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Teen shot in Hong Kong protests is charged

Flashpoint: The officer fires at the teenager from close range but police say he was fearing for his life

A TEEN protester shot in the chest in Hong Kong has been charged with rioting and attacking police.

Tsang Chi-kin, who is recovering after an officer fired at him with a revolver at close range on Tuesday, could face ten years in jail if convicted.

The 18-year-old became the first person shot during the pro-democracy protests that began in June — fuelling anger against the government.

Accused: Tsang Chi-kin is taken to hospital after being shot

Dozens of supporters gathered outside court as he was charged in his absence yesterday. And more than 1,000 students marched at Hong Kong’s Chinese University in a show of solidarity with him.

Police say the shooting was justified because the officer involved had feared for his life as Tsang came at him wielding a rod.

The teen is among seven people charged with rioting after Tuesday’s 70th anniversary of China’s communist regime saw the worst violence of the protests so far.

A ban on masks — worn by many protesters to avoid identification — is being considered as authorities battle to quell the unrest. It could be introduced along with other tough measures under emergency powers dating back to the British colonial era.

Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam will discuss the plans tomorrow at an executive council meeting. But protest leaders and some legislative council members have warned a crackdown will only serve to further alienate the people and provoke a furious backlash.

Legislator Michael Tien said he believed the crackdown could work if the government met the protesters’ main demand — an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality.

‘They need to use carrot and stick at the same time,’ he said.