Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 12 December 2019

The moment a Hong Kong police officer shot a protester live-streamed on Facebook

Police denied online rumours they had been authorised to use their firearms “at will”

The moment a Hong Kong police officer shot and wounded a protester on Monday was streamed live on Facebook, sparking outrage as the Chinese-ruled territory spiralled into rare daytime violence in the 24th straight week of unrest.

Hospital officials said the man had undergone surgery was in critical condition.

The South China Morning Post reported that the police bullet was removed during surgery but it had damaged his liver and right kidney.

The video, which was shared widely online, showed an officer pulling out his gun before tackling a protester around the neck. Another protester approaches and the officer aimed the gun at the victim, dressed in black with a bandana around his face.

The man was shot in the chest as he appeared to try and push the gun away. He fell to the ground bleeding before being arrested by another police officer.

Other videos showed a man lying in a pool of blood with his eyes wide open.

Police also threw a woman to the ground and used pepper-spray on her after plastic crates were thrown at officers.

Protests have occurred almost daily, sometimes with little or no notice, disrupting business and piling pressure on the government.

However, it was rare for tear gas to be fired during working hours in the centre of the city as the violence usually begins after dusk.

Police said they warned the demonstrators to "stop their illegal acts immediately" after protesters set up barricades at several locations across the city. They did not comment immediately on the shooting.

They, however, dismissed rumours circulating online that police officers had been ordered to use their firearms “at will” as “totally false and malicious” and said they were committed to upholding “strict guidelines and orders regarding the use of force".

Police have shot and wounded an 18-year-old protester and a 14-year-old since they began using live rounds as warning shots in August.

Anson Yip, 36, a Sai Wan Ho resident, said protesters were dumping rubbish on the streets to create a roadblock when police showed up.

He said police "didn't fight but ran and directly shot".

"They [the protesters] are against the government, that's why the police just shot them," he said.

A 24-year-old only identified as Wing, one of several office workers gathered at the scene after the shooting, said: "When I arrived the road was blocked and people were yelling at the police, calling them murderers."

Police later fired tear gas in the same area where the protester was shot.

Protesters and residents set up an improvised barricade around the bloodstains next to a pedestrian crossing after a forensics team left the scene.

People run as riot police fire tear gas in central Hong Kong, China. Reuters
People run as riot police fire tear gas in central Hong Kong, China. Reuters

Protesters are angry about what they see as police brutality and meddling by Beijing that threatens the former British colony's freedoms, guaranteed by the "one country, two systems" formula put in place when the territory returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

China denies interfering and has blamed western countries for stirring up trouble.

Police said they were also investigating reports of a man set on fire on Monday in the north-east area of Ma On Shan.

Videos of the man being doused with a flammable liquid during an argument and set alight were circulated on social media. The circumstances that led up to the attack and the man’s condition were unknown.

A look into what started the Hong Kong protests

Updated: November 12, 2019 12:35 PM

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