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.