Police arrested a 19-year-old man in Tai Po on Friday night after he allegedly fired a live round at officers intercepting him.

A suspected pistol was found at the scene, and officers seized an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and over 200 rounds of ammunition at a nearby flat.

tai po shooting rifle
An AR-15 rifle found at a Jade Plaza flat.

Clashes later broke out in the area after some onlookers were angered by the heavy police presence. Riot police fired tear gas at around 11pm and midnight, and used pepper spray multiple times.

Police said that officers tried to intercept the suspect outside Jade Plaza at around 9:21pm, when he took out a P80 pistol from his waist and fired a shot.

The man was quickly subdued and arrested, and no injuries were reported. One used shell casing was spotted on the ground.

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Police then conducted a raid of a Jade Plaza flat backed by a court warrant, and found the AR-15 rifle, 211 bullets for the rifle and 44 hollow-point pistol rounds.

Senior Superintendent Steve Li said the suspect was believed to be connected to recent cases involving illicit firearms, as the weapons found on Friday were of the same make as those seized in North Point earlier this month.

“The discovery of the firearms and ammunition matches our intelligence that some individuals are planning to use firearms to injure people – including police officers – at public assemblies,” Li said.

tai po shooting suspect
The suspect of the shooting case was arrested on the spot.

Li added that the suspect was arrested last December for possession of an illegal firearm and was kept in custody before being bailed in February. Police began investigations after he skipped bail on December 8.

Police added that officers also intercepted a woman alongside the suspect but she managed to escape.

Commissioner of Police Chris Tang showed up briefly at the crime scene at around midnight, as tensions heightened between riot police and bystanders.

police tai po jade plaza
Heavily armed police officers at Jade Plaza. Photo: Joshua Kwan/USP.

One person who claimed to be an eyewitness told Apple Daily that he saw police officers tampering with the gun, with online video clips showing onlookers agitated by the presence of armed officers.

Police fired tear gas at around 11pm after objects were thrown at officers from height.

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Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.