Shot student improving as fallout continues

Top News | Staff reporters 3 Oct 2019

The condition of Tsang Tsz-kin, the 18-year-old student shot in the chest by a police live bullet, has improved after lung surgery.

But the Secondary Five student at Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College remained in the intensive care unit in "serious condition" at Queen Elizabeth Hospital yesterday.

The school principal, vice principals and teachers visited the boy at the hospital as more than 100 students and alumni gathered outside the Tsuen Wan school campus yesterday morning to protest against police shooting a live round at the teen.

Wearing black shirts, alumni carried placards and chanted slogan to voice support for Tsang and criticize alleged police abuse.

Some also folded paper cranes as they wished Tsang a speedy recovery. Some students wore black masks.

A crowd-funding campaign was launched to raise money for the student's medical expenses.

"In a split-second, you [police] can fire shots into the sky for a deterrent effect. I think it was not a reasonable decision to shoot his body," a student surnamed Chan said.

Principal Tse Yun-ming said: "It is a must for the school to protect our students."

In a closed-door meeting with alumni later, Tse said he would think about further actions or statements that the school could take.

"Hong Kong is no longer the place I'm familiar with," he said. "I refrain from reading news these days to avoid emotional upheavals."

But he was booed by alumni, who questioned how he could teach students about critical thinking without knowing about current affairs. Some former students eventually walked out of the meeting.

An alumnus, surnamed Tang, said: "The meeting ended in a nasty way.

"We have repeatedly raised the issue to the school and asked if it would condemn police brutality, but the principal just dodged our questions," he said.

Another alumnus cited the principal vowing to guarantee Tsang that could complete his secondary school even if he was charged.

The school also triggered an emergency response to counsel its students after the shooting.

"We are concerned, first and foremost over the well-being of our student," the school said in a statement.

"Our staff and students will inevitably be affected by this event. We have set up a crisis management committee to provide pastoral care to those affected."

Students from more than 10 secondary schools also responded with class boycotts as anger mounted over the shooting and to support the teenager.

In Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, dozens moved their desks and chairs out to sit in the corridor and held a self-study session.

In St Paul's College, about 400 students stood in silence and covered their chests with their hands during recess.

Meanwhile, former chief executive Leung Chun-ying said schools should not stay neutral in the face of protests, saying Tsang was not a random student being shot, but a rioter.

He uploaded an open letter to the principal on Facebook, calling for Tse to expel the student.

But the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union accused Leung of continually interfering in the education sector.

Separately, Baptist University president Roland Chin Tai-hong appealed to students to stay away from violence and danger and to give peaceful debates a chance to resolve conflicting views.

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