A Hong Kong man who was shot dead by police at close range during the 2019 democracy protests has been jailed for six years for obstructing a police officer and attempting to steal the officer’s gun.
Chow Pak-Kwan, now 23, lost his kidney and suffered liver and spinal injuries after being shot at a crossroads during a fight between protesters and police.
Footage of Nov. 11, 2019, incident showed an armed policeman grappling with another protester on the street and Chow then appearing at the crossing.
Shortly after, the officer assigned to the traffic division shoots the black-clad Chow, who is unarmed. Another man then appears to try to grab the officer’s gun, after which the officer fires two more shots. The whole incident was broadcast live on Facebook.
On Wednesday, Judge Adriana Tse sentenced Chow to six years in prison on charges that included attempted escape.
The judge said Chow’s attempt to grab the officer’s gun could have inflamed the crowd’s emotions and contributed to the long sentence. Chow’s defence attorneys had argued that he was not trying to grab the gun but to push it away.
Woo Tsz-kin, also accused in the case, was jailed for six years after being convicted of obstructing a police officer and attempting to steal the officer’s gun.
The incident came as protesters attempted to mobilize Hong Kong for a general strike, blocking roads as part of the action.
Woo and Chow, who pleaded not guilty, were convicted in August and remanded in custody. Both men said they were traumatized by what happened, with Chow reporting serious damage to his health.
According to the Hong Kong Free Press, Tse told them they had “only themselves to blame” for the physical injuries and mental conditions they suffered.
The protest took place at the height of the 2019 protests, which began in opposition to a proposed extradition bill but evolved into calls for democracy and sometimes turned violent.
Police say officers deployed to the protests acted in accordance with the law and followed internal protocols.
The officer who shot Chow was granted anonymity by the court and referred to only as “Officer A”. In a testimony, he said he had felt his life was in danger.