Student critical after falling from height during dispersal

November 05, 2019 13:43
The HKUST student was found lying unconscious and injured on the second floor of the car park of Sheung Tak Estate in Tseung Kwan O on Monday morning. Photo: i-Cable News video screenshot

A student of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), who fell from height during a police dispersal operation in Tseung Kwan O on Monday, remains in critical condition.

University president Prof. Wei Shyy has promised that the school will demand that the police give a full account of the incident.

Shyy, who assumed the post on Sept. 1 last year, also said the university will offer all the assistance it could give to the junior student, surnamed Chow, who had undergone two brain surgeries, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

In the early hours of Monday, police officers fired canisters of tear gas at a three-story car park of Sheung Tak Estate, a public housing estate near Tseung Kwan O MTR Station, to disperse anti-government protesters.

At around 1:10 a.m., Chow was found lying unconscious and injured on the second floor of the car park. Paramedics arrived at the scene about nine minutes later.

The student was then rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where doctors immediately performed a brain surgery on him.

After paying a visit to the hospital to offer his sympathies to Chow’s family on Monday, Shyy said the university is very concerned about the incident.

Police officers from the Kowloon East Regional Headquarters arrived at the hospital at around 1 p.m. to ask about the injured student's condition.

Chow was among the 30 people sent to hospitals after protesters clashed with the police on Sunday, according to the Hospital Authority. Besides Chow, two other men were also in critical condition.

In a statement, the HKUST Students' Union cited a witness as saying that Chow lost his footing and fell from the third floor of the car park as he was trying to run away from the tear gas.

The students' union said police fired tear gas at him even though he had not made any provocative action and wore no protective gear.

The union also accused the police of trying to obstruct an ambulance from reaching the injured student, thereby delaying his rescue.

The Link Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns the parking lot, said it could not find any CCTV footage that recorded Chow’s fall after a preliminary check, adding that it will retain all footage taken that night and cooperate with the police in investigating the incident.

On Monday night, hundreds of HKUST students staged a rally on the HKUST campus in support of the student. Some of the students surrounded Shyy and kept him for nearly three hours as they asked him to condemn the police for using excessive force.

They said police should be held accountable for firing tear gas indoors.

In response, Shyy said the university is very much concerned about the incident and promised to ask the police to give a full account of what happened. He told the students, though, that any investigation requires some time.

The HKUST has scheduled a forum on the university campus on Wednesday, with Shyy presiding. Students, teachers and staff are invited to attend, although prior online registration is required.

– Contact us at [email protected]