HONG KONG (AP) — A Hong Kong anti-government protester was shot by police yesterday in a dramatic scene caught on video as demonstrators blocked train lines and roads in a day of spiralling violence fuelled by demands for democratic reforms.
Elsewhere, a man was set on fire following an apparent dispute over national identity, which has been wracked by five months of protests. The man was in critical condition in a city hospital.
The violence is likely to further inflame passions in Hong Kong after a student who fell during an earlier protest succumbed to his injuries last Friday and police arrested six pro-democracy lawmakers over the weekend.
Yesterday’s video shows a police officer shooing away a group of protesters at an intersection, then drawing his gun on a masked protester in a white hooded sweatshirt who approaches him.
As the two struggle, another protester in black approaches, and the officer points his gun at the second one. He then fires at the stomach area of the second protester, who falls to the ground. The officer appeared to fire again as a third protester in black joined the tussle.
The protester in white manages to flee, bounding up a nearby stairway, and the officer and a colleague pin the two in black to the ground.
Police said that only one protester was hit and that he was undergoing surgery. A spokeswoman for the Hong Kong hospital authority said the person shot was in critical condition but gave no further details.
The incident marked the second time a protester has been shot since the demonstrations began in early June, although police have repeatedly drawn their firearms to ward off attacks.
Over 3,300 people have been arrested in the protests.
Few details were available about the burning incident in the Ma On Shan neighbourhood.
Video posted online shows the victim arguing with a group of young people before someone douses him with a liquid and strikes a lighter.
Police fired tear gas and deployed a water cannon in various parts of the city yesterday and charged onto the campus of Chinese University, where students were protesting.
Video posted online also showed a policeman on a motorcycle riding through a group of protesters in an apparent attempt to disperse them.
Rail service was partly suspended because of fires and obstacles on the tracks.
Large parts of the downtown business district were closed to traffic as protesters surrounded by onlookers engaged in a standoff with police.
The video of yesterday’s shooting was posted on Facebook by Cupid Producer, an outlet that started last year and appears to post mostly live videos related to local news.
The shooting occurred in a crosswalk at a large intersection strewn with debris that had backed-up traffic in Sai Wan Ho, a neighbourhood on the eastern part of Hong Kong Island.