On Thursday, police in Hong Kong filed criminal charges against an 18-year-old protester whom an officer shot point-blank in the chest on Tuesday, accusing the high school student of rioting and attacking police. The victim, Tsang Chi-kin, is recovering in the hospital and was not in the courtroom. He was the first protester shot with live ammunition in months of persistent demonstrations that have roiled Hong Kong.
Tuesday's protests were an especial embarrassment for Beijing, which was contemporaneously celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China with a pomp-filled, heavily choreographed demonstration of might and unity. Police say the officer fired his revolver at Tsang because he feared for his life, as the student tried to hit him with a rod. The use of potentially lethal force on a protester has further enraged the protesters, thousands of whom rallied Wednesday and Thursday to demand police accountability.
Tsang is one of seven people charged with rioting, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, and Tsang was also charged with two counts of attacking officers, each carrying another six months. In all, Hong Kong has detained 1,750 people since the protests began in June.
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