Police on Tuesday announced that they have launched a formal probe into how a young woman received a serious eye injury during a protest outside the Tsim Sha Tsui police station on Sunday, amid conflicting claims online over how she got hurt.
Among protesters, the woman has become a symbol of police brutality, with many alleging that the injury was caused by a bean bag round fired by a police officer defending the station.
New footage of the incident appears to back up these claims, showing what looks like a pellet-filled-bean bag lodged inside the woman’s goggles.
However, police senior superintendent Steve Li from the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau told a regular briefing that it is still unclear what caused her injuries.
He said a formal investigation has been initiated, and detectives had contacted the hospital to ask the woman to give a statement.
Social media has been abuzz with claims and counterclaims, with some people saying there’s no evidence to back up the allegation that police are to blame, and suggesting that it may be the protesters themselves who inflicted the injury.
Anti-extradition protesters have been using the woman’s injury to highlight what they say is unnecessary police violence.
Many people at protests over the last two days have donned bloody bandages over their own eyes, and often chant “an eye for an eye” to demand justice.
Meanwhile, Li also denied charges that officers had planted evidence in a man's bag during an arrest in Causeway Bay on Sunday.
Television footage showed an officer placing a stick into a handcuffed man’s backpack after he was arrested.
But Li said officers had only been putting the sticks back into his bag after they fell to the ground. He further accused the man of having attacked officers with them.