HONG KONG : Thousand of Hong Kongers held vigils on Friday night for a student who died from a fall during recent protest clashes with police, triggering renewed violence.

Although the precise chain of events leading to 22-year-old Alex Chow's fall last weekend is unclear and disputed, his death on Friday morning was the first student fatality during 5 months of demonstration.

Protesters have made alleged police brutality one of the movement's rallying cries and have seized on the death.

At the spot where Chow fell, thousands queued for hours in snaking lines to lay flowers, light candles and write condolence messages.

Activists also blocked roads and trashed subway  station entrances, sparking  cat and mouse  confrontations with police in multiple neighborhoods.

In one incident, a group of outnumbered officers were surrounded in Yau Ma Tei district, forcing one to fire a warning shot, a police source said
The death sent tensions soaring once more in a city reeling from five months of political chaos.

''Today we mourn the loss of a freedom fighter in Hong Kong,'' Joshua Wong, a prominent  pro-democracy  campaigner, said on Twitter.

''The atmosphere in Hong Kong is like a ticking bomb,'' added Lo Kin-hei, a local pro-democracy councillor and activist . ''HKers don't trust the police will give us the truth.''

Police have repeatedly denied any allegations of wrongdoing in relation to Chow's death.
The lead officer in the case, Superintendent Ewing Wu, again insisted on Friday that police was not at fault.

''As for the allegations that police chased the deceased or that we pushed him and caused him to fall, the police hereby make a solemn statement again that nothing of that kind happened,'' Wu told reporters.

Chow was taken to hospital early on Monday morning following clashed between police and protesters in the  middle-class district of Tseung Kwan O. He died on Friday morning after failing to emerge from a coma. [AFP]


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