'I escaped, but feel I have abandoned others' - RTHK
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'I escaped, but feel I have abandoned others'

2019-11-18 HKT 19:28
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  • A teenager who escaped from the Polytechnic University campus on Monday says many of the protesters' attempts to get out were thwarted by police. Photo: AFP
    A teenager who escaped from the Polytechnic University campus on Monday says many of the protesters' attempts to get out were thwarted by police. Photo: AFP
Teen recalls escape from PolyU
A teenager who managed to evade police arrest at the Polytechnic University on Monday has told RTHK that the situation was getting desperate on the campus by dawn with supplies running out and people gripped by fear.

But the secondary school student says he now feels angry at himself for "abandoning others in hell" and wants to get back to the frontline of protests.

Keung jai (not his real name) said he and a classmate went to the university to join the protest there on Sunday. He said after relentless clashes overnight, things at the campus eventually became desperate.

"Before police stormed in at 5:30am, we had only light injuries, though most of us were hit by the water cannons. But there weren’t enough medical helpers and supplies to go around as time went on," he said.

"After the police raid, we lost "core A" [the area where the main barricades were] and there were more serious injuries. The first aiders who were there found the task overwhelming. By then, supplies were also running out. So was drinking water.”

Keung Jai said the fear of police returning to the campus again made them starting thinking of escape plans.

"We thought we would rush out as a group, and then whoever escaped could flee. But that plan didn't work as police forced us back into the campus," he said.

He said the attempts made him tired. "I did not not have a set of gear at that time as it was broken. During the group attempts of escape, I could hardly breathe or move due to the tear gas. So I [thought], I need to find other ways out."

"I walked around the PolyU campus, to see if there was a way out where fewer riot police were stationed."

As he and his friend scouted around and found a possible route, they put their plan into action. Three others also joined them.

"We started crawling towards an area where there was a rail line. Two police cars were parked nearby under a bridge. If they looked our way, we could have been caught."

Keung Jai said police officers in the cars saw them only after they had crawled to a safe distance. "They shouted at us to stop. But we ran for our lives. We headed towards the rail lines nearby, scaling a few metal fences on the way."

He said he thinks all five of them escaped, although in the mad dash he lost the others. But after the escape, he felt bad as police shut the area down, preventing any more escapes.

"I feel bad about this as there were a dozen people there and I couldn't bring them out along with me," said Keung Jai.

Talking to RTHK's Natale Ching about his feelings after he arrived at a safe place, he said he feels more anger than relief.

"I am very angry. Because I feel like I abandoned others in a hell. So, yeah, I am very angry now," he said. "I want to go out and protest more at the frontlines to protect others.”