Hong Kong protester shot by police charged with assault, rioting

Tsang Chi-kin charged with two counts of assaulting police and one count of rioting during a protest on Tuesday.

    Hong Kong protester shot by police charged with assault, rioting
    Hong Kong police reportedly relaxed guidelines on the use of live ammunition a day before the shooting incident [Jerome Favre/EPA]

    Hong Kong police have filed assault and rioting charges against the 18-year-old student who was the first victim of police gunfire in the pro-democracy protests.

    Tsang Chi-kin was charged on Thursday with two counts of assaulting the police, during demonstrations on Tuesday that coincided with the 70th anniversary of Communist rule in China. 

    Separately, Tsang and six other men aged 18 to 38 were also charged with taking part in a riot, the South China Morning Post reported. 

    Hong Kong divided over unrest amid mass protests

    Tsang remains in hospital, but has been moved out of the intensive care unit, it said. 

    Tuesday's shooting, on one of the most violent days in nearly four months of demonstrations, inflamed anger against police, who have been accused of being heavy-handed with protesters.

    The officer fired his weapon during scuffles with protesters armed with metal rods.

    The Hong Kong Free Press reported on Thursday that the police force relaxed its guidelines on the use of live ammunition a day before the shooting incident. 

    Outbreaks of violence continued in several districts across Hong Kong late into the night on Wednesday, with protesters setting fires, blocking roads and vandalising shops and metro stations as police fired tear gas to disperse them.

    Calls for restraint

    The Hong Kong public has become increasingly hostile towards police amid accusations of heavy-handed tactics. Police say they have shown restraint in the face of increased violence.

    Lam Chi-wai, chairman of the Junior Police Officers Association, urged the city authorities to impose a curfew to maintain public order, according to a statement released on Wednesday.

    "We are only an enforcement agency with limited power under the law. When facing such a series of massive rioting incidents, we cannot work alone - clapping only with one hand - without appropriate measures and support from top level," Lam said.

    The lawyer for an Indonesian journalist injured when police fired a projectile during protests on Sunday said she will be left blind in one eye.

    The European Union said in a statement it was deeply troubled by the escalation of violence in the territory and that the only way forward was through "restraint, de-escalation and dialogue".

    Hong Kong protester shot in the chest by police during clashes

    The protests started over a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial, but have evolved into calls for democracy, among other demands, and plunged the city into its biggest political crisis in decades.

    Protesters are also angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in the city's affairs despite a promise of autonomy in the "one country, two systems" formula under which Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997.

    China dismisses accusations it is meddling in Hong Kong and has accused foreign governments, including the United States and Britain, of stirring up anti-China sentiment.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies