A protester is in a critical condition, after being shot at point-blank range by Hong Kong police.

A 21-year-old male student, according to the South China Morning Post, was shot by Hong Kong police during the morning rush hour at 7.20 am, on Monday morning.

Protesters were trying to set up a road block in Sai Wan Ho, when the incident took place. The shooting was broadcast live on Facebook by a fellow protester. The video, obtained by The Guardian, shows the police officer in a high visibility vest, scuffling with a protester in the middle of the main road.

protestors in Hong Kong staging a sit-in

A male protester, dressed in all black, appears to approach this officer, who points the gun at him before firing a shot. The man appears to attempt to swipe the gun, but he is shot again. The now critically injured man is shown trying to escape the police after being shot, before collapsing to the ground whilst police pile on top of him.

According to the South China Morning Post, the protestor is a 21-year-old student, and he is the third person to be shot since the protests began in June 2019. He was reportedly sent to Pamela Youde Nethersole Easten Hospital in Chai Wan and is in a critical condition.

The Hong Kong protests started in June of this year, escalating in tension and violent clashes between the protestors and Hong Kong police.  Earlier this year, a bill was put forward to allow extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China.

Hong Kong: A Brief History

Until 1997, Hong Kong was ruled by Britain, but it is now a part of the People’s Republic of China, existing as a Special Administrative Region. However, it does have some autonomy defined under its own basic law.

Article 2 defines this autonomy, stating, “The National People’s Congress authorizes the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication, in accordance with the provisions of this Law.” So, in effect, Hong Kong has control over areas such as their legal system, but they inevitably answer to Beijing – “one country, two systems.”

Critics said that this could endanger the principle of Hong Kong having judicial independence, and although the bill was removed in September, protests have continued and increased in tension, with violent clashes between the police and protestors.

Hong Kong Police Justifying Their Actions

Hong Kong Police Force took to twitter to explain their actions: https://twitter.com/hkpoliceforce/status/1193742692250861568?s=20

Regardless of whether the Police have been justified in their actions the point remains that this shooting, alongside other recent incidents, continue to be a fuel in the fire that is Hong Kong’s current political crisis.