Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

Cause of Hong Kong student’s death remains unclear as car park owner releases CCTV footage

The investment trust which owns a car park where a local university student died after falling from height has released security camera footage from the night in question, but the circumstances around the incident remain unclear.

Chow Tsz-lok, a 22-year-old second-year Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) student, fell from the Sheung Tak car park’s third floor onto the second floor in the early hours of Monday in Tseung Kwan O. He was left in critical condition for the rest of the week and died after suffering a cardiac arrest on Friday morning.

car park

Two people make an appearance at 12:46am on the 3rd floor of the car park. Photo: Screenshot.

Police were conducting a dispersal operation of a protest nearby at the time.

On Wednesday, Link Real Estate Investment Trust released CCTV footage from six security cameras between around 11pm on Sunday and 2am on Monday. The videos did not capture the student falling.

Police estimated that Chow may have fallen between 12:45am and 1:15am on Monday.

car park

A person appearing at 1:04am on 3rd floor of the car park. Photo: Screenshot.

There remain different versions over the cause of the incident including one claim from a first-aider, widely shared online, that Chow was fleeing from tear gas fired by the police – an account which the force denied. Police also denied rumours that Chow was fleeing from officers chasing after him.

There was no tear gas visible in the security camera footage.

car park

A quick movement at 1:02am seen on 2nd floor of the car park. Photo: Screenshot.

An anonymous police source told Ming Pao that Chow entered the car park at 12:20am. The source said officers fired tear gas between 12:41am and 12:57am outside of the car park – after Chow entered. They said the claim that Chow had entered the facility to escape tear gas was unfounded.

The footage also did not appear to show police chasing Chow. A burst of light appearing around the time as Chow’s fall was captured by the security camera on the second floor at 1:02am, but its cause remains unclear.

riot police car park

A group of riot police entering the car park’s ground floor at 1:05am. Photo: Screenshot.

Riot police only appeared inside the car park at around 1:05am, according to the footage.

Meanwhile, Citizen News obtained a dashcam video from a driver near the carpark which appeared to show riot police leaving the car park at 11:28 pm on Sunday. It contradicted a previous claim from the police which said officers did not enter the car park until 1:05am on Monday. However, the video does not show whether the officers had anything to do with Chow’s fall.

On Friday, hours after news broke of Chow’s death, protests broke out in Central, Mong Kok and Kwun Tong.

Hundreds gathered at the HKUST and marched to the president’s residence with a large banner reading “In memory of classmate Chow.” They spray-painted protest slogans on the walls of the president’s residence, including: “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times” and “Condemn police violence.”

Cause of Hong Kong student's death remains unclear as car park owner releases CCTV footage