The protests in Hong Kong produced their first victim on Thursday since they were first staged on June 9 this year. The South China Morning Post reported that Chow Tsz-lok, a 22-year-old student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, died on Thursday morning. He fell from the third floor of a parking lot during a protest at 1 a.m. on Monday, subsequently sustaining serious brain damage. He underwent brain surgery twice but failed to survive.
It remains unknown what brought him there and why he fell. The Ming Pao reported a witness testimony that the police blocked responders from reaching the victim. A footage was revealed, with the police firing multiple rounds of teargas towards his ambulance.
Chow’s death will likely intensify the Hong Kong protest. Some 1,000 Hong Kong citizens marched in protest on the day, branding the police as “murderers,” demanding the dissolution of police, and vowing to pay “the debt of blood with blood.” Following the news of his death, some students at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology demanded a halt to the ongoing graduation ceremony. “This is the first time that the police crackdown has resulted in a dead victim,” the Civil Human Rights Front, an organization leading the protests, said in a statement it issued, urging a thorough investigation into the case.
On October 1 and October 4, an 18-year-old high school student named Tsang Chi-kin and a 14-year-old student were shot by the police, respectively. With the criticism against excessive oppressions by the police escalating, Chow’s death will likely further intensify the level of physical confrontations between protesters and police.