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Police fire tear gas as Hong Kong vigils turn violent

Viola Gaskell, DPA on

Published in News & Features

HONG KONG -- Police dispersed crowds with tear gas late Friday as vigils and protests took place across Hong Kong over the death of 22-year-old Chow Tsz-lok, a student protester who fell from a parking garage near where police also used tear gas at an earlier anti-government demonstration.

Protesters and police officers have routinely been injured since demonstrations broke out in June, but no deaths had previously been directly connected to the clashes.

Chow's death early Friday inflamed citywide anger toward police, as many students believe he was running from officers when he fell.

Peaceful vigils devolved into clashes as riot police arrived on scene and protesters responded aggressively, chanting "Murderers!" and hurling bricks and other objects at the officers.

An officer in the Yau Ma Tei district reportedly fired a warning shot as the clashes escalated. According to the police force, "rioters" threw gasoline bombs, set fire to an electrical box, and vandalized public property.

Earlier Friday evening, thousands attended vigils in over a dozen locations across the semi-autonomous city, including at the parking garage where the incident happened. Mourners left white flowers, burned candles, and wrote messages for Chow and his family at the location where he was found by firefighters.

 

Chow fell from the third to the second floor of the Sheung Tak Estate garage on Monday morning after clashes between protesters and police were dispersed with tear gas nearby, the South China Morning Post reported.

Police said that Chow was found approximately 120 yards from the site where tear gas had been fired to disperse protesters in the area.

A service held at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUT), where Chow was a second-year student, was presided over by Reverend Chu Yiu Ming.

Chu had been tried for his involvement in the 2014 Umbrella movement, when pro-democracy protesters occupied the city's Central district for 79 days.

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