HONG KONG (AP) — The 18-year-old student who was the first Hong Kong police gun victim at pro-democracy protests launched this summer will be charged with assaulting police and causing riots, police said Thursday. The young man was shot amid violent clashes in China’s semi-autonomous territory that tarnished China’s National Day celebrations. The event has compounded outrage against the police, who had already been accused of abusing force against activists.
An officer shot the young man, Tsang Chi-kin, when he attacked him with a metal bar. The government has said Tsang was stable after going through surgery. The case against Tsang was scheduled to be brought in court on Thursday afternoon in court, according to police. He will be one of seven people charged with riots and faces two additional charges for attacking police. It was unclear whether he would appear in court, as the charges could be brought in his absence. The riots carry a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.Thousands of people marched on Wednesday to demand that the police be held accountable for the event. Many claimed that the use of lethal weapons was not justified. Some young men dressed in black expressed outrage Wednesday night by dropping incendiary bombs at police stations, with vandalism at subway stations and cutting off traffic in several districts. Police responded to tear gas in some places. More than 1,000 students marched at the University of China on Thursday to show their support for Tsang and promised to continue their fight for democratic freedoms. Many students believe that Tsang’s chest shot, which hit him close to his heart, was intended to kill him. However, police defended the shooting as “reasonable and legitimate” because the officer feared for his life and that of his comrades.