A 15-year-old boy was left in critical condition after being struck in the head during clashes in Tin Shui Wai on Wednesday night.
At around 10pm, the boy was outside Kingswood Richly Plaza when he was hit by a suspected tear gas canister. He underwent brain surgery at Tuen Mun Hospital for four hours and has remained in intensive care since.
Separately, a 70-year-old working for a cleaning subcontractor was also left in critical condition after he was hit in the head in Sheung Shui.
Footage of the incident appeared to show protesters engaged in a conflict with an opposing group, which escalated into both sides throwing bricks at each other.
The government said the man was “suspected to be hit in his head by hard objects hurled by mask rioters during his lunch break.”
A government spokesperson said it was outraged by the malicious acts of rioters, adding they had conducted “extremely dangerous and violent acts” and wantonly assaulted members of the public.
As of Thursday morning, the Hospital Authority reported that a total of 67 people were hospitalised with 2 people in critical condition, 29 in stable condition and one still being assessed as a result of the unrest the day before.
Multiple districts reported clashes on Wednesday night, including Mong Kok, Prince Edward, Kwai Chung, Hung Hom, Sha Tin, Tai Po and Tin Shui Wai. Protesters also set fire to toll booths at the Cross Harbour Tunnel and blocked tunnel traffic.
Meanwhile, a resident at Chuk Lam Court in Sha Tin said that, at around 9:40pm, police fired a tear gas canister into his fifth-floor apartment, breaking the window. At the time, riot police were dispersing crowds gathered at the podium of nearby shopping malls.
The homeowner told HK01 that he did not provoke the police and that his entire family had to seek refuge in the building’s lobby since the flat was filled with tear gas.
Clashes at universities
Following the clashes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) on Tuesday, many of the city’s university campuses have become sites of protest.
Riot police tried to clear the barricades near Baptist University at around 2am but were met by resistance by protesters. Police fired tear gas while protesters threw petrol bombs. The barricades were later restored after police retreated.
On Thursday morning, officers fired rounds of tear gas in Tsim Sha Tsui near Polytechnic University in response to claims that protesters shot an arrow at a group of patrol officers. Police said six arrows had been seized at the scene, though no officers were hurt.
“The police strongly condemn all despicable acts calculated to jeopardise public safety. Such acts constitute ‘assaulting police officer’ and even ‘wounding with intent,’ which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years and life imprisonment respectively,” the force said in a statement.
Hong Kong has seen four consecutive days of unrest originally in response to a citywide attempt to mobilise a mass strike on Monday. The 24-week-long protest movement was triggered by a now-withdrawn extradition bill which would have enabled fugitive transfers to mainland China – a jurisdiction with a poor human rights record – though it has since evolved into wider calls for democratic reform and police accountability.
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