Thailand drops HK journalist charge

In this 24 August 2015, file photo, Hong Kong photojournalist Hok Chun Anthony Kwan speaks to reporters after leaving Samut Prakan provincial court after he was released on bail following his arrest at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, for carrying body armour and a helmet onto a flight bound for Hong Kong.Image copyright

Image caption

Anthony Kwan was detained as he was boarding a flight out of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport

Thailand has withdrawn criminal charges against a Hong Kong journalist detained last year for carrying personal body armour to report on the Bangkok blasts.

The court where Anthony Kwan was due to stand trial next month confirmed that the case is no longer going ahead.

Mr Kwan was arrested in August at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport when officials found the body armour and a helmet in his luggage.

It is illegal to use such items without a weapons licence in Thailand.

Mr Kwan had faced a possible five-year prison sentence.

Journalists regularly use body armour and helmets when reporting from dangerous locations.

His detention was criticised by his employer, Initium Media, as well as the Foreign Correspondents Club in Thailand.

On Tuesday the club issued a statement saying it welcomed the decision, and reiterated that journalists “who need to work in dangerous areas… be able to use appropriate protective equipment legally in Thailand”.

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