HONG KONG: A member of Hong Kong's ambulance crew was injured after being “repeatedly hit” by protesters while helping a patient during the demonstrations at the airport on Tuesday night (Aug 13).
Hong Kong’s Fire Services Department said the “radical acts of some protesters had seriously affected” ambulance services on Tuesday, after clashes broke out between demonstrators and authorities at the airport.
In a statement on Wednesday night, the fire service said protesters had “refused to make way for them”, and it took a long time to reach the injured to treat them and take them to hospital.
“In one serious case, it took more than three hours for the crew to take the injured person to the ambulance for conveyance to hospital,” the statement added.
“An ambulanceman sustained injury after being repeatedly hit by protesters while handling the injured person. It was also noted that some protestors snatched or damaged ambulance tools and equipment, causing serious hindrance to the rescue operations.”
The fire service said it “strongly condemns” the acts, and that it will provide emergency ambulance services to all members of the public, “irrespective of their identity and background”.
A spokesperson for the authority added: “We must stress that ambulance personnel have to race against time in the provision of emergency ambulance service.
“Any delay in the process may cause patients to miss the best timing for treatment and pose serious threats to their lives.”
"OUR MOST SINCERE APOLOGIES": PROTEST GROUP
Protesters turned on two men at the airport on Tuesday. One was accused of being a police officer from mainland China and another of being a spy masquerading as a journalist.
One of the men was held for about two hours and the other zip-tied and beaten until other demonstrators and firefighters took them to the ambulance.
The man who was beaten was later identified to be a journalist working for China’s state-controlled tabloid Global Times.
Protesters also attacked a police officer with batons, forcing him to draw his gun and point it at them.
On Wednesday, one protest group, which has organised anonymous press conferences previously, said in a statement they were sorry for the chaos.
“After months of prolonged resistance, we are frightened, angry and exhausted. Some of us have become easily agitated and over-reacted last night,” the statement read.
“For this we feel pained and dispirited and would like to express our most sincere apologies.”