Po­lice fire tear gas at Hong Kong pro­test­ers

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Vi­ola Gaskell

HONG KONG — Po­lice dis­persed crowds with tear gas late Fri­day as vig­ils and protests took place across Hong Kong over the death of 22-year-old Chow Tsz-lok, a stu­dent pro­tester who fell from a park­ing garage near where po­lice also used tear gas at an ear­lier antigov­ern­ment demon­stra­tion.

Pro­test­ers and po­lice of­fi­cers have rou­tinely been in­jured since demon­stra­tions broke out in June, but no deaths had pre­vi­ously been di­rectly con­nected to the clashes.

Chow’s death early Fri­day in­flamed city­wide anger to­ward po­lice, as many stu­dents be­lieve he was run­ning from of­fi­cers when he fell.

Peace­ful vig­ils de­volved into clashes as riot po­lice ar­rived on scene and pro­test­ers re­sponded ag­gres­sively, chant­ing “Mur­der­ers!”

and hurl­ing bricks and other ob­jects at the of­fi­cers.

An of­fi­cer in the Yau Ma Tei district re­port­edly fired a warn­ing shot as the clashes es­ca­lated. Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice force, “ri­ot­ers” threw gaso­line bombs, set fire to an elec­tri­cal box, and van­dal­ized pub­lic prop­erty.

Ear­lier Fri­day evening, thou­sands at­tended vig­ils in over a dozen lo­ca­tions across the semi-au­ton­o­mous city, in­clud­ing at the park­ing garage where the in­ci­dent hap­pened. Mourn­ers left white flow­ers, burned can­dles, and wrote mes­sages for Chow and his fam­ily at the lo­ca­tion where he was found by fire­fight­ers.

Chow fell from the third to the sec­ond floor of the She­ung Tak Es­tate garage on Mon­day morn­ing af­ter clashes be­tween pro­test­ers and po­lice were dis­persed with tear gas nearby, the South China Morn­ing Post re­ported.

Po­lice said that Chow was found ap­prox­i­mately 120 yards from the site where tear gas had been fired to dis­perse pro­test­ers in the area.

A ser­vice held at the Hong Kong Uni­ver­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (HKUT), where Chow was a sec­ond-year stu­dent, was presided over by Rev­erend Chu Yiu Ming.

Chu had been tried for his in­volve­ment in the 2014 Um­brella move­ment, when pro-democ­racy pro­test­ers oc­cu­pied the city’s Cen­tral district for 79 days.

A moment of si­lence was ob­served at vig­ils city­wide.

Ear­lier in the day, stu­dents marched to the res­i­dence of HKUT pres­i­dent Wei Shyy, de­mand­ing that he con­demn po­lice vi­o­lence against stu­dent pro­test­ers. Shyy later put out a state­ment call­ing for an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry into Chow’s death.

Shyy also de­manded that po­lice ac­count for the 19minute “de­lay” that fol­lowed fire­fight­ers’ ini­tial call for an am­bu­lance. In a press con­fer­ence on Fri­day, po­lice said the am­bu­lance had been blocked due to “traf­fic.”

“We de­mand clar­i­fi­ca­tions from all par­ties, es­pe­cially from the po­lice,” Shyy said. “We will be out­raged if there is no ac­cept­able ex­pla­na­tion of­fered to us.”

Ear­lier in the day, of­fice work­ers held mo­ments of si­lence in Hong Kong’s down­town Cen­tral district, tem­po­rar­ily block­ing traf­fic to honor 22-year-old Chow.

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