A 31-year-old policewoman who opened fire on a knife-wielding man in the Sham Shui Po MTR station on Wednesday was praised by senior officers in the police force.

Yuen Ka-wing became the first policewoman to open fire while on duty in Hong Kong as the local police force only allowed female officers to carry a gun on duty since 1995, Sing Tao Daily reported.

Yuen opened fire at a man who attempted to attack her and her colleague with a box cutter on Wednesday morning in Sham Shui Po MTR station. Despite repeated verbal warnings, Yuen believed her life was under threat so she shot the man in the left side of his abdomen.

The suspect, a 55-year-old man, is in a critical condition at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

Yuen joined the police force six years ago and was said to be a calm, independent and hardworking officer with an outstanding record. She has been praised by her supervisors and colleagues for her dedication to work.

Yuen was stationed at Hung Hom Police Station before she transferred to the police tactical unit at West Kowloon Regional Police Headquarters in February. Director of the operation Chris Tang Ping-keung, who is tipped to be the next police chief, visited Yuen and her colleague on Thursday at the Police Tactical Unit Kowloon West Operational Base in Shek Kip Mei to praise their professional performance during the incident.

Tang took a picture with Yuen and her teammates and praised her with a thumbs up.

The police force’s senior management wanted to show their support to the officers involved as they endured tremendous pressure after the incident and to boost their morale.

The shooting stirred up a heated discussion in society about whether it was appropriate for an officer to discharge a firearm inside a packed MTR station.

The Police Force issued a statement on its Facebook page saying that an initial investigation had cleared Yuen of any breach of guidelines, adding that she acted in accordance with the guidelines and circumstances.

The officer made the correct decision to prevent serious bodily harm and had stopped a violent crime, the statement read.

Read: Hong Kong police shoot man wielding knife