A female protester who was shot during a protest on Sunday could lose her right eye, leading activists to plan another anti-government demonstration at Hong Kong International Airport on Monday.
The airport was occupied by hundreds of protesters from Friday to Sunday, in an attempt to secure international backing for the movement against the now-abandoned extradition bill.
The fresh demonstration plans, with some calling for 1 million people to descend on the airport, came after a series of violent clashes in Hong Kong on Sunday, which led to injuries to both protesters and police officers.
As of 2.20pm on Monday, a total of 54 people, aged from eight to 56, were injured and sent to hospitals across the city. One man and one woman remained in serious condition.
Among them was a female protester who fellow demonstrators said was hit by a beanbag round fired by police in Tsim Sha Tsui and sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei for treatment.
A doctor who works in the hospital’s accident and emergency department said the woman’s right eyeball was ruptured and there were fears she could lose her eye.
“I can confirm her injury is really serious,” said the doctor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
He added there were also fractures in the woman’s nasal and maxilla bones, adding she had undergone surgery.
Another doctor from the hospital, who also did not give his name, said the woman spent six hours in surgery early on Monday morning.
He said the woman had lost the sight in her right eye.
A separate source said the woman saw an ear, nose and throat doctor, as well as a dentist, on Monday.
“The patient and her family were calm. Lawyers visited her and also met the doctor in charge,” the source said.
In a separate incident, a policeman inside Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station suffered burns to his legs after being hit by a petrol bomb.
According to a post in online forum LIHKG, published on Monday morning by a user who claimed to be the younger sister of the injured woman, the damaged right eye was swollen “as big as an egg”.
“There was a long cut from the inner corner of the right eye to just under eye. Stitches were done late at night,” it read. “The doctor said the injury was serious and bones near the area which was shot were all fractured.”
The online message quoted the injured woman as saying she was standing at a bus station observing what police were doing, and not acting aggressively, when she was shot as she popped her head out between advertising panels.
At a press conference on Monday, police said they could not ascertain whether the woman’s injury was caused by officers.
“We reviewed the footage, we made inquiries with our officers … as well as all the pictures and video footage circulated on different social media. At this stage, we do not have evidence to suggest how the injury was caused,” said Mak Chin-ho, assistant commissioner of police for operations.
In response to the incident, internet users urged 1 million people to gather at the airport on Monday, with slogans of “an eye for an eye” and “not any one of the five demands could be missing”.
They hoped such action would exert pressure on the government to respond to their demands, including the establishment of a commission of inquiry to look into the extradition bill-related protests, along with police’s handling of demonstrations.
The now-shelved bill would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China and other jurisdictions with which the city does not have an extradition agreement.
Health care professionals were also planning a sit-in at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin on Tuesday to show their discontent over recent violence. They asked participants to wear black clothes, black ribbons and black masks.
Additional reporting by Alvin Lum
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