A Hong Kong protester has been shot by a police live round, with the incident streamed live on Facebook, as demonstrators disrupted the Monday morning commute.
Video of the incident showed a police officer grappling with a protester dressed in white at a zebra crossing. As other protesters approach, the officer pulls out his service-issue revolver and fires at the abdomen of a man dressed in black.
The police officer appears to fire more rounds in the video before he and a colleague pin down two protesters, including the one who was wounded.
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Police said only one of the protesters was hit, and that he was undergoing surgery. Hospital officials said he was in critical condition.
It is the third time a protester has been shot by the police since the demonstrations began in June with anger at an unpopular extradition bill and the perceived encroachment of Hong Kong’s freedoms by Beijing.
Tensions are already inflamed after a weekend in which six pro-democracy politicians were arrested on charges of obstructing the local assembly, relating to a raucous 11 May meeting over the extradition bill.
All were freed on bail, but the decision to arrest them now was seen as a sign of patience wearing thin among chief executive Carrie Lam and her Beijing-backed devolved administration.
On Friday, the city saw its first confirmed death directly related to the at-times violent street demonstrations, as a protester who fell during clashes with police last Monday finally succumbed to his injuries in hospital.
The morning protests this Monday saw thousands attempt to block major roads and MTR metro routes, at times throwing heavy objects onto the streets below.
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The rail operator was forced to suspend several lines, and public broadcaster RTHK reported that a fire had been started inside a train at Kwai Fong station.
The number of high-profile violent incidents has increased as Hong Kong prepares to conduct district elections on 24 November, with pro-Beijing parties expected to take a hit at the ballot box.
Opposition MPs have accused the government of deliberately trying to provoke violence in order to justify cancelling or postponing the elections.
In a news release regarding the Sai Wan Ho district shooting incident, the Hong Kong government said police had been responding to vandalism and disruptions to traffic.
“During police operations, one police officer has discharged his service revolver, one male was shot,” the release said, adding that officers also drew their guns in the Shatin and Tung Chung neighbourhoods.
The release denied what it called online rumours saying police had been ordered to “recklessly use their firearms”, calling the allegation “totally false and malicious”. “All police officers are required to justify their enforcement actions,” the statement said.