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Hong Kong student’s death fuels more anger against police
Hong Kong: A Hong Kong university student who fell off a parking garage after police fired tear gas during clashes with anti-government protesters died Friday in a rare fatality after five months of unrest, fueling more outrage against authorities in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
The Hospital Authority said the 22-year-old died Friday morning, but didn’t provide further details. The government expressed “great sorrow and regret” over Chow Tsz-Lok’s death and police said they will propose a public inquest.
Some 1,000 masked protesters marched through the busy central district at lunchtime, chanting “Disband the police force”, ”Hong Kong people, revenge” and “A blood debt must be paid in blood.” Some carried white flowers and placards that read “Hong Kong is a police state.” Protesters demanded justice for Chow and hurled abuse at several police officials on site, calling them “murderers.”
“His death is a reminder to us that we cannot give up,” one protester said on local television. Although the cause of his fall has not been determined, it deepened anger against police, who have been accused of heavy-handed tactics including widespread use of tear gas and pepper spray since protests demanding democratic reforms started in June. It will also complicate efforts by the government to cool down tensions. Chow had reportedly been in a coma with brain injury since he was found early Monday sprawled in a pool of blood on the second floor of the building.
Police believed he plunged from an upper floor but it wasn’t captured on security cameras. Minutes earlier, television footage showed riot police firing tear gas at the building after objects were hurled down at the officers in the street when they chased off a mob.
Police didn’t rule out the possibility he was fleeing from tear gas but noted officers fired from a distance. Police official Suzette Foo later Friday repeatedly denied claims that officers pushed the victim down and had delayed emergency services. She said police entered the building late Sunday for a dispersal operation before Chow arrived and a second time just after he was found unconscious. (AP)