Hong Kong protesters gathered and blocked roads in several districts on Wednesday night in response to the shooting of a student with a live round by a police officer.
Tsang Chi-kin, an 18-year-old form five student, was shot in Tsuen Wan as a group of protesters clashed with officers on Tuesday afternoon. The bullet pierced his left lung—three centimetres from his heart—and he was in stable condition after surgery.
On Wednesday night, residents first gathered at playgrounds and shopping malls in Tsuen Wan, Wong Tai Sin and Sha Tin to express support for Tsang.
In Tsuen Wan, some protesters blocked parts of Sha Tsui Road and started a fire outside the New Territories South Regional Police Headquarters. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets in response.
Protesters then vandalised ATM machines at a Bank of China branch, as well as a mahjong house whose management was accused of having links to triads. Gangs have clashed with protesters on a number of occasions since a bloody mob attack in Yuen Long on July 21.
In Wong Tai Sin, a group of protesters had gathered at the centre’s shopping mall. They surrounded three restaurants operated by Maxim’s, as well as Yoshinoya—two companies accused by protesters of being pro-China.
Demonstrators then blocked Lung Cheung Road, the main road in the area, for around two hours.
In the early hours of Thursday, an elderly man—who was reportedly drunk—brandished a knife as he quarrelled with protesters. He was beaten up by protesters and tended to by first-aiders on the scene. HK01 reported that he was a nearby hawker.
In Causeway Bay, a group of protesters walked onto Hennessy Road and Percival Street in a spontaneous march.
Meanwhile, in Tuen Mun, protesters congregated at the Trend Plaza before entering a standoff with police near Tuen Mun MTR station. A nearby Starbucks branch, also operated by Maxim’s, was also trashed at V City mall.
Protesters also started a fire to block the road. They then damaged a customer service centre at the Town Centre MTR Light Rail station before being dispersed by riot police.
The MTR Corporation (MTRC) has fallen afoul of demonstrators who accused the rail operator of buckling to Chinese pressure by closing stations and services ahead of planned public assemblies. On Tuesday, more than 40 stations were closed in anticipation of the citywide unrest.
At Tai Wai’s MTR station on Wednesday, protesters damaged facilities before being scattered by riot police. Angry residents shouted and hurled objects at the police as officers fired two sponge grenade rounds.
The MTRC closed Hang Hau, Po Lam and Tai Wai stations at around 11:30pm, followed by Che Kung Temple and City One stations shortly after midnight.
The government condemned the protesters’ acts as violent, saying that they “seriously undermined public order and posed a threat to the personal safety of police officers and members of the public.”
“The Police will continue to take resolute enforcement action with a view to restoring public order,” a spokesperson said.
In a statement, the European Union said that restraint, de-escalation and dialogue were the only ways forward. It said peaceful demonstrations should be allowed, adding that any violence would be unacceptable and action by law enforcement authorities must remain strictly proportionate.
“There is a clear need for efforts to rebuild trust between the government and the population. The dialogue process recently initiated by the authorities is a welcome first step in this regard,” it said.
Hong Kong Free Press relies on direct reader support. Help safeguard independent journalism and press freedom as we invest more in freelancers, overtime, safety gear & insurance during this summer’s protests. 10 ways to support us.
- Policy Address 2020: Hong Kong gov’t to introduce new bill setting out legal consequences for oath-breaching
- Policy Address 2020: Hong Kong education to instil Chinese belonging and identity; quality of teachers to be ‘enhanced’
- Policy Address 2020: Democrats slam Carrie Lam as prioritising development of China over Hong Kong