Journalist Tom Grundy struck by anti-Occupy Central protester as rumour and false information hampers reporting in Hong Kong

Tom Grundy

Tom Grundy

One of Hong Kong’s most prolific reporters of the city’s pro-democracy movement was hit by an anti-Occupy Central demonstrator while covering events on Friday.

Tom Grundy, a freelance journalist and founder of the blog Hong Wrong, was struck by a middle-aged man with a plastic bottle while filming in Mong Kok, where people opposed to the demonstrations – some of whom were reportedly triads sent in by the police – attacked Occupy Central protesters and tore down tents and barricades blocking the busy shopping district’s streets.

Tom Grundy Occupy Central tweet

Tom Grundy’s tweet on Friday

Grundy posted a Vine of the incident on Twitter and wrote “I just got hit by anti #Occupycentral as Mongkok buses are removed”. But the British journalist, who has lived in Hong Kong for the last nine years, has since removed the video clip after he received a deluge of emails and requests for interview after the incident.

He was also mistakenly described as a BBC correspondent amid frantic reports in social media that he had been seriously injured in the Mong Kok scuffles where there are reports of violent attacks and sexual assaults on protesters.

Grundy wrote on his Facebook page: “Rumours of my demise are greatly exaggerated. I’m not dead, injured or a BBC correspondent. Still receiving 100s of emails each hour after my “” address went viral in HK. I’ve never requested ‘evidence’ of being assaulted. A video I removed showed me being smacked with a plastic bottle – I consider it minor.”

Reporting of the protests has been made difficult by the circulation of rumours and false information.

An audio clip sent by a social worker put on the internet last week suggested that triad members were paid HK$800 (US$100) each to recruit vandals to attack protesters in Mong Kok, although the social worker later admitted it was only hearsay, according to the South China Morning Post.

Another rumour was that pro-democracy protesters broke a police vehicle’s window, with a photograph of the incident circulating online. But the image turned out to have been digitally altered.

And a letter supposedly written by a Chinese university professor, which criticised those opposing the movement for acting like communists to fight for an anti-communist goal, and who described the protests as “red-guard style”, was fabricated, the SCMP is reporting.

Media coverage of the Occupy Central protests plastered at the Admiralty protest site

Press coverage of Occupy Central plastered on a wall at the Admiralty protest site

Coverage of Occupy Central by the local and international media has been very mixed, notes David Ko, boss of Hong Kong-based digital marketing agency The Daylight Partnership and the former APAC EVP of PR agency Waggener Edstrom.

Western media such as the BBC, The Guardian and the New York Times have been very “positive” in their appraisal of the movement, whereas “on-the-ground media are very divided,” Ko told Mumbrella.

“Some [newspapers] have been very positive [in their coverage of Occupy Central]. But if you look at Twitter and Facebook you can see the schism that has emerged [between Hongkongers who support and oppose Occupy Central,” he said.

Occupy Central kicked off a week ago, and could have a similar affect as SARS on Hong Kong’s media and marketing industries if the unrest continues, industry experts warned last week.

A TV anchor prepares to go live in Admiralty on Thursday night

A TV anchor prepares to go live at the Admiralty protest site on Thursday night


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