Published: Mon, November 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Man set on fire during chaotic Hong Kong day

Man set on fire during chaotic Hong Kong day

Hong Kong police shot and wounded a protester who was in critical condition on Monday, hospital officials said, as the Chinese-ruled territory spiralled into rare working-hours violence in its 24th straight week of pro-democracy unrest. After the shooting, which was captured on video, the protester was taken to the intensive care unit at Eastern Hospital, where dozens of staff members staged a protest to condemn police violence, RTHK reports.

Clashes between protesters and police later erupted at eight locations, with rubber bullets and bean bag rounds fired at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and tear-gas fired outside the Louis Vuitton store in the Central district at lunchtime as thousands of office workers came out to protest the shooting. Over 260 people have been arrested, Hong Kong police said on the agency's Twitter account.

Police denounced the setting of fire of a man outside Ma On Shan Plaza in the New Territories, who was allegedly in opposition with protesters.

Rioters committed organized destructive acts, assaulted police officers and blocked traffic in various districts of Hong Kong, the statement said.

The protesters are angry about what they see as police brutality and meddling by Beijing in the city's freedoms.

The papers quoted a law enforcement source as saying that there was "no correlation", nor did the tougher tactics have anything to do with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam's surprise meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week and her visit to Beijing to meet a deputy premier in charge of Beijing's top taskforce on the city. In addition to the shooting itself, observers criticized the police for manhandling the injured man in a way that might have made his condition much worse. Police also threw a woman to the debris-littered street and pepper-sprayed her in the face as plastic crates were thrown at officers.

The incident is likely to strengthen calls for Carrie Lam to appoint an independent commission of inquiry to examine police actions against protesters since June.

Also on Monday, protesters disrupted the morning commute by blocking roads and crowding rail stations.

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Anti-government protesters protect themselves with umbrellas among tear gas during a demonstration near Central Government Complex in Hong Kong, China, September 15, 2019.

Protesters are reportedly expected to set up barricades on major roads while disrupting the operation of the railway.

"They didn't fight and the police ran and directly shot", Anson Yip, of Sai Wan Ho, said.

The panel said in a statement that the existing Hong Kong police complaints process lacked "the powers, capacity and independent investigative capability necessary to match the scale of events and the standards required of an global police watchdog operating in a society that values freedoms and rights".

Violence flared at several university campuses as news of the latest shooting spread, with witnesses reporting tense standoffs between students, protesters and police. "Our joint priority now as a city is to end the violence and to return Hong Kong to normal as soon as possible".

Police confirmed on Friday that a complaint of rape had been received.

On Sunday, police fired tear gas and protesters vandalized stores at shopping malls in anti-government demonstrations across Hong Kong.

Hardcore activists now show up at protests wearing gas masks and body armour and hurl petrol bombs at police lines.

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