A Hong Kong man who sustained a gunshot wound during the protests and unrest in 2019 has been convicted of three charges including attempting to snatch an officer’s gun.

Chow Pak-kwan, who was 21 at the time of the incident, appeared at District Court on Monday. Standing before judge Adriana Noelle Tse Ching, he was also found guilty of obstructing a police officer and attempted escape from legal custody.

Chow Pak-kwan, who sustained a gunshot wound during the protests in 2019, arrives at District Court on August 29, 2022. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

The second defendant in the case Woo Tsz-kin, who was charged with attempting to snatch an officer’s gun and obstructing a police officer, was also convicted of both charges.

They pleaded not guilty to all charges last year.

The case involved a violent protest on November 11, 2019, about five months into the protests which began that summer against a proposed amendment to the city’s extradition bill. During a face-off between demonstrators and police officers in Sai Wan Ho, Chow was shot by a traffic officer.

The District Court in Wan Chai. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

As court ended, people in the public gallery waved to the two defendants while they waved back.

The court will reconvene on October 10 for mitigation. Both defendants will be remanded in custody in the meantime.

‘Prepared for the worst’

Chow wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday night that he was prepared for the worst.

“Tomorrow is the day of the verdict. After almost three years, the incident will finally come to a close. I have hundreds of feelings welling up, I don’t know what I can say,” the post read.

“[I] hope for the best but am prepared for the worst,” he continued. “Thank you to everybody who has supported and cared for me during this time. I’ve troubled you all for so long. I hope everybody stays healthy and can do what they want to do. Add oil! I will stay strong too.”

Chow, wearing a white dress shirt and a black face mask, did not answer reporters’ questions as he walked into District Court.

Sai Wan Ho clashes

On the morning of November 11, 2019, protesters gathered in multiple districts to block traffic and disrupt the rush hour commute in an attempt to mobilise a city-wide strike. Protesters clashed with police in Sai Wan Ho, where demonstrators had set up road blocks. A video showed a police officer, who was subduing a protester, shooting a man – Chow – at close range dressed head to toe in black.

Another man then appeared to try and grab the officer’s gun, a clip showed, after which the officer fired two more shots.

Chow was rushed to hospital in critical condition, and local media reported that his kidney and half of his liver were removed.

A protest in Sai Wan Ho on November 11, 2019, in which a traffic cop fired live rounds. Screenshot: Cupid Producer.

The officer was earlier granted anonymity by the court, and was known only as “officer A.”

During the trial in May, Senior Counsel Lawrence Lok, representing Chow, argued that “officer A” – a traffic policeman – had never taken part in operations that involved the subduing of protesters before the incident, and looked “a bit panic-stricken” in a clip of him opening fire, local court reporting outlet The Witness said.

Lok said the court should consider whether the officer may have been “oversensitive” due to his lack of experience.

Around 10,250 people have been arrested in connection with the 2019 protests, around 40 per cent of whom were secondary school or university students.

The protests tapered off in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the passing of Beijing’s national security law.

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Hillary Leung

Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.