy protesters.

"[It's a] serious restriction on freedom of expression and effectively criminalizes a whole range of perfectly lawful acts which will now be punishable as contempt of court," he tweeted.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association said it felt "extremely concerned" about the possible restrictions to media freedoms and announced it was seeking legal expertise on the matter.

A University of Hong Kong media law expert warned that the injunction introduced limitations "far beyond doxxing."

"It would certainly capture the chants and name-calling that the police have long wanted to have legislative protection from," Sharron Fast told AFP, adding that reporters and opposition figures had also been doxxed during the movement but the order did not extend to them.

Both police officers and protesters have had their identities disclosed in online forums.

Hong Kong medical workers were set to demonstrate Saturday evening to oppose what they called "violent repression" by police during the anti-government protests.

In what initially began as a rally against an extradition bill, protesters are calling for more autonomy, police accountability and the resignation of Hong Kong's unpopular leader, Carrie Lam.

Police have responded with pepper spray, tear gas, and water cannons. On one occasion a teenager was shot in the chest and wounded.

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This article was originally published on Deutsche Welle. Read the original article here.

TNL Editor: Daphne K. Lee (@thenewslensintl)

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