HKUST forum marredby student scuffle

Top News | Sophie Hui 7 Nov 2019

The University of Science and Technology forum between president Wei Shyy and students descended into chaos last night.

The forum comes as HKUST student Chow Tsz-lok remains in critical condition after falling four meters from a Tseung Kwan O car park on Monday.

About 1,800 students and staff turned up at the forum held at the atrium on the Clearwater Bay campus. It lasted more than four hours.

Earlier yesterday Shyy visited Chow, a computer science year two student, who remains unconscious in the intensive care unit of Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Even before the forum began at 5pm, an argument ensued between local and mainland students after locals held up signs bearing the slogan "Investigate police brutality" while some mainlanders said they want harmony and support the president.

Shyy said he has sent a letter to Link REIT, which owns the Tseung Kwan O car park.

He sent a letter to Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung to ask him for guidelines on using tear gas on Monday night.

Shyy said he cannot disclose much on the student's condition out of respect for his family, but will continue to communicate with them and offer support.

Students again demanded that Shyy condemn police, to which he responded: "We condemn violence committed by any party in any form."

He said the incident requires investigation. There were many possibilities on why Chow fell and no conclusion could be reached yet.

About two-and-a-half hours into the forum, a male mainland student scuffled with a male local student after locals claimed the mainlander pushed the Hong Kong student.

Shyy tried to calm down the students and told them to sit down. Other students surrounded the mainlander and hit him. A student unionist was also injured during the scuffle.

The forum resumed after security staff escorted the two students to the security center.

Chow fell from the third floor to the second floor of Kwong Ming Court's car park soon after midnight on Monday when police and protesters clashed near Sheung Tak Estate.

His family, friends and other HKUST students continued to maintain a bedside vigil in the hospital. People also wrote supportive messages and folded paper cranes at the hospital's lobby to support him.

Meanwhile, the Fire Services Department said ambulancemen did not run into police officers during the rescue operation of Chow. It said the ambulance was delayed due to blocked roads and ambulancemen had to walk to the car park.

The department said fire officers arrived in the car park at 12.55am on Monday to handle a No 1 alarm fire in Sheung Tak Estate. A person told firemen that a person has fallen from a height.

Fire officers immediately performed first aid and called for an ambulance.

There were no police officers when the firemen approached the injured person, the department said.

Later, police arrived and the firemen told them they were performing first aid. Police then left and did not obstruct the first aid operation.

On online rumors that police have pointed their guns at volunteer first-aiders at the scene and told them to leave, a spokesman of the department said: "Since the fire officers were focused on performing first-aid treatment to the injured person, they were not aware of such a situation."

The department said the ambulance which was ferrying the student to the hospital was blocked by other vehicles on Tong Ming Street.

They changed to another route, which was also blocked by private vehicles and fire engines at Kwong Ying House of Kwong Ming Court.

Three medical officers then walked to the car park and reached the injured student at 1.30am. They stretchered him to the hospital 11 minutes later.

Meanwhile, Link REIT released security footage of the second and third floors of the car park on Twitter, but the moment the student fell was not captured by the cameras.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com

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