Hong Kong Police Shot a Protester at Point-Blank Range, Here’s What Happened | Visual Investigations


This is the moment a Hong Kong
police officer shot an antigovernment protester. [gunshot] It marks a major escalation: The first time an officer
fired a live round at a demonstrator since protests began
almost four months ago. The scene was chaotic and captured on camera
from various angles. We analyzed the footage to
paint a comprehensive picture of what exactly happened. Let’s take a closer look:
It’s China’s National Day. Hong Kong is engulfed
in protests. In the
Tsuen Wan neighborhood, a group
of 15 protesters approach officers
in riot gear. They start chasing
and attacking one of the officers with
umbrellas and what appear to be metal rods. The officer falls to the ground and protesters
continue to beat him. We see one man
swinging a hammer, and another person is
holding a wrench. Police deploy tear gas. From this angle, we see an officer
running up to the chaos with his revolver
already drawn. A shot rings out. [gunshot] Here is the scene
from another angle. We see the protester
who’s about to get shot. He’s carrying a blue shield. The officer shoots
him just as he’s swinging a metal rod at him. He stumbles and falls over
the officer on the ground. The group scatters. One protester attempts
to help the victim. He is tackled to the
ground by another officer. A person dressed in black,
who appears to be a protester, throws a Molotov cocktail
at the officers from afar and then flees. We see at least
two officers have their guns drawn. Another one holds
a pepper-spray can threatening those nearby. Only now does the officer
who shot the protester put his gun away. Note that he also carries
nonlethal weapons. He’s holding a shotgun,
which is likely loaded with rubber bullets, and has pepper spray
in his holster. The protester who was
shot remains on the ground, seemingly conscious. We don’t see any
of the officers provide first aid
at this point. According to U.N.
basic principles, officers should
only use firearms under imminent threat
of death or serious injury, and they need to give a
clear warning of their intent to use a gun. The officer in
the video does not appear to warn the protesters
that he is going to shoot. Police said that
one protester had tried to stab the
officer on the ground with a sharp object and that
police had warned protesters to stop. They defended their officer’s
decision to use live fire. Police said that the
18-year-old protester was shot near
his left shoulder and was taken to the hospital. The incident marks a clear
escalation in police response to the protests and
is sure to fuel more unrest among the people of Hong Kong.

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