A 22-year-old Hong Kong university student who suffered a severe head injury after falling in a parking garage close to the scene of protests has died, hospital authorities confirmed Friday, a development that could further inflame tensions in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
Police say Chow Tsz-lok, a computer sciences student at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), fell from the third floor to the second floor of a parking garage in the residential area of Tseung Kwan O in the early hours of November 4. The incident occurred as police clashed with protesters during a nearby anti-government demonstration.
The Hong Kong Hospital Authority confirmed that Chow had died at 8:09 a.m. local time on Friday.
There is no indication that the student was involved in the nearby protest.
“I express deep sympathies to the university student and those who got injured in the protests,” she said. Chow had been in a coma and on life support after arriving at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kowloon on Monday morning.
Chow’s death has prompted an outpouring of anger from anti-government protest groups, who claim that police actions on the night of the accident resulted in paramedics being temporarily unable to access Chow.
Police have strenuously denied responsibility for his death and maintained that at no point did police obstruct ambulance or fire services from assisting Chow. A police statement released on November 5 described the allegations as “certainly false.”
According to police, an ambulance was called at 1:11 a.m. local time Monday — with ambulance crews arriving at the scene approximately 19 minutes later at 1:30 a.m. Hong Kong’s ambulances pledge to arrive at the scene of the incident within 12 minutes of a call.
On Friday, a Hong Kong government spokesperson expressed “great sorrow and regret” over Chow’s death. “The police has stated earlier that they attach great significance to the incident and the crime unit is now conducting a comprehensive investigation with a view to finding out what happened.”
Since then, the demonstrations have spiraled into a broader, anti-government, pro-democracy movement, which has at times sparked violent clashes between police and protesters, as well as protesters and members of the public. More than 1,500 people have been treated in hospital for protest-related injuries and more than 3,300 people have been arrested since the start of June.
Students mourn Chow
HKUST students mourned Chow’s death on Friday, with some leaving flowers at a memorial space set up for Chow. At so-called Lennon Walls erected in support of the pro-democracy movement on campus, people left messages addressed to Chow on brightly-colored Post-it notes.
A HKUST graduation event scheduled for Friday afternoon was canceled, with the organizing committee saying in a statement on its website that the university was “struck with grief” following Chow’s death.
Joe Kwok, a 27-year-old Master’s degree in telecommunications graduate, said he was saddened by the news. “The graduation ceremony became a place of mourning,” he said.
A number of mourning services are planned for Friday night around Hong Kong, including at the Tseung Kwan O parking garage where Chow was injured.
The post Hong Kong student dies after fall in a parking garage during weekend protests appeared first on CNN.