Hong Kong protester shot by police last year now in exile - group
HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Hong Kong student protester who was shot dead by police during anti-government demonstrations last year and later charged with rioting and assaulting officials is in exile in an undisclosed location, an advocacy group said Tuesday.
19-year-old Tsang Chi-kin was shot and wounded on October 1, 2019 during protests on the Chinese National Day. He was the first of two people to be shot dead by police during months of anti-democracy protests in the former British colony.
Tsang failed to appear for a trial Tuesday, and a UK-based anti-China advocacy group, Friends of Hong Kong, said he and several other protesters had left the city.
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"Kin ... is now officially declaring they are in exile," the group said in a statement. No mention was made of how he left or where he was.
On his previous court appearance in October, Tsang said he intended to plead guilty to the charges brought against him.
However, he also feared being investigated for violating a new national security law that penalizes collusion with foreign forces.
That concern arose from a failed asylum application at the US consulate along with some of his friends in October this year, the group said.
The US consulate said at the time, without naming Tsang or giving details, that US policy worldwide was that asylum could only be sought upon arrival on US soil.
In June, China covered the comprehensive autonomous Hong Kong with the comprehensive security law. The law, along with coronavirus restrictions on group meetings, effectively ended the protests.
The group said Tsang's 15-year-old friend suspected she was also being investigated by Hong Kong authorities and that she was in the UK, settled down and tried to continue her studies.
"Kin and his friends are not concerned about safety," the group said.
(Reporting by Jessie Pang; writing by Marius Zaharia; editing by Robert Birsel)
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