A university student who suffered severe brain injury after he fell from a car park early on Monday near an area of confrontation between protesters and police died on Friday morning.
Chow Tsz-lok, a second year computer science undergraduate at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, reportedly fell from the third floor to the second floor of a car park in Tseung Kwan O, while police carried out a dispersal operation nearby with rounds of tear gas fired.
The 22-year-old had been in a coma after being sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital early on Monday morning. Two operations were carried out to stop the swelling in his head, but sources said neither helped reduce the damage.
His condition took a turn for the worse on Thursday night before he succumbed to cardiac arrest the following morning, and the hospital confirmed he died at 8.09am.
Security camera footage released on Wednesday by Link Reit, the owner of the Sheung Tak Estate car park, did not appear to have captured his fall, as the cameras rotated during their operation. The view was also partly blocked by parked vehicles.
Wei Shyy, the HKUST president promised on Wednesday he would condemn police violence if they were found to have violated tear gas firing guidelines during the stand-off with protesters that night. The clash on Sunday in Tseung Kwan O, which extended into the small hours the next day, was sparked by a group of people trying to disrupt a police officer’s wedding held in a hotel in the district. It was unclear whether Chow was in the group, why he was at the car park and what exactly caused him to fall.
Questions also remained over whether there was any delay in paramedics reaching Chow, as it took 19 minutes for them to arrive, seven minutes longer than the service pledge of being at a destination within 12 minutes from the time of an emergency call.
On Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor expressed her sympathy for Chow, and said the case needed to be investigated.
Police have said officers did not realise the accident had happened until they saw firefighters applying first aid in the car park at 1.05am Monday.
The force also said tear gas was discharged near the car park on Tong Chun Street, before they found Chow some 120 metres away.
It said Chow might have thought that after climbing off the wall of the third floor, there could be a ledge just below, instead of a straight drop of four metres onto the second floor.
Police denied that officers obstructed or interfered with rescue efforts by paramedics and fire services personnel.
The fire department said because of traffic congestion near the car park, it had taken 19 minutes for paramedics to arrive at the scene after receiving the call at 1.11am. Chow was taken to hospital at 1.59am.
More to follow …