A Hong Kong policewoman shot a man in the stomach in Sham Shui Po yesterday morning, leaving him in critical condition at time of publication. Police say the man had tried to attack the officer and her colleague while they were conducting a stop-and-search.
The 55-year-old man, a Hong Kong ID cardholder, was rushed to Princess Margaret Hospital for treatment. He has been arrested.
According to police, two officers from the Police Tactical Unit were on anti-vice patrol and conducting a stop-and-search operation at the MTR station in Sham Shui Po at around 7.40am.
They stopped the man, who was acting suspiciously, inside the station near the D2 exit. During questioning, the officers saw him taking a 15cm cutter from a backpack, which he was carrying in front of him.
“He waved the weapon and attempted to attack the pair. The officers issued a verbal warning but in vain. The man then attempted to attack the female officer,” said Chow Ngai-kong, divisional commander of Sham Shui Po Division. “With her life under threat, the female officer shot one round at the man and subdued him.”
When asked if it was appropriate to fire a gun in a packed MTR station, Chow said there were strict guidelines concerning the use of firearms and officers were well trained, adding: “Before she fired the shot, she had assessed the situation and was confident she could hit the suspect.”
The Kowloon West regional crime squad is investigating, and the force will also look into whether the officer had followed police guidelines and related regulations.
Chapter 29 of Police General Orders, which is the guidelines for the use of force and firearms, had not been made available to the public. Yet, according to an unverified Facebook post and a local media that disclosed the content of that chapter, police allegedly could only use firearms under the following conditions:
- To protect people, including the police officers themselves, from the threat of death or serious injury.
- To execute the arrest of a suspect who has just committed a serious violent crime and attempts to escape from the scene.
- To subside commotions or riots.
With reference to the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials set by the United Nations Human Rights Office of Higher Commissioner, law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms.
It was also stated that they may use force and firearms only if other means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the intended result.