Firefighters confirm reports of 'stampede' incident - RTHK
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Firefighters confirm reports of 'stampede' incident

2019-11-19 HKT 19:08
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  • Firefighters confirm reports of 'stampede' incident
Damon Pang reports
The Fire Services Department says officers witnessed a heap of people lying in the road in Yau Ma Tei on Monday night, as a man told RTHK he witnessed a "stampede", and police confirmed that some 30 people were taken to hospital.

The incident followed serious clashes between police and anti-government protesters along Nathan Road, with police firing tear gas and other weapons to counter the petrol bombs being thrown at them.

The force also confirmed that a flash grenade was used in the area.

A man, who called himself Ah Q, told RTHK that he saw protesters battling with police on one side of Nathan Road, when another group of officers suddenly appeared from the other side.

He said protesters then tried to retreat into the narrow Pitt Street, tripping and falling over each other in what he described as a stampede.

Ah Q said police ignored people screaming for help and nobody else was allowed to assist those who had been injured, with officers cordoning off the area. After 15 minutes, firefighters arrived to treat those hurt, he said.

"I heard somebody yelling his leg was broken. Somebody yelling 'I can't breathe, help me'. But I couldn't do anything, because I couldn't cross the police cordon."

Media outlets reported that the police had arrested around 70 people at Pitt Street.

However, senior superintendent Kong Wing-cheung said at a police press conference that officers at the scene did not report any stampede.

"I never heard of any stampede incident. But I understand around 30 people reported that they were injured and we arranged for them to go to hospital for medical treatment," Kong said.

He added that police were facing a large group of protesters at the time, and officers had to act very swiftly in their dispersal and arrest operations.

Later, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, police put out a statement saying there had been no stampede during the operation in Yau Ma Tei on Monday. The force said they had made this clarification to counter online rumours that there had been a stampede, resulting in mass injuries.

The force said thousands of rioters had hurled bricks and petrol bombs at police officers at that time, and the situation had been pressing. It said police conducted a dispersal operation, and a number of fleeing rioters fell down on Pitt Street near Yau Ma Tei MTR Exit.

Last updated: 2019-11-20 HKT 03:50