Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protesters Hold Vigil to Mourn Student’s Death

March 8, 2020 Updated: March 8, 2020

HONG KONG—Hundreds of black-clad Hong Kong protesters, holding candles, returned on March 8 to the parking lot where a student fell to his death in November, vowing to continue their fight for greater democracy in the Chinese-ruled city.

The death of Chow Tsz-lok, 22, who fell from the third to the second floor in a parking lot in the eastern Tseung Kwan O district as police cleared crowds in the area, was the catalyst for some of the most intense clashes since the protests escalated in June last year.

Fears over COVID-19 have reduced the scale and frequency of protests this year, but there have been violent demonstrations on some weekends.

On March 8, protesters, mostly in trademark black clothing and surgical masks, laid down white flowers, origami cranes, and messages on colored post-it notes at a makeshift altar where placards read “Keep the heat; Fight until the end.”

One protester was waving a “Liberate Hong Kong” black flag, while a banner that read “murderer” was hung up.

There was a heavy riot police presence nearby and at least one arrest was made.

“It’s very touching. When I came here half an hour ago, I almost cried, because I didn’t expect so many people would come today,” said 22-year-old computer programmer Sean Chow, who is not related to the student who died.

His death “means something that is unresolved and something that needs to be fully investigated, and I believe all the people here want an answer. It’s an absolute tragedy.”

Earlier on March 8, Hong Kong police said they arrested 17 people aged 21 to 53 during an overnight raid of 22 apartments in relation to a series of bomb plots between late January and early February.

Items including three homemade bombs, three electronic circuits, and 2,600 kilograms of chemicals were found.

Police claimed the bombs were intended to be used in public events and aimed at police officers.

Protesters are angry about what they see as creeping Chinese interference in Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula intended to guarantee freedoms that are not enjoyed on the mainland.

Last year’s protests ignited over an extradition bill that many felt violated the framework, as it would have allowed the Chinese regime to transfer individuals from Hong Kong to face trial in Communist Party-controlled courts.