Hong Kong protests: Man dies after being hit ‘by hard object’ during protests


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Media captionThese Hong Kong university students fought police on Tuesday with bows and arrows

A 70-year-old man has died in Hong Kong after being struck on the head during clashes between pro-democracy protesters and government supporters.

Officials said the man was on a lunch break from his job as a cleaner when he was hit in the head by “hard objects hurled by masked rioters”.

The incident came less than a week after a student died after falling from a building during a police operation.

Hong Kong has been dogged by more than five months of political unrest.

In a statement on Thursday, Hong Kong’s government said it was “saddened” by the incident. The man was described as an outsourced worker of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD).

“Masked rioters conducted extremely dangerous and violent acts in various districts three days in a row, where they wantonly assaulted other members of the public,” the statement added.

“The acts are outrageous.”

Video purported to be of the incident shows protesters and government supporters throwing bricks at each other before the man falls to the ground after being struck in the head.

The FEHD said the clashes took place on Wednesday and the man died at hospital the following day.

Police said they were investigating the incident.

Last Friday 22-year-old student protester Alex Chow died after falling from the ledge of a car park during a police operation to clear the area. Reports say he was trying to get away from tear gas.

Hong Kong has seen an escalation in violence this week, with intense street battles, violent clashes at universities and flashmob lunchtime protests.

On Monday, a police officer shot an activist in the torso with a live bullet and a man was set on fire while arguing with anti-government protesters.

Why are there protests in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is part of China but as a former British colony it has some autonomy and people have more rights.

The protests started in June against plans to allow extradition to the mainland – which many feared would undermine the city’s freedoms.

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Media captionHow Hong Kong got trapped in a cycle of violence

The bill was withdrawn in September but demonstrations continued and now call for full democracy and an inquiry into police behaviour.

Clashes between police and activists have become increasingly violent and in October the city banned all face masks.


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