A Hong Kong police officer was seen shooting pepper balls at close range against protesters on Sunday as they were leaving the scene via Tai Koo MTR station. The police also shot a woman with an apparent bean ban round in Tsim Sha Tsui, causing rupture of her right eye.

Hong Kong has seen its tenth consecutive week of social unrest sparked by a controversial extradition law. Protesters defied police bans throughout Sunday, descending upon multiple districts, with scores of people arrested in police clearance operations.

See also: Video: Hong Kong police make bloody arrest, assisted by officers suspected to be undercover as protesters

As riot police pushed protesters back in Tai Koo at around 11pm, a group of officers chased after a group of activists who were going down an escalator.

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Posted by 現場 - 蘋果突發 on Sunday, 11 August 2019

A tactical unit officer ran forward and grabbed a protester before he began shooting at the crowd with a pepper ball gun at close range.

The officer then grabbed another protester and pushed him onto the ground. Other officers in riot gear were seen beating protesters using batons.

Icarus Wong of Civil Rights Observer said on an RTHK programme on Monday that the behaviour was akin to officers “venting their anger at live targets.”

“There were large numbers of officers and they could have subdued protesters with bare hands,” he said. “The scene was chaotic and the police action could have led to protesters falling down the escalator, causing a stampede.”

tai koo august 11 china extradition
Police in Tai Koo station. Photo: HKFP.

Eye injury

Earlier, at around 7:30pm on Sunday, a young woman outside Tsim Sha Tsui police station was appeared to have been shot by police with a bean bag round, causing her eye shield to crack.

She was hospitalised after emergency treatment on the scene. Ming Pao cited hospital sources as saying that her right eyeball was ruptured, and her right eyelid and maxilla were also broken. She received an emergency operation.

According to police rules, bean bag rounds should not be shot towards someone’s head – only at the body or limbs.

Protesters called for a rally at Hong Kong airport on Monday afternoon to condemn police behaviour.

Some protesters arrested in Tsim Sha Tsui were brought to the San Uk Ling Holding Centre near Lo Wu, close to the Chinese border.

Three lawyers – Simon Tso, Lai Ho-yeung and Andrew Lau – lodged a public complaint claiming that police deliberately denied them the right to see their clients.

bean bag round protester eye shield
A suspected bean bag round stuck in a protester’s eye shield. Photo: SocRec.

“The behaviour on the part of your officers led to the undesirable consequence of our clients being deprived their rights to legal representation and legal advice,” they said.

Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital.
Medical professionals protested at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital. Photo: Supplied.

On Monday, medical professionals protested at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital – some wore a right eye patch, in reference to the incident on Sunday. “Hong Kong police attempt to murder Hong Kong citizens,” a banner read.

Police injury

The police said an officer sustained burn injuries on the legs after being hit by a petrol bomb hurled by a protester. He was on duty inside Tsim Sha Tsui police station.

Ming Pao cited sources as saying that the officer suffered ten per cent second-degree burns on his left leg, and a three per cent first-degree burn on his right leg, but they did not pose a danger to life.

Police Commissioner Stephen Lo visited the injured officer at Princess Margaret Hospital and expressed anger and severe condemnation against the “reckless, violent and unlawful acts” of protesters.


Posted by 香港警察 Hong Kong Police on Sunday, 11 August 2019

The Hong Kong government issued a statement at 12:36am on Monday, condemning the protests.

“Violent protesters vandalised public property and blocked roads. They also besieged police stations, aimed laser beams and hurled bricks to attack police officers. Some violent protesters even hurled petrol bombs, injuring a police officer,” a spokesperson said.

“We are outraged by the violent protesters’ behaviours which showed a total disregard of the law, posing a serious threat to the safety of police officers and other members of the public. We severely condemn the acts.”

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.