A police officer fired a warning shot, and six officers in all pointed their guns at a group of people in Tsuen Wan on Sunday evening as tensions flared up again following a brief respite from earlier clashes. An RTHK reporter said he witnessed one of the uniformed officers firing a shot into the sky.
A group of protesters had attacked officers near the intersection of Chuen Lung Street and Sha Tsui Road with metal rods and bamboo poles. The officers were vastly outnumbered, and were retreating from the onslaught, when one of the policemem stumbled and fell. Several officers responded by pulling their guns out.
Video cameras captured two unmasked men dropping to their knees, pleading with the officers not to open fire. One of the officers kicked one man out of the way, as several colleagues advanced for at least five metres, with their weapons pointed forward the whole time. One of the officers appear to pick up a revolver from the ground at one point, before pointing it at the protesters. They then holstered their weapons and retreated.
Superintendent Leung Kwok-wing later told reporters that one of the officers only pulled his weapon because he felt that his life was under threat after he and his colleagues came under attack by a 'mob of rioters'. Leung added that five officers were injured in the incident and have been taken to hospital.
The incident came hours after the bulk of the anti-government protesters who had gathered in the district had already dispersed. Police had chased most of them away with the help of two anti-riot vehicles equipped with water cannon which were deployed for the first time. However, many protesters had scattered but remained in the area.
After the warning shot was fired, some people chased the officers into a building, shouting at them. One man asked "Why did you aim your gun at me? What law did I violate?"
Another asked "Why did you aim your guns at reporters?"
Some angry protesters also attacked a police van after the incident, prompting the vehicle to drive off.
Many angry residents subsequently confronted a large group of police, accusing them of 'creating chaos' in the area.
One man was unhappy at the police action, and accused officers of treating normal residents unnecessarily roughly.
“The police just come to our society… Although we just stand here and do nothing, they still want us to leave, and use violence to push us… so it is not acceptable”, he said.
Last updated: 2019-08-26 HKT 00:54