Hong Kong police chief says he is ‘proud’ of officer who shot knife-wielding man at MTR station
- Stephen Lo said policewoman acted to protect herself and members of the public in the incident on November 7
- Lo rejected accusations that police made insufficient effort to track down witnesses to the shooting
Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung has stood by an officer’s decision to shoot a knife-wielding man at an MTR station earlier this month, saying that he was “proud” of such a colleague.
Lo also said earlier accusations made by the suspect’s family that the force had not gone to full lengths to seek witnesses were unfair.
Chow King-tang, 55, was shot by a policewoman, surnamed Yuen, on November 7 at Sham Shui Po station after he had brandished a knife when approached for questioning.
Initial investigations cleared Yuen of any breach of guidelines.
“During that split second, if my colleague had chosen to move back, or dodge the man, she could have been seriously hurt, or the suspect could have gone inside the MTR to hurt other citizens, including many children who were on the way to school that day,” Lo said on Saturday.
“I’m proud of such a colleague who made that decision.”
Chow, who is still hospitalised after being shot in the abdomen, is on bail after being arrested for assaulting officers and possessing an offensive weapon.
His family and boss, with the help of lawmaker James To Kun-sun, earlier said police officers had not given them any reasonable explanation for opening fire, and had not gone to full lengths to seek witnesses.
In response to those accusations, Lo said that they had found five witnesses, and gathered useful surveillance pictures after combing footage from security cameras.
“Those accusations are not fair. My colleagues have tried their best in investigating the case thoroughly,” he said, adding that the investigation was still continuing and that more details about the case would be revealed in court.
Lawmaker James To said it was hard to believe the measures taken had been necessary because Chow would have allegedly gone into the station to wound other people, even if he and the police officers at the scene had any misunderstandings or any conflicts.
“It’s not like those cases in other countries where the assailant will attack people indiscriminately,” he said.
“What Chow’s family wants is the truth,” he said, adding that they were still appealing for more witnesses to come forward.
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.