The police in Hong Kong is under new scrutiny after a video surfaced online showing them shooting live rounds in clashes with protesters. The video, which was posted by Hong Kong-based media company Cupid Producer, appears to show a police officer shooting at a protester at point-blank range.
According to Cupid Producer, the video was live-streamed and it captures clashes between police and protesters in Sai Wan Ho, a busy street in the Northwestern shores of Hong Kong.
A police officer wearing a high visibility yellow vest is seen grappling with a protester in the main road. Another protester in black is then seen approaching the officer. The office reacts by pointing his gun to the protester and fires a single shot. The protester starts struggling with the officer.
The officer shoots another round and this time the bullet seems to hit the black-cladding protester in the stomach. The protester collapses on the ground and the police officer turns his gun on another protester approaching the scene of the incident. Other officers then join the scene and the two protesters are apprehended.
The shooting incident angered protesters in the city. In protest marches that happened later in the day, the protesters are seen shouting at police, calling them “murderers.” Reports on the ground also suggest that police started using pepper spray to disperse the crowds that had gathered around the scene of the shooting.
Protesters in Hong Kong have been battling police for months now. There have been reports of violent protests in many parts of the city. Local media is reporting that protesters have vandalized several train stations and set various trains on fire as well.
Hong Kong’s chief of police also noted that protesters had barricaded important busy roads across the city, causing major traffic snarl-ups. Police were called in to disperse the crowds. The police have also claimed that protesters have been vandalizing and looting shops causing a “breach of peace” in the process.
This is the third time police have been captured on camera using live ammunition against protesters. It’s also the 24th week since the protest erupted. The protests were triggered by an extradition bill that would see Hong Kong citizens extradited to China if they were wanted for crimes there.
But it has evolved ever since to a broader protest calling on far-reaching governance reforms and more autonomy from China. Police have been ramping up their efforts to crush the protest too but they seem to be growing larger by the day.
The fate of the man shot in the video is still unknown. If he’s still alive, he will likely face charges of assaulting police officers. The protests have had a massive impact on the local Hong Kong economy.
The tourism industry, which remains one of the most important sectors of the economy, has collapsed. Experts believe that the city-state is heading for a recession and if nothing changes, there could be a real economic and social crisis at hand.