Macau police fire warning shot during scuffle with smokers outside luxury hotel, three arrested

Macau police have detained three Chinese men after a brawl on Wednesday night where one officer fired a warning shot into the air outside a well-known resort in the city, according to local reports.

The incident took place at 11.20pm on Thursday, when officers on duty outside the luxury Galaxy Macau resort tried to stop the men from smoking in a non-smoking area.

A fight broke out when the men began pushing an officer, who then drew his baton to warn them, while two women attempted to stop the men, a video posted on social media site Facebook showed.

As the scuffle continued, another five-second clip showed the officer finally pointing his gun in the air, followed by a loud sound of gunfire.

Macau police said nobody was shot, and the men, whom the police described as smelling of alcohol, will be charged with five offences including assault and contempt. The case will be sent to court at 3pm on Friday.

The police officer who fired the shot sustained injuries to his arms, legs and stomach, and was taken to the Conde S. Januario Hospital for treatment. He has been discharged.

In reply to the Post's inquiries, the Macau police said: "Police in Macau are authorised to fire their weapon for self-defence if the surroundings are safe and they have already given verbal warnings and if drawing their weapon still does not stop the threat."

In another reply to local media, the police said that the attacker suddenly became emotional and assaulted the police officer, who was dealing with a few men who were smoking in the non-smoking area. The officer had drawn his baton but still sustained injuries.

"He then drew his gun to warn off the concerned person, but when such an action failed to fend them off, he fired one shot in the air to warn them."

The men were later immobilised by other officers, who were called to the scene for reinforcement.

Last November, a Hong Kong police officer shot and injured a 55-year-old man after he pulled out a knife when he was approached for questioning. Doctors have said the man may never walk again.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.