Police shoot HK student protester in chest during clashes
Protester's injuries not life-threatening; police claim 'rioters' used corrosive liquid to harm officers
HONG KONG: A Hong Kong police officer shot a student protester in the chest with a live round yesterday after his unit was attacked by demonstrators during sustained clashes in the city.
Police Senior Superintendent Yolanda Yu, in a recorded video message on Facebook last night, said the police force is "saddened" that an 18-year-old man was injured by a live round.
"At about 4pm, a large group of rioters attacked police officers near Tai Ho Road, and they continued with their attack after officers warned them to stop. As an officer felt his life was under serious threat, he fired a round at the assailant to save his own life and his colleagues' lives," she said.
"The police force really did not want to see anyone being injured, so we feel very sad about this. We warn rioters to stop breaking the law immediately, as we will strictly enforce the law," she added.
A Hospital Authority spokesman told AFP that 15 people had been admitted to hospitals across the city following yesterday's clashes, one of whom was in a critical condition at Princess Margaret.
Two videos posted online showed the shooting and its aftermath, which took place in Tsuen Wan, a district where hardcore protesters had clashed with police throughout the afternoon.
Some half a dozen riot police can be seen clashing with around 12 masked protesters, some of whom were using umbrellas and metal poles to strike the officers.
One officer runs into frame with his sidearm drawn.
He kicks a protester before firing at near point-black range into the chest of a demonstrator with a metal pole in his hand.
A gunshot can be heard as the pistol rears upwards.
The protester stumbles backwards and then falls over a police officer who has been knocked to the ground as the rest of the demonstrators run away.
A second video, filmed by Hong Kong University's Campus TV, showed the same incident from a different angle.
'MY CHEST HURTS'
"Send me to hospital," the young man, who gave his name as Tsang Chi Kin, tells reporters. "My chest is hurting, I need to go to hospital."
Footage filmed shortly afterwards by local broadcaster Stand News showed police officers treating the prone man, who by then had an oxygen mask on his face and his T-shirt cut open. A dressing used to treat a chest wound had been applied to his torso.
Paramedics later arrived and placed the man, who was still conscious, onto a stretcher.
A classmate of the protester told the BBC that the man's injuries were not life-threatening.
"We felt horrible when we saw him suffer in the video," he said, adding that fellow students wanted to start a crowd-funding campaign for him.
The cat-and-mouse clashes spread from the upmarket district of Causeway Bay to the Admiralty area of government offices on Hong Kong island.
Violence also spread across the harbour to Kowloon and beyond to the New Territories in the most widespread unrest in nearly four months.
Police fired water cannon and volley after volley of tear gas to disperse protesters throwing Molotov cocktails outside central government offices in the Admiralty area and ordered the evacuation of the Legislative Council building next door.
Police said "rioters" had used corrosive fluid in Tuen Mun in the west of the New Territories, "injuring multiple police officers and reporters".
No details were immediately available. - AFP, REUTERS