Hong Kong police shot at least one protester on Monday during rush hour as anti-government demonstrators blocked roads and called for a day of strikes, following clashes at the weekend.
In video captured by local media, a police officer who was struggling to subdue a protester fired three live rounds at demonstrators in Sai Wan Ho in northeastern Hong Kong. One demonstrator who did not appear to be armed was shot at point-blank range in the torso and crumpled to the ground. Two other shots can be heard, as another protester fell to the ground. It was not clear if he had been shot.
The protester who was shot at close range lay on the ground in a pool of blood as police cuffed his hands behind his back. He appeared to be conscious. Later, he tries to run from police but is quickly caught.
The video, taken by Cupid Producer, was circulated widely online after protesters blocked roads and public transit stations during the morning rush hour. It followed the death of a student protester on Friday who fell from a car park during a demonstration. Apple Daily reported that two teenagers were shot and injured on Monday.
In a statement, the police did not comment on the incident but said “radical protesters” had set up barricades in multiple locations, “causing serious obstruction to traffic”. Hong Kong broadcaster Cable TV reported that the demonstrator shot by police had undergone surgery and was in stable condition. The South China Morning Post reported that the shot demonstrator was still in a critical condition and was 21 years old.
The shooting has escalated already high tensions as skirmishes broke out throughout Hong Kong on Monday. The police fired tear gas and pepper spray on residents and demonstrators in multiple locations as protesters blocked roads, set fires, and hurled objects at police.
In Sai Wan Ho, a woman rushed at the police just after the shooting and was subdued as a crowd of residents shouted at the officers, calling them “murderers,” and threw plastic crates at them. The police fired pepper spray at the angry crowd.
“Hong Kong police gone nuts,” pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo wrote on Twitter alongside a video appearing to show a motorcycle policeman driving straight at protesters. “They seem to truly think they’re above the law. This has been almost like Tiananmen Square in slow motion.”
Others criticised how police handled the injured demonstrators, turning over one who was laying face down
At Polytechnic University in Hung Hom, police fired tear gas at protesters who were throwing petrol bombs from a footbridge. At the Chinese University in Shatin, police fired rubber bullets at demonstrators. In Wong Tai Sin, protesters dug up bricks and threw them onto a main road to block traffic.
Earlier, police said protesters had blocked the Cross Harbour Tunnel, linking Kowloon to Hung Hom, and had lit fires in Shatin and Tuen Mun, obstructing traffic. Several mass transit railway (MTR) lines were delayed or suspended as some protesters were seen smashing gates at MTR stations. Some public facilities have been closed early and at least two universities have cancelled classes for the day.
Hong Kong is facing its most serious political crisis in decades as anti-government protests over the last five months have shown few signs of stopping. Public anger reached a new level on Friday after the death of a 22-year old demonstrator who succumbed to injuries sustained earlier in the week when he fell one storey in a car park during a protest.
In the days after his death, demonstrators vandalised restaurants and stores seen by protesters as pro-government, hurled molotov cocktails at a police station, and clashed with police. In a statement in the early hours of Monday, police said 88 people had been arrested for unlawful assembly, possessing offensive weapons, criminal damage, and covering their faces while at an unlawful assembly.