Police shoot Hong Kong protester during clashes
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police shot a protester at close range, leaving him bleeding from his shoulder and howling on the ground, in a fearsome escalation of anti-government demonstrations that spread across the semi-autonomous Chinese territory on Tuesday. Tens of thousands marched in a day of rage as Communist leaders in Beijing celebrated 70 years in power.
The protester was shot by an officer who opened fire with his revolver, a police official said, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information. While officers have previously fired warning shots in the air on multiple occasions during Hong Kong’s monthslong anti-government protests, this is the first time a protester is known to have been shot.
Video of the shooting that spread quickly on social media appeared to show the officer opening fire as the protester came at him with a baton, striking the officer’s shooting arm.
Taken by the City University Student Union, it showed a dozen blackclad protesters hurling objects at a group of riot police and closing in on the lone officer who pointed his revolver and opened fire on the protester who collapsed on the street, bleeding from below his left shoulder.
As another protester rushed in to try to drag away the injured protester and was tackled by an officer, a gasoline bomb landed in the middle of the group of officers in an explosion of flames.
The South China Morning Post reported that the protester, a 17-yearold student, was taken to a hospital and was undergoing surgery.
The shooting marked a dramatic escalation in violence in a city already on edge which saw fierce clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police spreading to multiple areas.
Riot police fired numerous volleys of tear gas in at least six locations and used water cannons in the business district as protesters turned streets into battlefields to spoil the Oct. 1 anniversary of Communist rule.
A security clampdown in the city to thwart violence that would embarrass Chinese President Xi Jinping failed to deter the protests, including a massive march in the city center.
Organizers said at least 100,000 people marched along a broad city thoroughfare in defiance of a police ban, chanting anti-China slogans and some carrying Chinese flags defaced with a black cross. Police didn’t provide an estimate of the turnout.
“They are squeezing our necks so we don’t breathe the air of freedom,” said King Chan, a 57-year-old homemaker who came out to protest with her husband.
Many demonstrators tossed wads of fake “hell” bank notes usually used at funerals into the air. “The leaders who won’t listen to our voice, this is for them,” said marcher Ray Luk.
Thousands of people confronted police in multiple locations across the city, the largest number of simultaneous protests since the unrest began in early June over a nowshelved extradition bill that activists say was an example of how Hong Kong’s freedoms and citizen rights are being eroded.
This screen capture taken from handout video released by Campus TV, HKUSU shows a Hong Kong policeman firing his weapon and shotting a protester during clashes in the Tsuen Wan district in Hong Kong, Tuesday, as the city observes the National Day holiday to mark the 70th anniversary of communist China’s founding.