Man shot by Hong Kong police in MTR station over knife incident carried cutter daily as renovation worker, family and boss say
- Son demands explanation and more details from authorities on what happened that day
- Lawmaker accuses police of not taking statement from suspect’s colleague and not going to lengths to seek witnesses
A knife-wielding man who was shot in the abdomen by Hong Kong police at an MTR station carried a cutter daily as he was a renovation worker, his family and boss said on Wednesday.
Those close to Chow King-tang, 55, called on police for a clear explanation and fair investigation into the case as he remained in hospital, unable to give a statement in his current condition.
Chow was shot by a policewoman, surnamed Yuen, two weeks ago at the Sham Shui Po station after he had brandished a knife when approached for questioning.
Last Saturday Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung cleared Yuen of any wrongdoing, saying she had made a correct decision to protect herself and the public.
Chow is on bail after being arrested for assaulting officers and possessing an offensive weapon.
At a meeting with the press on Wednesday, his son, accompanied by Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, said Chow had moved to a general ward from the intensive care unit, but with only a slim chance to walk again as his spine was wounded.
“It is not fair,” the man, who refused to reveal his name, said. “The police so far did not give a reasonable explanation [for the shooting].” He added that he had not asked his father about what happened that day out of fear of irritating the older man.
“What happened that day remains a mystery. The CCTV footage [shown by the media] is not clear. Is it a must to open fire in that situation? Can the force use a softer approach, such as with a baton or pepper spray? There is no explanation.”
The man said his father had been on saline solution and was unable to move. Asked if he knew his father was once jailed for seven days in 2013 for attacking a police officer, he said he was not aware of that.
Chow’s boss, who also appeared at the presser and gave his name as Tam, said on the day of the incident, he had arranged to meet Chow in Tsuen Wan and go to Gold Coast in Tuen Mun for work. “Every renovation worker has a cutter to slice open cement bags and cut plastic strips. It is very normal.”
James To accused police of not taking an official statement from Tam and not going to full lengths to seek witnesses.
A police spokesman said the force was looking into the case actively and thoroughly. “This includes conducting forensic work and taking statements from witnesses on the date of the incident or after.”
On the morning of November 7, policewoman Yuen and her partner, both from the Police Tactical Unit, approached Chow near Exit D2 of Sham Shui Po station as he appeared suspicious. The officers said Chow took out a 15cm cutter from his backpack while he was being questioned.
According to police, he waved the object and repeatedly tried to attack the officers, despite a verbal warning. Yuen, a six-year veteran, shot him in the abdomen.
Weighing in on the matter for the first time last Saturday, police chief Lo said they had confirmed Yuen had followed guidelines for the use of force and that the consequences would have been more serious if she had not acted promptly.
“She could have been injured, just like our colleague Chu Chun-kwok in the old days,” Lo said, referring to constable Jacky Chu who remained in a near vegetative state after being attacked in the neck with a knife while examining the man’s ID card in Cheung Sha Wan in 2005. Chu suffered brain damage caused by blood loss.
“Or what about other citizens if she had stepped back and the suspect fled to the train?” Lo said of Yuen’s case.
He urged members of the public to understand the uncertainty and danger faced by officers as they are required to make correct split-second decisions in their work.
According to the Police General Orders, officers are allowed to discharge a firearm under three circumstances: to protect any person, including themselves, from death or serious injury; to bring about the arrest of any person who has just committed a serious or violent crime; or to quell a riot or insurrection.