Hong Kong, Nov 11 (IANS) Hong Kong police reportedly fired live rounds at protesters on Monday, hitting at least one demonstrator, as the financial hub woke up to widespread traffic chaos marking the beginning of a citywide strike.
Shortly before 8 a.m., videos emerged of a traffic police officer firing three shots at close range at two black-clad men in the middle-class residential area of Sai Wan Ho, where a group of protesters were blocking traffic, reports Efe news.
In a video captured by Cupid News, the officer was first seen running across a road, apparently giving chase, before he stopped and started to walk back.
In a sudden movement, he turned around, took out his gun and grabbed a young man in white hoodie wearing a mask.
The young man struggled and the officer then appeared to fire a shot at close range into the stomach of an approaching black-clad masked man who dropped to the ground. In the footage, bystanders confronted the officer who then fired two more shots, with another person dropping to the ground.
The Hospital Authority said that the man who sustained a gunshot wound was in critical condition, according to the Hong Kong Free Press. Injuries to others were not clear.
The proposed citywide strike on Monday was called for by anti-government netizens after the death of a 22-year-old university student Alex Chow Tsz-lok on Friday.
He fell from height in a car park on November 3 and suffered serious brain injuries under circumstances that are still unclear.
Chaos continued to escalate in the former British colony early Monday morning as the strike brought traffic chaos to various parts of the city during rush hour.
Police were out in force early, with riot officers deployed to various districts. Following the shooting incident, an angry crowd gathered in Sai Wan Ho and shouted “murderers” at the police who cordoned off and guarded roads in the area.
At around 8.30 a.m., riot police reportedly entered the campus of Polytechnic University and fired teargas at protesters. Teargas was also reportedly fired near the campus of the University of Hong Kong on Hong Kong Island and the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the New Territories.
Classes were suspended at at least two universities — Shue Yan University and Polytechnic University.
At some metro stations, activists jammed trains and prevented train doors from closing.
Many roads were blocked by makeshift barricades erected by black-clad men who came and went quickly. Various metro stations were closed while train services were delayed.