Man set alight, cop shoots protester as HK violence worsens
Man set alight after arguing with protesters, another shot by police
HONG KONG: The violence in Hong Kong reached new heights as several startling videos showed one man being set alight and another shot at point-blank range by a policeman. Both men are in critical condition.
In the first instance, Hong Kong police said yesterday that the man was set on fire following a heated argument with pro-democracy protesters during a day of widespread clashes across the city.
Three videos were posted on messaging channels used by protesters showing a man in a green T-shirt arguing with people on a footbridge.
A masked man dressed in black then throws a liquid over the man and sets him ablaze as people scatter and the victim tries to remove his T-shirt.
"In the most shocking incident, some rioters poured flammable liquid onto a person and set him on fire," police spokesman John Tse said.
"The man has been admitted to hospital in critical condition."
The incident took place in the northern area of Ma On Shan, around 20km from the central business district, he said.
It came during a tense day in Hong Kong, which has been engulfed for about five months by increasingly violent pro-democracy protests.
Police fired tear gas in the narrow streets of the central business district where some protesters, crouching behind umbrellas, blocked streets as office workers crowded the pavements and hurled anti-government abuse.
Mr Tse said shortly before the attack, protesters had trashed the nearby Ma On Shan train station, and investigators believe the man who was set on fire had "chased the rioters".
The expletive-laden argument on video shows the man in green criticising people sympathetic to Hong Kong's democracy movement and his opponents berating him back.
At one point, the man in green can be heard saying "none of you are Chinese".
One of his opponents shouts, "Go back to the Greater Bay Area", the name for a nearby region of China across the border from Hong Kong.
In the second incident, a man wearing a white hoodie and mask walks towards a policeman, as if to challenge him. The officer draws his gun and points it at him at close range and grabs him round the neck.
As the officer holds the man with his left hand, he shoots another approaching masked protester at close range with his right hand.
Three shots ring out and the man falls to the ground.
"The live rounds fired by police are clear evidence of reckless use of force," Amnesty International Hong Kong said in a statement, demanding an investigation.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said yesterday that the violence has exceeded protesters' demands for democracy and demonstrators are the people's enemy.
She said: "If there is still any wishful thinking that by escalating violence, the Hong Kong... government will yield to pressure, to satisfy the so-called political demands, I am making this statement clear and loud here: That will not happen."
More than 60 people were wounded yesterday, Mrs Lam said. - REUTERS, AFP