HONG KONG (DPA) - Hong Kong police have classified the death of a 70-year-old man hit in the head by a brick at a clash between protesters and a group trying to clear a roadblock as murder, officials told a police briefing on Friday (Nov 15).
The elderly man was an outsourced cleaner from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and was on his lunch break when the clash occurred in Sheung Shui, a district in the far North of Hong Kong.
The man was admitted to the Prince of Wales Hospital, and was said to be in critical condition before his death was announced on Thursday night.
Videos of the incident show that the man was not throwing any bricks in the clash, but was taking a photo or video of the incident on his mobile phone when a protester allegedly threw a brick at him, knocking him out.
Senior Superintendent Chan Tin Chu said at the briefing that he believes the attack was malicious, broadcaster RTHK quoted him as saying.
Police said more than 10 people were clearing bricks on Lung Wan Street when they were attacked by more than 20 masked protesters clad in black, RTHK reported.
Video clips also show the man lying on the ground unconscious while volleys of bricks are being thrown by the protesters and the group trying to clear the roadblock.
The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department released a statement on Friday saying it was saddened by the incident and will "provide all appropriate support and assistance to them (the man's family) as far as practicable".
Expressing outrage over the malicious acts, the Hong Kong government said that the police will make every effort to investigate the case to bring the offenders to justice.
Hong Kong enters its sixth month of protests, as calls to withdraw a now-shelved extradition Bill evolved into a call for greater democratic reforms and an investigation into alleged police violence.