World

Police shoot teen protester as Hong Kong violence escalates

2 October 2019 - 35   - 0

Hong Kong police shot a teenage protester on Tuesday, the first to be hit by live ammunition in almost four months of unrest in the Chinese-ruled city, amid violent clashes on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.

Cat-and-mouse clashes spread from the shopping district of Causeway Bay to the Admiralty area of government offices on Hong Kong island, and then on to the New Territories bordering mainland China, with police firing tear gas and water cannon at petrol bomb throwing activists.

Police said an officer shot an 18-year-old man in the shoulder in the Tsuen Wan area of the New Territories with a live round. Protesters have previously been hit with bean bags rounds and rubber bullets and officers have fired live rounds in the air.

Police chief Stephen Lo said the firing of live rounds - which were discharged in three places - was lawful and fair.

“Police lives were under serious threat, that’s why they fired live rounds,” he told reporters, adding that the wounded man was conscious when taken to hospital.

Dramatic video footage of the Tsuen Wan shooting shows a chaotic melee with riot police battling protesters wielding metal bars, before an officer fires a shot at close range.

As the wounded man steps back and falls, someone tries to help, but another policeman tackles him to the ground.

Tuesday’s violence was the most widespread since the unrest erupted in early June, plunging the former British colony into its biggest political crisis in decades and posing the most serious popular challenge to President Xi Jinping since he came to power.

Protesters had vowed to seize the opportunity on China’s National Day to propel their calls for greater democracy onto the international stage, hijacking an occasion Beijing sees as an opportunity to showcase China’s economic and military progress.

“I’m not young, but if we don’t march now, we’ll never have the chance to speak again, it’s as simple as that,” said one marcher near Causeway Bay, a 42-year-old woman with her own logistics company who identified herself as Li.

(REUTERS)

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