Hong Kong protester shot by police jailed for six years

Judge tells 23-year-old Chow Pak-kwan that he has only himself to blame for the physical injuries and mental trauma he suffered.

A Hong Kong man who was shot at close range by police during the 2019 democracy protests has been sentenced to six years in prison on charges including obstructing a police officer and attempting to steal the officer’s weapon.

Chow Pak-kwan, now 23, lost his right kidney and injured his liver and spine after being shot at an intersection during a scuffle between protesters and police.

Footage from the incident on November 11, 2019, showed an armed police officer struggling with another protester on the street and Chow then appearing at the intersection.

Soon after, the officer, who was assigned to the traffic department, shoots at the black-clad Chow, who was unarmed. Another man then appears to try to grab the officer’s gun, after which the agent fires two more shots. The entire incident was streamed live on Facebook.

On Wednesday, Judge Adriana Tse Chow sentenced Chow to six years in prison on charges including attempted escape from custody.

The judge said Chow’s attempt to grab the officer’s gun could have stirred up the crowd’s emotions and was a contributing factor to the long sentence. Chow’s lawyers had argued that he did not try to grab the gun, but to push it away.

Woo Tsz-kin, also a defendant in the case, was also jailed for six years after being found guilty of obstructing a police officer and attempting to steal the officer’s gun.

The incident occurred as protesters tried to mobilize Hong Kong for a general strike, blocking roads as part of the action.

Woo and Chow, who pleaded not guilty, were convicted and taken into custody in August. Both men said they were traumatized by what happened, with Chow reporting serious damage to his health.

Tse told them they had “only themselves to blame” for the physical injuries and mental ailments they suffered, according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

The protest came at the height of the 2019 protests, which began as opposition to a proposed extradition bill, but grew into calls for democracy and turned violent at times.

Protesters accused the police of brutality and an investigation into police conduct was one of their main demands. Human rights groups said police sometimes used excessive force to quell the protests, sometimes citing Chow’s shooting as an example.

Police say officers deployed to the protests acted in accordance with the law and followed internal protocols.

The officer who shot Chow was granted anonymity by the court and referred to only as “Officer A”. In testimony, he said he felt his life was in danger.

After the incident Amnesty International called for the officer’s immediate suspension and an investigation into his decision to fire live ammunition into the crowd. A police spokesman said the officer had not deviated from his guidelines.

As of August this year, according to police, Hong Kong had arrested nearly 10,300 people during the 2019 protests and prosecuted or taken legal action against 2,900 of them.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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