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Hong Kong Police say shooting an 18-year-old student protester in the chest was 'reasonable and lawful' as he recovers in hospital

Bill Bostock , Business Insider US
 Oct 02, 2019, 02:25 PM
A still from a video of a Hong Kong Police officer just before he shot Tsang Chi-kin, 18, in the chest on Tuesday.
  • Hong Kong Police said Wednesday that shooting an 18-year-old protester in the chest on Tuesday was "reasonable and lawful."
  • Tsang Chi-kin was taken to hospital in a critical condition after protesters cornered police officers in Hong Kong's Tseun Wan district.
  • Police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung said the officer acted in self-defense against as his life was "seriously endangered."
  • Tsang is in a stable condition at Queen Elizabeth Hospital after emergency surgery, the South China Morning Post Post reported Wednesday.
  • Tsang's classmates boycotted school and staged a sit-in vigil at Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Hong Kong's police force said that shooting an 18-year-old student demonstrator in the chest was "reasonable and lawful," after a violent confrontation with protesters.

Tsang Chi-kin, 18, was shot in the left lung and taken to hospital in a critical condition after protesters cornered two police officers in Hong Kong's Tseun Wan district.

Hong Kong police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung said Tuesday night the officer was acting in self-defense against.

"The police officers had given warnings but to no avail. The police officers' lives were seriously endangered and were forced to use a firearm to stop the violent attacks," he said at a press conference. "The approach was reasonable and lawful."

In footage of the incident posted to social media, Tsang is seen striking the officer with a pole just before the officer fires.

The video then shows Tsang on the ground calling out: "My chest is in pain, take me to the hospital!

The South China Morning Post reported Tsang was taken to Princess Margaret Hospital, and then transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for surgery.

The paper also reported that Tsang was in stable condition as of Wednesday, and cited medical sources saying "there is a good chance he will survive."

The incident happened on a symbolic day in China.

Tuesday marked the 70th anniversary of China's communist party, with Beijing holding a grandiose military parade to mark the occasion in Tiananmen Square.

Roughly 2,000km away, the city of Hong Kong experienced a level of violence not seen before in the 17 weeks of protest against Chinese rule.

Protesters dubbed Tuesday the "day of grief." It saw bricks, acid, and petrol bombs hurled at police, who themselves used tear gas, rubber bullets, and beanbag rounds, Hong Kong media said.

Chinese state news outlet Xinhua wrote Wednesday the officer's actions were "totally legal, legitimate and appropriate," and decried the "black terror" of protesters in the city.

66 people were severly injured on Tuesday, Hong Kong's hospital authority told The Associated Press.

On Wednesday, classmates of Tsang at his school, the Tseun Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College, boycotted classes and staged a vigil outside.

Commissioner Lo said late Tuesday that officers had arrested Tsang, but did not say if they had laid charges against him.

The New York Times reported that Tsang would not be punished by his high school for his part in Tuesday's protest.

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