Students protest over shooting of HK teenager
Current, ex-students say shooting fuelled determination to fight for democracy
HONG KONG Before he was battling police on the front lines of Hong Kong's democracy movement, Mr Tony Tsang, 18, was known to his peers as a school vice-captain, organising events for students, friends said yesterday.
They were speaking a day after the teenager was shot in the chest at point-blank range as he fought an officer with a metal pipe in Tsuen Wan district during some of the most violent clashes in Hong Kong since protests escalated in mid-June.
Mr Tsang is stable in hospital, where he is under arrest.
What started as protests over a now-withdrawn extradition Bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial have evolved into calls for greater democracy, among other demands.
Speaking at a news conference at the school where Mr Tsang studies, current and former students, wearing masks to disguise their identities, described him as a gifted student and said his shooting had only fuelled their determination.
"Tony has always been a role model to the junior school students," said one student who gave his name only as Wong.
"The anti-extradition movement that has started this year gave him renewed purpose ... He often said he would rather die than be arrested."
Another student urged the government to fulfil the five demands of the movement, which include an independent investigation into alleged police brutality.
"If you do not hear our voices now, we will ensure the new government that succeeds you will avenge every single atrocity you have committed against us," the student said.
"This means war."
The shooting has shocked residents of the leafy neighbourhood in the north of the city and exposed how young many of those on the front lines of the protests are.
ACTING IN SELF-DEFENCE
Police have said the officer who fired the live shot was under serious threat and acted in self-defence in accordance with official guidelines.
As the students spoke, dozens of primary schoolchildren shouted slogans of the pro-democracy movement: "Revive Hong Kong" and "Revolution of our time".
But later, the group and members of the media were pelted with eggs by residents as a drone hovered overhead.
Other residents said they supported the students, despite the violence.
"I am heart-broken," said Ms Cheung, 30, a mother of young children.
"The kids are just expressing their demands. Even if they take out a stick, they are just trying to protect themselves, they are not aiming to hurt anyone.
"But the police is trying to take his life away."
Hong Kong anti-government protesters are also increasingly focusing their anger on mainland Chinese businesses and those with pro-Beijing links, daubing graffiti on store fronts and vandalising outlets in the heart of the financial centre.
Protesters took aim at some of China's largest banks at the weekend, spray-painting anti-China slogans on shuttered branches and trashing automated teller machines of outlets such as Bank of China, while nearby international counterparts such as Standard Chartered Bank escaped untouched.
Another target was shops operated by Maxim's Caterers, including American coffee chain Starbucks, after the daughter of the Hong Kong company's founder condemned the protesters at the United Nations human rights council in Geneva.