Hong Kong journalist appears in court as crackdown fears grow

Hong Kong journalist Bao Choy Yuk-ling before entering a local court in Hong Kong on November 10, 2020.

Hong Kong (CNN)An award-winning Hong Kong journalist appeared in court Tuesday, on charges related to her role in helping to investigate alleged police mishandling of a violent mob attack on democracy supporters in 2019.

The case has intensified concerns over shrinking press freedoms in the semi-autonomous Chinese city, as authorities continue to crackdown on prominent figures linked to last year's anti-government protest movement.
Bao Choy, an employee of the public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), was arrested last week in connection with data on vehicle registrations she used for an investigative documentary.
    The piece examined the July 21 mob attack at Yuen Long subway station last year, which saw dozens of suspected gang members violently attack pro-democracy supporters.
    Footage of the attack posted on social media showed masked men, wearing white T-shirts and armed with batons and metal rods, blindly attacking unarmed crowds on the platform and inside train carriages in the far northwest of Hong Kong.
    At the time of the Yuen Long incident, Hong Kong police were widely criticized for their slow response, and protesters accused law enforcement officials of working with the gangs -- a charge the police repeatedly denied.
    At Fanling Magistrates Court on Tuesday, Choy, 37, was charged with two counts of making false statements under the Road Traffic Ordinance, over her attempts to obtain publicly available drivers information as part of the investigation.
    During the course of the RTHK investigation, reporters sifted through CCTV footage from the night of the attack and identified several vehicles parked close to the suspected gang members. Using a registration database they then obtained information about the owners of those vehicles and contacted them for comment.
    According to a charge sheet, Bao made false statements when seeking access to the data.
    Speaking outside the court Tuesday, Choy told reporters that "many scholars, unions and