A Hong Kong student who fell from a vehicle park while police and protesters were clashing last weekend has died, hospital officials said Friday, in a development likely to further escalate tensions after months of violent rallies in the city.
Chow was taken unconscious to hospital early on Monday morning following late-night clashes between police and protesters in a middle-class district.
Chow fell from the third floor to the second floor of a parking garage in the Tseung Kwan O neighborhood while police worked nearby to disperse protesters.
The Hong Kong government said in a statement it expressed "great sorrow and regret" over the student's death, and extended sympathies to his family.
"Today we mourn the loss of the freedom fighter in HK", Joshua Wong, a pro-democracy campaigner, said on Twitter.
Qiu Hong, deputy head of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), speaks at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in Hong Kong, south China, Nov. 6, 2019. "We will not leave anyone behind - what we start together, we finish together".
Demonstrators had thronged the hospital over this week to pray for Chow, leaving flowers and hundreds of get well messages on walls and notice boards inside the building.
The months of sometimes violent anti-government protests have plunged the former British colony into its biggest crisis in decades, with no sign that the protesters plan to surrender.More news: 'E.T.' star Henry Thomas arrested for DUII in Oregon
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"Wake up soon. Remember we need to meet under the LegCo", said one message, referring to the territory's Legislative Council, one of the targets of the protest rallies.
About 1,000 students, many wearing black masks, attended a graduation ceremony at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Thursday, with some holding up banners urging "Free Hong Kong, Revolution Now".
On Friday, the president of the university also confirmed Chow's death.
Chow's death came on graduation day for many students at his university, located in the Clear Water Bay district.
Students and young people have been at the forefront of the thousands who have taken to the streets since June to press for greater democracy, among other demands, and rally against perceived Chinese meddling in the Asian financial hub.
The student union said it would hold another vigil in the evening. Hong Kong is bracing for a weekend of rallies that have been planned in areas across the city, beginning Friday.
The long-running protests were triggered by a now-shelved extradition bill to mainland China, but have extended todemands for direct elections and an independent investigation into alleged police brutality.
With Beijing and Hong Kong's unpopular leader Carrie Lam refusing to offer a political solution to the protesters' grievances, violence has spiralled on both sides of the ideological divide.