A teenage Hong Kong protester was shot by a police officer pointblank, and the scene was captured in a graphic video that’s gone viral. You can watch it later in this article, but be warned that it’s disturbing.
The video, which originated from the City University Student Union and soon spread throughout social media, shows unrest in the streets between officers in riot gear and protesters before one officer points a gun at a protester and fires. The protester crumbles to the ground. He is then shown lying on the ground with a wound.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Hong Kong protester was shot “during the worst day of violent unrest to hit Hong Kong in half a century.” The protest came on the 70th anniversary of China’s Communist regime taking power. The protester was identified by the Wall Street Journal as Tsang Chi-kin, 18, who is still in high school. He is accused of swinging a metal bar at the police officer, the newspaper reported.
The anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong have drawn thousands of people, according to The Associated Press. Here’s the video:
Here’s a zoomed in version.
Here’s what you need to know:
Police Defended the Shooting
Despite the graphic and vivid nature of the video, police in Hong Kong are defending the officer’s actions. The protester did not die from his wounds, and the police commissioner declared the shooting “legal and reasonable,” according to CNN, which added that it was the first time lethal force has been used since protests broke out four months ago in Hong Kong.
Police Commissioner Stephen Lo told the AP that the officer feared for his life. He told the wire service that the protesters were rioters who have injured police officers and caused property damage during a series of protests. “The officer was under attack, his life was threatened. … He made a very quick decision and shot the assailant. I believe it was his best judgment at the time,” Lo said to AP.
The protester’s shooting with a live round, however, was considered an escalation of violence. However, others have sharply criticized the shooting.
While China celebrated (BBC reported that 15,000 soldiers marched through the Chinese streets), the scenes in Hong Kong grew violent and more than 180 people were arrested, according to CNN. The New York Times reported that the protests were timed to coincide with and overshadow the Chinese celebrations.
BBC reported that the protester was shot by a live round, not a rubber bullet. According to BBC, there were other injuries during the protests with protesters hurling makeshift petrol bombs and police responding with tear gas.
Police told BBC the protester was actually shot “near his left shoulder,” although he can be heard in the video saying, “Send me to hospital. My chest is hurting, I need to go to hospital.”