A Hong Kong police officer shot a masked protester at point blank range in a shocking skirmish broadcast on Facebook Live on Monday morning.
The outbreak of violence happened at a blockaded junction in Sai Wan Ho during rush hour as a police officer attempted to arrest a masked man during a wild scuffle in the city’s 24th straight weekend of pro-democracy demonstrations.
Footage showed the policeman drawing his sidearm as a second man moved towards the officer in an attempt to liberate his comrade.
The protester appeared to take a swipe at the officer’s pistol and just moments later he opened fire, hitting the masked demonstrator in the torso.
As shrieks pierced the air, other demonstrators rushed at the officer who quickly fired another two rounds.
The masked demonstrator he had originally tried to collar broke free in the struggle but another man went to ground as the shots were fired.
Police could later be seen detaining the two men on the ground. The first man had a pool of blood next to him, his body limp and his eyes wide open as officers moved him around and tried to tie his hands.
The second man was conscious and talking.
A Hong Kong police officer (pictured opening fire) shot at masked protesters on Monday morning – hitting at least one in the torso – during clashes broadcast live on Facebook
Police could later be seen detaining the two men on the ground. The first man (face blurred) had a pool of blood next to him, his body limp as officers moved him around and apparently tried to tie his hands, while the second man was conscious and talking
Police officers detaining the two protesters in the aftermath, the man who was shot in the torso appeared to be unconscious
The demonstrator is bent double after being shot as the police officer continues to scuffle with the policeman, his hand over his face
The police officer fires two more rounds, the man in the white hooded jumper has broken free (centre), another man falls to the ground (left), while the man shot in the midriff appears to be in agony on the road
The officer first gets hold of a masked man in a white hooded top, this man later escapes but not before the policeman shoots one of his comrades who attempts to liberate him
The black-clad masked man who will, within a split second be shot in the torso, rushes towards the police officer as he tries to free the man he is detaining
Further footage on social media showed a police motorbike attempting to ram black-clad protesters in a running battle through the streets.
Other officers chased them off with batons while the motorbike sped dangerously towards the demonstrators, appearing to be totally out of control.
A police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to AFP that live rounds were fired at more than one protester in Sai Wan Ho and that a statement would be issued.
Police said in a statement radical protesters had set up barricades at multiple locations across the city and warned the demonstrators to ‘stop their illegal acts immediately’.
The police officers can be seen detaining the men on the ground, it is not clear from the footage whether the conscious man had been shot
They did not comment immediately on the apparent shooting.
Services on some train and subway lines were disrupted early on Monday, with riot police deployed near stations and shopping malls. Many universities cancelled classes on Monday and there were long traffic jams in some areas.
Activists blocked roads and trashed shopping malls across Hong Kong’s New Territories and Kowloon peninsula on Sunday during a 24th straight weekend of anti-government unrest.
Tensions have soared in recent days following the death on Friday of a 22-year-old student who succumbed to injuries sustained from a fall in the vicinity of a police clearance operation the weekend before.
Protesters block roads in Wong Tai Sin district, as they call for a general strike, in Hong Kong on Monday morning
Police officers direct residents as pro-democracy protesters block major roads in Hong Kong on Monday morning
A traffic jam is seen as roads are blocked by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong
Protesters set up barricades to block a road in Wong Tai Sin on Monday
The city has seen four days of consecutive protests since the student’s death as well as tens of thousands attending mass vigils.
Using online messaging forums, activists had called for a general strike on Monday morning.
Flashmob protests sprung up in multiple districts during the morning commuter period, with small groups of masked protesters targeting subway stations and building barricades on road junctions.
Even before the shooting in Sai Wan Ho, tear gas had been fired in at least two other locations.
A view of graffiti at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong on Monday
People react after a tear gas canister fired by police lands amongst them during a standoff with protesters and residents in the Tsuen Wan district of the New Territories in Hong Kong on Sunday night
Monday’s shooting is the third time protesters have been shot with live rounds by police.
On 1 October a student was struck in the chest as he and a group of activists attacked an officer with sticks and poles. He survived his wound and is being prosecuted.
Days later a 14-year-old boy was shot in the leg when a policeman in plainclothes fired his gun after his car was attacked by a crowd. He also survived and was arrested.