A screenshot of a video from HK police shows a police officer suffered burns on his arm.
The Hong Kong police officer who opened fire at a rioter on Tuesday was exercising self-defense as his life and those of his colleagues were threatened, and he did so in accordance with Police General Orders, the Hong Kong police said on Wednesday.
An 18-year-old man was shot near his shoulder by police in Tsuen Wan around 4 pm Tuesday amid rioting across the city, which had become the first shot by a live round since the start of the months of riots.
The incident has sparked online discussions, attracting global attention, while opposition groups again distorting narratives by claiming police brutality. Some came up with new slogans like "a life for a life."
On Wednesday afternoon, the police showed a video of the operations to reporters. A group of black-clad rioters attacked a police officer and beat him to the ground. Then, a colleague of the officer approached with a revolver, trying to save the life of his colleague, as the video showed.
The officer with the revolver faced more than 10 rioters with deadly weapons such as hammers, iron poles and sharp hiking poles. A rioter approached him with an iron baton, who also wanted to snatch the gun of the police officer, as the video showed. If he had snatched the gun from the officer, it would have caused devastating consequences, Tang Ping-keung, deputy commissioner of police (operations), told a press conference on Wednesday.
The police officer with the revolver had no other choice but to open fire. And the rioter was hit in the shoulder and the officer acted in self-defense, according to the police.
Even after the police officer dispersed the rioters, rioters threw Molotov cocktails at the police, putting the detained rioter at risk.
"Every shot has to be accountable, and firing a live round does not mean it would become routine, as enhanced force was needed to handle escalating violence," Wong Wai-shun, senior superintendent of operations bureau, told the press conference.
Tuesday's riots have caused casualties among police officers, journalists and civilians.
Five of the 30 injured police officers on Tuesday remain in the hospital as of Wednesday. One suffered from third degree burns on his back and hand, said Tang Ping-keung, deputy commissioner of police.
During Tuesday's operation, the police arrested 269 people allegedly holding offensive weapons, assaulting police officers and taking part in riots.
Molotov cocktails, chemical compound, iron sticks … Hong Kong police displayed weapons rioters used to attack amid Tuesday's rioting activities, showing that riots have become more dangerous.
The police also emphasized that life is precious, and police officers have the responsibility to protect the lives of others as well as their own.
"Our frontline police officers made the choice in accordance with Police General Orders," said Tse Chun-chung, chief superintendent of police public relations branch.