Thousands of Hong Kong people continued their protests on Wednesday night to show their anger at the shooting of an 18-year-old schoolboy by a police officer the day before.
People took to the streets, gathered in shopping malls or boycotted classes in at least eight districts across the city to voice their outrage over the first shooting of a young protester since the fourth-month-long protest movement started.
Later in the evening, some radical protesters blocked roads, started fires and vandalized shops which were mainland-China related.
In Tsuen Wan, protesters filled the Sha Tsui Road Playground and chanted slogans to support the injured student. Some took over shopping malls, like Times Square in Causeway Bay and New Town Plaza in Shatin.
Hennessy Road in Causeway Bay, Lung Cheung Road in Wong Tin Sin as well as Castle Peak Road in Tsuen Wan were blocked by barricades.
In Tsuen Wan, a China Mobile shop, a branch of Bank of China and a mahjong parlor, thought to be managed by a triad organization, were vandalized. Police also fired tear gas after protesters threw petrol bombs at the New Territories South regional police headquarters in Tai Wo Hau.
Meanwhile, MTR stations were again targeted. The railway company closed at least five stations after facilities were damaged. A Wong Tai Sin MTR exit was flooded with water from a damaged fire hydrant.
In Tai Wai, police also fired tear gas and sponge rounds at the crowd outside MTR Station and arrested two people. People later gathered outside Tin Sum police station in the same district.
At about 1am on Thursday, police fired tear gas from inside the police station as dozens of people gathered outside, without a warning flag. A man was seen bleeding from the head and it was thought he was hit by a tear gas canister. Paramedics arrived and sent the injured man to a hospital.
Earlier on Wednesday, students and alumni of Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College staged a sit-in outside the school campus in a show of support for the shot student.
The 18-year-old secondary schoolboy had been part of a group of protesters attacking police officers on Tuesday in Tsuen Wan. A police officer fired a live round into his chest from close range. He was sent to a hospital in critical condition but was stable after surgery to remove the bullet.
The force have come under heavy criticism since the shooting, with some alleging the officer intended to kill the anti-government protester.
Police chief Stephen Lo Wai-chung defended the shooting as “legal and reasonable,” while Chris Tang Ping-keung, the deputy commissioner, insisted the officer had made the right decision as his own life, as well as those of his colleagues, were threatened.
During the police daily press conference on Wednesday, Tang, tipped as the next police chief, dismissed allegations that the force had ordered officers to “shoot to kill” when handling the protesters.
Tang said the officer had not intended to kill the protester and the shooting was in line with the force’s regulations as well as the global standards, which are to shoot at the center mass of a suspect’s body in an attempt to stop further violence when an officer feels his life has been threatened.
Senior superintendent of operations Wong Wai-shun said firing a live round was the most effective way to stop protesters’ “lethal acts” at that time. The protester was seen holding a rod and attacked a police officer.
A photo captured the student before the shooting. He was wearing a gas mask, holding a swimming board as a shield with his left hand and a white, thin rod-like object, which was not “a sharpened stick” the police chief had described earlier.
On Thursday, police charged the student with one count of rioting and two counts of assaulting a police officer. He was still in the intensive care unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Meanwhile Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, was interviewed by Sky News television and blamed protesters in Hong Kong for the violence that saw one of them shot by a police officer.
Liu claimed the protesters had challenged the bottom line of the one country two systems agreement, as well as the rule of law in the city.
He also commented on the shooting, asking people to separate peaceful demonstrations from violent rioters. He challenged host Dermot Murnaghan further, asking how the British police would have responded in the face of similar violence.
Murnaghan replied: “We wouldn’t shoot at protesters … most police in Britain were unarmed.” The ambassador then replied: “No, I don’t think so, I don’t think so.”