Protester shot, radicals set man on fire as mob fury escalates in HK

2019-11-12 03:29:54 GMT2019-11-12 11:29:54(Beijing Time) Sina English
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (center) speaks at a press conference yesterday. She condemned violent protesters who are relentlessly destroying Hong Kong society and called for people to stay calm.  Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (center) speaks at a press conference yesterday. She condemned violent protesters who are relentlessly destroying Hong Kong society and called for people to stay calm.

A POLICE officer shot a masked protester who tried to grab the officer’s gun in an incident shown live on Facebook and a man was set on fire yesterday during one of the most violent days of clashes in Hong Kong since unrest erupted more than five months ago.

Protesters, who had already begun a citywide day of action aimed at paralyzing the international financial hub, rampaged through train stations, barricaded streets and vandalized shops throughout the day.

The footage of the shooting — broadcast live to Facebook by a bystander — showed a police officer drawing a pistol as he tried to detain a masked person at a junction that had been blocked by protesters.

Another masked protester then approached the officer and tried to snatch his pistol. He was shot, quickly falling to the ground.

Authorities said his injuries are not life-threatening.

Kwok Pak-chung, regional commander of Hong Kong Island, said the move of opening fire was made to “protect personal and other residents’ safety” as the protester tried to grab the police officer’s gun during the confrontation.

A masked assailant also doused a man with a flammable liquid and set him ablaze during an argument, with the horrifying scene captured on mobile phones and also posted online.

Three videos were posted on messaging channels used by protesters showing a man in a green T-shirt arguing with people on a footbridge.

A masked man dressed in black then throws a liquid over the man and sets him ablaze as crowds scatter and the victim frantically tries to remove his T-shirt.

“In the most shocking incident, some rioters poured flammable liquid onto a person and set him on fire,” police spokesman John Tse told reporters at a press conference as the social media videos of the attack were played on a screen.

“The man has been admitted to hospital and is in critical condition.”

The incident took place in the northern area of Ma On Shan, around 20 kilometers from the central business district, he said.

Tse said shortly before the attack, masked protesters had trashed the nearby Ma On Shan train station and investigators believe the man “chased the rioters.”

“Afterwards he was beaten up and set on fire,” Tse said.

A hospital authority spokeswoman said a man with burns had been admitted to Prince of Wales Hospital, the closest facility to Ma On Shan.

“Continuing this rampage is a lose-lose situation for Hong Kong,” Tse said.

Hong Kong has endured 24 straight weeks of increasingly violent rallies.

Tensions in Hong Kong were already high following the death on Friday of a 22-year-old student who succumbed to injuries sustained from a fall in the vicinity of a police clearance operation a week earlier.

After a weekend of clashes and huge vigils, yesterday’s chaos began with small groups of masked protesters disrupting subway stations and roads during the rush hour commute.

But as footage of the shooting went viral, the protests snowballed.

Tear gas and rubber bullets were fired in multiple districts. Police also used water canons to disperse protesters.

(Agencies)

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