• Press Release

Shooting of Protester in Hong Kong Must Be Investigated Amid Alarming Escalation of Police Use of Force

October 1, 2019

HONG KONG - SEPTEMBER 29: Pro-democracy demonstrators run for cover as police officer shoot rubber bullets and tear gas at them as they protest in defiance of the upcoming China's national day, in the Wan Chai area of Hong Kong, on Sept. 29, 2019. Despite Chief Executive Carrie Lams bowing to the demonstrators key demand withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, pro-democracy demonstrators are now calling for Lam to immediately meet the rest of their demands. This includes an independent inquiry into polices use of force, amnesty for those arrested, a halt on the use of the word Riot when describing the rallies, and lastly, calls for universal suffrage for the people of Hong Kong. Protesters launch several protests in different areas of Hong Kong, causing cause to grip the city, leading up to Chinas National Day this week. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
In response to the shooting of a protester by police in Hong Kong during demonstrations marking China’s National Day, leaving him in a critical condition in hospital, the Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, Man-Kei Tam, said:

“The shooting of a protester marks an alarming development in the Hong Kong police’s response to protests. The Hong Kong authorities must launch a prompt and effective investigation into the sequence of events that left a teenager fighting for his life in hospital. Police should only use lethal force in response to an imminent threat of death or serious injury and only as a last resort.

“We are urging the Hong Kong authorities to urgently review their approach in policing the protests in order to de-escalate the situation and prevent more lives being put at risk.”

Amnesty International analyzed videos of the shooting and pinpointed the location as Hau Tei Square in Hong Kong’s Tsuen Wan area. In a short video statement, the Hong Kong Police Force defended the shooting by stating that the officer felt his life was under threat:

“As an officer felt his life was under serious threat, he fired a round at the assailant to save his own life and his colleagues’ lives.”

Amnesty has repeatedly called for an independent and effective investigation into the police use of force over the course of the last few months of the Extradition Bill protests, including alleged torture and other ill-treatment in detention. Failure to address previous excessive use of force contributed to the current escalation in violence. Under UN guidelines, firearms may only be used to protect against an imminent threat to life or of serious injury.

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