BANGKOK: Hong Kong photographer to face trial over flak jacket next month

A HONG KONG photographer detained for carrying a bulletproof jacket and helmet will face trial after pleading not guilty yesterday to a weapons possession charge.

The case has sparked an outcry from media freedom groups, who say journalists should not be punished for carrying body armour and protective gear in and out of dangerous zones.

Anthony Kwan Hok-chun, who works for the Hong Kong-based Initium media group, was briefly held on August 23 after trying to depart at Suvarnabhumi Airport with a flak jacket and helmet in his hand luggage.

Both items are classified as weapons under Thai law and Kwan was charged with breaching the Arms Control Act – punishable by up to five years in jail. He was in Thailand to cover the aftermath of August’s deadly Bangkok bombing.

Kwan told reporters yesterday after a hearing at the Samut Prakan provincial court that he denied the charge.

“I’m not confessing… I don’t think that a flak jacket is a weapon and I definitely didn’t know it was illegal here,” he said.

They better let him go: they have much more things to do then this “loose of face”!!!!!!!
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