Hong Kong man shot dead by police after supermarket knife attack

PHOTO: South China Morning Post

Hong Kong police on Saturday shot dead a knife-wielding man in Yau Ma Tei after he attacked the manager at a local supermarket.

Officers spotted the man shortly before he dashed into Kai Bo Food Supermarket at the junction of Reclamation Street and Pak Hoi Street.

A single shot was fired. The shop manager meanwhile suffered a knife wound to the head.

A police spokeswoman said the case had been reported to the force at 12.34pm.

Officers patrolling the area had noticed the man running towards Pak Hoi Street with a 40cm knife, according to Tsang Chung-bun, assistant district commander (crime) superintendent for the Yau Tsim police district.

They chased and shouted at him but he ignored them and ran inside the shop.

"Without a word, he just started attacking the store manager," Tsang said.

Police gave him two warnings before opening fire. When he tried to strike the victim again, an officer shot him from about a metre away, Tsang added. The bullet struck the right side of his chest.

The supermarket manager sustained injuries to the back of his head. Both the men were sent to nearby Kwong Wah Hospital, where the attacker was certified dead at 1.21pm.

"According to our initial investigations, a few minutes before the attack, there was a dispute between the manager and the suspect. The suspect then left the scene, found a knife nearby and went back into the store to attack him," Tsang said.

Police were investigating the suspect's motive and whether it was necessary to use a gun.

Under the Police General Orders, officers are allowed to open fire in three circumstances: to protect anyone - including themselves - from death or serious injury; to bring about the arrest of a person who has just committed a serious or violent crime; or to quell a riot or insurrection.

A woman who runs a vegetable store outside the supermarket said the dead man had been a regular in the neighbourhood.

"He behaves weirdly and we know he steals stuff so we're always careful of him," said the woman, who declined to give her name.

A supermarket staff member said he had noticed a man behaving suspiciously in the store some time before the incident, as if he were trying to steal something, according to Yau Tsim Mong district councillor Benny Yeung Tsz-hei, who cited information from police and witnesses.

The manager then shouted at the suspect, telling him to leave, said Yeung, speaking at the scene.

In November last year Hong Kong police faced criticism after an officer opened fire in a crowded public area. A policewoman shot an assailant in the abdomen after he came at her and a colleague with a blade at Sham Shui Po MTR station.

Police also drew criticism in July last year after officers fired two shots near a housing estate in Tuen Mun when a suspected triad member tried to run them down with a car.

This article was first published on South China Morning Post.