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Sorrow, offers of support after student's death

2019-11-08 HKT 12:20
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  • Sorrow, offers of support after student's death
  • Messages expressing hope that the student would recover were still posted on the wall outside the intensive care unit. Photo: RTHK
    Messages expressing hope that the student would recover were still posted on the wall outside the intensive care unit. Photo: RTHK
There was a sombre silence outside Queen Elizabeth Hospital's intensive care unit on Friday morning, as students, university staff and the media gathered following news of the death of a 22-year-old found seriously injured near the scene of clashes between protesters and police.

Fellow students of Chow Tsz-lok had been visiting the ward daily since Sunday night's incident in Tseung Kwan O, praying and hoping against the worst.

Still visible were the scores of messages of hope posted on a temporary "Lennon wall" that sprung up outside ICU.

"Hong Kong people will never forget you. We will continue doing what you never got to finish," one read.

Another said "Hope your soul in heaven can punish those who injured you."

A hospital spokeswoman said Chow's death was certified at 8.09am and the case would be passed to the coroner. She said his body had already been moved from the intensive care unit and his family had left the ward.

Chow, who had suffered a catastrophic brain injury, was a computer science student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Representatives of the university's student union gathered at the hospital after learning of the death. A vice chairman of the union, Leung Min-hin, said they would do their best to help students who had been affected emotionally by Chow's death and he urged the university itself to also offer help.

HKUST issued a statement saying it was deeply saddened by Chow's death and it expressed its deepest sympathy to his family, adding that it would offer them all necessary support.

The university said the institution's president, Wei Shyy, had left a graduation ceremony early to visit Chow’s family at the hospital. Before leaving the event, an emotional Wei broke the news to those present.

"We just confirmed the tragic news that our student, Chow Tsz-lok, has passed away. We would like to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of him. Would you please rise," he said.

Meanwhile, lawmakers attending a meeting of Legco’s health services panel also observed a minute of silence for the student.

The move was requested by the Labour Party's Fernando Cheung and agreed by the panel's chairwoman, Ann Chiang from the pro-Beijing DAB party.

Many suspect Chow fell from one floor of a car park to another in Sheung Tak Estate shortly after police fired tear gas there on Sunday night, although this has not been confirmed.

Many of the icons of chat groups on the app Telegram – which is popular with Hong Kong's protesters – were switched to black on Friday as a mark of respect for the student.