OFW in Hong Kong faints as anti-riot police use tear gas


Posted at Oct 07 2019 12:11 PM

A protester stands in front of a cloud of tear gas during an anti-government rally in central Hong Kong, China October 6, 2019. Jorge Silva, Reuters

MANILA - An overseas Filipino worker who was hanging out with her friends in Hong Kong lost consciousness after police used tear gas to dispel democracy protesters on Monday.

Joy Palmera, 30, had difficulty breathing after the tear gas canisters were fired at a playground in Wanchai district, where OFWs had just finished a basketball game.

Unlike other Filipinos, Palmera failed to cover her mouth with a towel to avoid inhaling the smoke before she slumped to the ground and was loaded into an ambulance, one of her friends said.

Palmera, who hails from Davao, has yet to regain consciousness, according to another source.

Her employer has been notified of the incident, said her friend.

Hong Kong on Sunday was rocked by fresh violence as police battled tens of thousands of protesters who hit the streets to defy a ban on face masks at public gatherings.

In one incident, a taxi driver was beaten bloody in the district of Sham Shui Po after he drove into a crowd that had surrounded his car. A crowd meanwhile ransacked nearby government offices, while multiple Chinese banks and subway stations were vandalized across the city.

Hospital authorities said 3 people had been admitted in serious condition.

Hong Kong has been battered by 18 consecutive weekends of unrest, fanned by widespread public anger over Chinese rule and the police response to protests.

The rallies were ignited by a now-scrapped plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, which fueled fears of an erosion of liberties promised under the 50-year "one country, 2 systems" model China agreed to ahead of the 1997 handover by Britain.

After Beijing and local leaders took a hard stance, the demonstrations snowballed into a wider movement calling for more democratic freedoms and police accountability.

The worst clashes to date erupted last Tuesday as China celebrated 70 years of Communist Party rule, with a teenager shot and wounded by police as he attacked an officer.

Protester demands include an independent inquiry into the police, an amnesty for the more than 2,000 people arrested and universal suffrage -- all requests rejected by Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and Beijing.
With reports from Jefferson Mendoza, ABS-CBN News and Agence France-Presse