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Partially Blinded Reporter in Hong Kong Says God Gave Her Chance to Seek Justice


In this Sept. 29, 2019, photo, Indonesian video journalist Veby Mega Indah, center, is attended to in Hong Kong after being hit in the eye by what she believes was a projectile fired by riot police.

Covering an anti-government protest in Hong Kong nearly two months ago, Indonesian journalist Veby Mega Indah felt a sharp sting in her right eyeball.

"I was doing livestreaming, and before I realized what happened, I heard two bangs — two loud bangs — and then I saw white smoke from the stairs where the police were," she said.

She fell backward, and another journalist lunged to her aid.

"She hugged me and we collapsed together to the floor," Indah, 39, recently told VOA's Mandarin service. "Thanks to her, I [didn't] get brain injury or something. ... We crashed directly onto the hard floor and she kept hugging me. I couldn't open my eyes anymore. I couldn't feel my face."

In this Dec. 4, 2019, photo, Veby Mega Indah, an injured Indonesian video journalist, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in the Wan Chai area of Hong Kong.
In this Dec. 4, 2019, photo, Veby Mega Indah, an injured Indonesian video journalist, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in the Wan Chai area of Hong Kong.

Indah is believed to have been hit by a rubber bullet while livestreaming footage of the demonstrations from the vantage point of a pedestrian bridge.

An associate editor for Suara Hong Kong News, an outlet that caters to the city's Indonesian migrant population, on that Sunday afternoon in late September, she became a part of the story.

As word of her injury garnered international media attention, she realized that, unlike the hundreds and possibly thousands of people who've sustained injuries in the protests, she was in a position to approach the police without risking her own arrest.

"Many people were injured in Hong Kong who could not do what I did because, if they do it, they can be charged," Indah said. "So this [activism] is not just for me. ...

"God gave me the opportunity to seek justice," she added. "If I do not do that, I could not face myself."

The projectile that struck Indah has caused permanent loss of sight in her right eye.

The Chinese-ruled city has been roiled by more than six months of sometimes violent protests as activists call for greater democracy and an independent inquiry into police actions, among other demands.

Police, who have dispersed demonstrators with rubber bullets and tear gas, say they have shown restraint in the face of escalating violence.

Indah, who has been unable to return to work, is being represented by Hong Kong-based British human rights lawyer Michael Vidler. The South China Morning Post has reported that Indah has applied for legal aid to finance her case.

This story originated in VOA's Mandarin and Indonesian services.

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