Teen shot as violence erupts in Hong Kong
WARNING: Graphic images.
A teenager has been shot in the chest by police and further violence has erupted on the streets of Hong Kong in a major escalation of recent protests.
While live rounds have been fired before in the now months-long protests, they have been warning shots from police. Wednesday's injury is the first to result from police firing a live round in the vicinity of protester.
The single pistol shot fired by the officer as protesters swarmed toward him hit the 18-year-old on the left side of his chest, police spokeswoman Yolanda Yu said. She described the protesters as "rioters" and said the officer feared for his life.
It comes on the same day as China commemorates 70 years of Communist rule in the country with huge military parades in Beijing. Protesters in Hong Kong are calling it a "day of grief" rather than celebration.
HORRIFIC FOOTAGE SHOWS CLASHES
The South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's main broadsheet newspaper, reported that one male had been taken in a critical condition to Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung in the New Territories.
However, he was transferred to the larger Queen Elizabeth Hospital which has a dedicated chest surgery centre. A total of 15 people are said to be in hospital.
"An officer discharged his firearm after coming under attack and a protester was struck in the chest in Tsuen Wan district today," a police source told news agency AFP.
An unverified video posted by CNN and filmed by a local university media organisation called Campus TV appears to show a police officer fire a shot at close range at a protester apparently approaching him with a large pole.
The man then slumps to the ground.
This captures warning shots fired by police in Yau Ma Tei at 3:40pm, a police source confirmed.— Kinling Lo 盧建靈 (@kinlinglo) October 1, 2019
In another video by HKEJ, the police vehicle stopped on the road as protesters threw objects to attack it. Police then came out of the vehicle and got into scuffles with protesters. pic.twitter.com/8PqidBbdxv
There were other instances Tuesday when officers also drew their weapons, including two with bloodied faces who pointed pistols, as protesters and riot police fought fierce battles at multiple locations in the city on edge, with many determined to spoil the October 1 anniversary of Communist rule.
Riot police fired tear gas in at least six locations and used water cannons in the business district as protesters turned streets into battlefields
THEY ARE 'SQUEEZING OUR NECKS'
A security clampdown to thwart violence that would embarrass Chinese President Xi Jinping failed to deter the protests, including a massive march in the city center.
Organizers said at least 100,000 people marched along a broad thoroughfare in defiance of a police ban, chanting anti-China slogans and some carrying Chinese flags defaced with a black cross. Police didn't provide an estimate of the turnout.
"They are squeezing our necks so we don't breathe the air of freedom," said King Chan, a 57-year-old homemaker who came out to protest with her husband.
Many demonstrators tossed wads of fake bank notes usually used at funerals into the air.
"The leaders who won't listen to our voice, this is for them," said marcher Ray Luk.
Protesters in Hong Kong, a former British colony, are pushing back against China's increasingly direct rule in the autonomous region's affairs.
Under an agreement struck with the UK, Hong Kong and the neighbouring former Portuguese colony of Macau are governed under the "one country, two systems" theory where many of the regions freedoms were guaranteed to be maintained for 50 years after they were handed over in 1997.