A Hong Kong police officer fired his service weapon on Sunday evening during a clash on Sha Tsui Road in Tsuen Wan.
Superintendent Leung Kwok-wing of the New Territories South Regional Crime Headquarters confirmed to reporters at the scene that one shot was fired, though he did not say where it was aimed at, according to Apple Daily.
Leung said that “rioters” were attacking police and causing destruction in the vicinity of Yi Pei Square, and a uniformed officer fired a shot because “his life was in danger.”
However, it was unclear if there were additional shots fired and which officer shot their gun, HK01 cited Leung as saying.
According to local media reports, three police officers were seen drawing their service revolvers, and one fired his gun after being surrounded by a group of protesters wielding bamboo and metal sticks.
During the melee, one older man was seen on his knees pleading with police not to shoot.
There have been no reports of injuries in relation to the firearm discharge.
Multiple local outlets are reporting that three #HongKong police officers drew their service pistols in Tsuen Wan.
A warning shot was fired into the air, according to RTHK, as two men on their knees pleaded with officers not to fire.
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) August 25, 2019
Protesters gathered in Sha Tsui Road and the vicinity of Yi Pei Square, as they believed the area to be triad-controlled territory and the base of the white-shirted people behind the knife attacks on August 5.
At around 8:30pm, the three officers who claimed to have been surrounded were taken away in ambulances.
Water cannon deployed
The incident came after violent clashes in the afternoon where police fired tear gas and crowd control weapons at protesters, culminating in the first-ever use of the force’s water cannon trucks.
From 7pm onwards, riot police – aided by two water cannon trucks and an armoured truck – pushed east on Yeung Uk Road in Tsuen Wan.
Around a dozen fleeing protesters were caught by charging riot police and arrested. Police ended their dispersal operation at the intersection of Yeung Uk Road and Tsing Tsuen Road, which saw the water cannon truck deployed against protesters for the first time.
Shortly before 8pm, protesters surrounded a mahjong parlour in Yi Pei Square in Tsuen Wan, which they accused of being a triad-operated business.
On August 5, a group of men wearing white attacked protesters and passersby in Tsuen Wan, slashing one man with a knife and causing serious wounds.
Protesters accused local triads as being the culprits behind the attack, and said the men concerned took refuge at Yi Pei Square after their attack.
On Sunday night, protesters proceeded to vandalise the mahjong parlour and smashed its glass window. They also reportedly vandalised a gaming arcade which they said was run by triads.
Uniformed officers appeared in force at Sha Tsui Road shortly after 8pm, as police-protester skirmishes continued into the night across Kowloon.
Police chief Stephen Lo visited injured officers at Prince Margaret Hospital later on Sunday. A press release said that Lo “expressed strong anger and condemnation against the reckless, violent and unlawful acts committed by the rioters. The Police Force will strive to investigate all violent acts that have caused serious and even life-threatening injuries.”
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