A tweet posted on 1 June 2020 claimed that a student who was beaten by Hong Kong police later died in a hospital. The tweet was posted along with a graphic video showing three men forcefully pinning a young man to the ground with one of them pressing his hand and knee on his neck.
The viral video shows a man being pressed to the ground by three other men in what looks like a post-protest scene in Hong Kong. The man pinned can be heard saying, “I understand, don’t press me, I’m sorry.” (translated)
Seeing that the claim was associated with Hong Kong, we first got in touch with Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP), a non-profit English-language newspaper run by journalists. They confirmed with us via email that the original video footage was shot by them and posted on their Youtube channel in 2019. See the video below.
The video titled, “Hong Kong police make a bloody arrest, assisted by officers suspected to be undercover,” was posted on 11 August 2019. The video shows a man being forcefully pinned to the ground by three men with one of them eventually kneeling on his neck. The bloodied man on the ground can be seen moaning in pain and saying, “Even my front tooth is broken, I am sorry.” This incident took place at the end of another day of violent demonstrations in Hong Kong.
The HKFP covered this incident in their report on 12 August detailing how the Hong Kong police made a bloody arrest with the help of officers who were suspected to be undercover as protestors. The report claims that this incident “could be the first proof of officers going undercover as protesters since the anti-extradition bill movement began in June.”
Another report published by HKFP in September 2019 describes how the Hong Kong police denied hitting the arrested protesters on the head. In fact, Steve Li, senior superintendent from the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said that after watching the video he believes, “the two officers used appropriate force to subdue the man and conduct an arrest,” stated the report.
The September HKFP also reported that the injured protester identified himself as Chow-ka-lok and was taken to a detention center after his arrest. He was later sent to North District Hospital, as reported by Apple Daily.
The New York Times (NYT) published a story on this incident in September 2019. The story examines footage from the night that undercover agents infiltrated crowds around a popular shopping mall and beat up protestors on the night of 11 August 2019. Three men who were injured that night, including the man shown pinned to the ground in the video, share their stories in this NYT article.
The Telegraph UK also speaks to one of the injured men that night as detailed in their story published in October 2019.
The tweet claiming the death of a student after being beaten up by the Hong Kong police is false. Hong Kong Free Press’ email confirmation and the above-listed news reports make it clear that the man beaten up and pinned to the ground in the video did not die.
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