A senior policeman has told an inquest into the death of Chow Tsz-lok that riot officers fired tear gas into a multi-storey car park in Tseung Kwan O around the time the student was discovered lying inside the building with serious head injuries.
Senior inspector Wong Ka-lun said his team of officers fired multiple rounds of tear gas at several dozen anti-government protesters on the upper floors of the car park at the Sheung Tak Estate in the early hours of November 4.
The first two rounds were fired at about 12.40am, Wong said, and then another three at 1.08am.
At 1.10am, the officers went into the car park to disperse the protesters who had been throwing objects, the policeman said.
Wong said his team moved up from the ground floor and while he had heard people running around higher up in the building, they didn’t encounter anyone until they found a group of firefighters and first aiders tending to Chow, 22, behind a row of cars on the second floor.
He said the firefighters told them they did not need any assistance and the police moved up to the third floor of the building before returning to nearby Tong Ming Street at around 1.25am.
However, the Coroner’s Officer, Timmy Yip, noted that Wong's claim to have entered the car park at 1.10am did not match time stamps on CCTV footage, which suggested the officers went in six minutes earlier. Yip conceded that the times of the CCTV footage might not be perfectly accurate, and Wong said he was only going by his own watch.
On Monday, Chow's father told the court that his son had sent him a message at around 12.45am, and was last seen online at about 1am.
Wong told the inquest that as far as he knew, his platoon was the only one under the Kowloon East Emergency Unit that had entered the car park, but he wasn’t sure whether any other group of officers had gone inside.
The lawyer representing Chow’s parents asked the court to give her about half an hour to cross-examine Wong on Wednesday.
She said Chow’s mother had questions of her own, adding that new information had just been provided by a member of the public.
Speculation has been rife that Chow fell from the third floor of the car park, either while trying to escape tear gas or as he was being chased by riot officers.
The court is expected to summon several more police officers as witnesses during the inquest which is to last more than three weeks.
Police fired tear gas into car park, inquest hears
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