Asia

Protesters tried to steal officer’s gun: Hong Kong police on latest shooting

HONG KONG: Hong Kong police defended their actions on Tuesday (Nov 12), a day after an officer shot a protester at close range in the abdomen.

Speaking at a press conference, police said the officer had been confronted by a group of protesters who attempted to steal his gun.

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READ: Student protesters dig in on university campus, chaos erupts around Hong Kong

In photos: Hong Kong university campuses burn as student protesters battle police

"As we gathered the statement from the man who was injured (by gun shot), we found out that our colleague did not only face threat from one person, instead it was a group of people with organised plan attempting to steal the gun," said senior superintendent of organised crime and triad bureau Li Kwai-wah.

"In a situation like this, we believe our police is reacting according to the guideline, to protect themselves as well as the people around them."

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Hong Kong has been embroiled in months of anti-government protests over police brutality and meddling by Beijing in the freedoms guaranteed under the "one country, two systems" formula put in place when the territory returned to China in 1997.

READ: China says firmly supports Hong Kong police after US criticises shooting of protester

What started as mostly peaceful rallies have turned increasingly violent, with Monday seeing some of the worst violence in the former British colony in decades after a protester was shot at close range and a man was set on fire.

Police first began using live rounds as warning shots in August and have shot an 18-year-old protester and a 14-year-old, both of whom survived.

"RANDOM, RECKLESS" VIOLENCE

Protests have showed no sign of abating on Tuesday as clashes at university campuses continued into the night with barricades set ablaze at and tear gas whizzing overhead.

READ: Hong Kong protesters, students continue to clash with police as night falls

Police condemned the "random" and "reckless" violence at the press conference.

"Over the past two days, our society has been pushed to the brink of a total breakdown as rioters went on a rampage in residential neighbourhoods and university campuses,” said senior superintendent of police public relations Kong Wing-cheung.

“As many as 50 locations were damaged or obstructed by rioters. Over 160 sets of traffic lights were battered and are still under repairs.”

Kong accused protesters of committing “insane” acts such as throwing trash bicycles and large objects on empty train tracks, hanging trash on overhead power lines, disrupting train services. Protesters had also put needles and sharp objects on roads to cause punctures on car and bus tyres.

“What's worse, mass mobs (have wreaked) havoc in different universities. In the most alarming incident, rioters threw chairs and traffic cones from a footbridge onto the moving vehicles underneath, near the University of Hong Kong," said KRead More – Source

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