Hong Kong police shot and critically injured a man who they said threatened officers with a knife during a stop-and-search operation in a busy subway station on Wednesday.

It is rare for police to shoot suspects in Hong Kong, where it is illegal for the public to carry firearms.

Photo: Apple Daily.

Officers intercepted a “suspicious” man in Sham Shui Po station but he then pulled a six-inch (15-centimetre) knife from his backpack, divisional commander Chow Ngai-kong told reporters.

After giving him a warning, a policewoman shot him and he was sent to hospital with a stomach injury.

Photo: Apple Daily.

The 55-year-old knifeman, who has been arrested, is in a critical condition.

Asked by reporters why police had fired at the man during rush hour in a crowded station, Chow said their lives had been under threat.

Photo: Apple Daily.

“The male was using a life-threatening sharp-edged weapon to try to attack officers at the scene,” Chow said.

Photo: Apple Daily.

“She has considered whether she has the opportunity to hit the target before she actually opened fire,” he added.

Photo: Apple Daily.

The man was a Hong Kong identity card holder, Chow said, giving no further detail on the suspect.

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