Dozens injured, two seriously, in Sunday's protests

August 12, 2019 14:41
Hennessy Road is covered in smoke from tear gas. After an authorized assembly at Victoria Park, protesters headed off to several areas including Wan Chai. Photo: HKEJ

Forty-five people received treatment in hospitals after suffering injuries during the latest round of anti-government protests on Sunday, according to the Hospital Authority (HA). 

The authority said, as of 11 am on Monday, two of the patients remained in a serious state while 23 were in stable condition. Meanwhile, 20 people were discharged after treatment of their wounds. 

Of the patients, who came in from various districts, the youngest was just eight years old.

According to reports, a woman was injured in her right eye during the Sunday clashes, after which she was sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

According to the HA, Queen Elizabeth Hospital received two patients with serious injuries. A female patient remains in serious condition, while the other person -- a male -- is now stable, it said.

As night fell on Sunday, a large number of protesters moved to Tsim Sha Tsui to continue their protest after they had been dispersed by police outside the Cheung Sa Wan Police Station and Yen Chow Street in Sham Shui Po with tear gas.

Protesters earlier went ahead with their march from Maple Street Playground, despite opposition from the police.

Several thousands gathered outside the Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station after they had occupied both southbound and northbound lanes of Nathan Road in the area earlier.

Police officers fired several rounds of tear gas while protesters built barricades using objects such as water barriers from construction sites nearby and trash bins.

Despite more rounds of tear gas, the protesters did not retreat. A standoff persisted, escalating the violence.

Police finally fired bean bag rounds at protesters. The action saw a woman getting hit in her right eye, after her eye shield was destroyed.

Pictures carried by the media showed the woman lying on the ground with blood oozing from her wound.

Reports from the scene suggest she may have hit by a projectile fired from within the police station, RTHK reported.

Some black-clad people threw several petrol bombs near the Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station. Later at night, police released a photo showing that a police officer had sustained burn injuries on legs after being hit by a petrol bomb hurled by a radical protestor.

Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung visited the injured officer in Princess Margaret Hospital, and said he was “saddened that an officer sustained serious injuries while on duty."

Lo, meanwhile, slammed the "reckless, violent and unlawful acts committed by radical protestors”, according to a post on the police’s Facebook page.

Police said they “will strive to investigate all violent acts that have caused serious and even life-threatening injuries.”

In other incidents on Sunday, protesters "flash-mobbed" to districts in the New Territories late in the night, continuing their protests to besiege police stations and occupy roads.

Riot police seemed to have fired tear-gas directly into Kwai Fong MTR station, as they rushed to confront some protesters. White smoke seemed to saturate the concourse of the station on the ground floor, even as there were only a few dozen protesters gathered inside.

On the eastern Hong Kong Island side, after an authorized assembly at Victoria Park was held for about two hours, protesters started to mobilize to several areas including Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Quarry Bay and Tai Koo.

At an exit of Tai Koo MTR Station,riot police with truncheons chased protesters into the station. Video footage from media showed riot police storming into the station, and some being subdued.

The footage also showed police near an exit firing what appeared to be pepper balls directly at protestors’ heads from just a few feet away, media report said.

People then swarmed their way down the escalator.

As midnight approached, there were clashes still going in in several districts in the New Territories. In Sha Tin, some protesters besieged the Sha Tin Police Station at around 11 pm, while in Tsuen Wan, clashes between two groups of people happened towards midnight.

The government condemned the violent protests in a press release issued sometime after midnight.

“We are outraged by the violent protesters' behavior which showed a total disregard of the law, posing a serious threat to the safety of police officers and other members of the public. We severely condemn the acts,” a spokesman said in the statement.

Due to the illegal protests on Sunday, “some public service facilities had to be closed early and emergency services and commercial activities were obstructed,” the statement said.

“There is no longer any defined period of time or fixed locations for these persistent and large-scale illegal and violent acts, depriving the right of ordinary people to carry on their daily lives,” it said.

The government urged the public to “say no to violence to help the community to restore order as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, it reiterated that the police “will enforce the law strictly and resolutely to bring illegal protesters to justice.”

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White smoke envelops the concourse of Kwai Fong MTR Station as police appear to fire tear gas. Photo: Now News
At an exit of Tai Koo MTR Station, riot police with truncheons chased protesters into the station. Photo: HKEJ