Hong Kong student dies after fall during protest clash

Protest at Chinese University of Hong Kong

Chow was taken to hospital in an unconscious state in the early hours of Monday morning following late-night clashes between police and protesters.

"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.

He was found lying unconscious in a pool of blood inside a vehicle park that police had fired tear gas towards after protesters hurled objects from the building.

Masked students disrupted the school's graduation commencement on Thursday. The university president dabbed away tears as he announced Chow's "tragic" death Friday, the second day of the convocation, with the audience standing to observe a moment of silence. A police spokesperson confirmed that tear gas had been fired near the auto park where protesters and officers clashed.

Police denied claims the computer science student had been pushed to his death and that officials delayed emergency services.

The worldwide finance hub has been shaken by five months of huge and increasingly violent protests calling for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability.

"Today we mourn the loss of the freedom fighter in HK", Joshua Wong, a pro-democracy campaigner, said on Twitter.

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Students and young people have been at the forefront of the hundreds of 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. Last month, police shot two teens with live bullets in separate incidents but both recovered.

"Due to the special circumstances, different people argued as they expressed their opinions, (with) graffiti around the campus, and interruption during the ceremony", it said in a statement.

Lai added that the university would hold a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m., in addition to an evening memorial at the vehicle park where Chow fell.

The student union said they would hold another vigil in the evening while the university urged students to stay calm to "avoid further clashes and tragedy".

Calls emerged online for memorial events to mourn Mr Chow in multiple locations, including at the garage in the suburb where he fell. Hong Kong is bracing for a weekend of rallies that have been planned in areas across the city, beginning Friday.

Protesters are demanding fully free elections to choose the city's leader, as well as an investigation into alleged abuses by police.

Sparked by a since-withdrawn bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, the protest movement expanded to include calls for greater democracy, morphing into the biggest challenge to Beijing's rule over the former colony since its return to China in 1997.

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