YY 20 years old Boxing Coach
One evening in late 2019, YY was waiting for his friends outside of Prince Edward MTR Station. The riot police suddenly rushed out of the Mong Kok Police Station and started randomly beating up people. While protecting a young girl, YY was hit with a police baton, causing a cracked left clavicle. After he was arrested, it took over 20 hours for him to get permission to see a doctor. YY used to be a boxing coach, but now his shoulders are unbalanced, and he still feels pain from the wound. He had no choice but to quit his job.
The attack was not expected. “I wasn’t at a protest. I didn’t do anything wrong. How could I be charged for illegal assembly if there were only one or two people?” asked YY. When a confession was made, a police officer deliberately teased him, saying, “you wouldn’t have been arrested if you didn’t run!” YY knew this was false. “Someone else didn’t run but was arrested anyway because the police found a laser pen on him,” said YY.
Since August 31st, the Prince Edward MTR Station has turned into a memorial site. Citizens have brought in flowers and left them there. The police repeatedly beat up the passerby by claiming that they needed to disperse the crowd. “That night, my friend was at the Prince Edward MTR Station. I tried asking him to leave, but he claimed he needed to wait for someone there. I didn’t want to leave him behind. If something bad had happened to him, I would have felt terrible.” All of a sudden, the riot police rushed out of the Mong Kok Police Station. YY was trim and reacted quickly. When an officer tried to hit the girl on her head, he covered her with his body, injuring his clavicle.
He dragged the girl forward, but there was another group of police in front of them. They were trapped, and YY was pushed onto the ground. “I immediately raised my hands to surrender. I was lucky since I was only hit once on my leg before taken into the police car,” said YY. During his detention, YY couldn’t sit comfortably because of the pain from his shoulder and couldn’t sleep either because the police kept hitting the metal gate. YY was jailed for a total of 44 hours, including the time he went to see a doctor at a hospital. The doctor only prescribed him pain medication. The crack on YY’s clavicle needed time to heal on its own, so he was in pain for months. YY was charged with illegal assembly but was unconditionally released by the police after refusing a bail extension.
The girl who was rescued by YY was his friend’s friend and they had just met for the first time that night. After being arrested, she still sneered at the police. “I’m not sure what had made her change. She no longer cared about politics after she was released from the police station, and we haven’t contacted each other since then,” said YY. He was frustrated and this made him wonder if his sacrifice was worthwhile.
YY thinks he is responsible for helping those who are in need. Before his injury, he was a frontline protester. At the protest on August 25th in Tsuen Wan, the police deployed water cannons for the first time. YY stood at the very front row and witnessed a tear gas bomb ricochet off a protester’s umbrella. He inhaled a lot of smoke even though he was wearing a face mask. “It was scary. I worried that it would have turned into the situation like the one in New Town Plaza.” On July 15th, the police rushed into New Town Plaza in Shatin to beat up people. “If so, I would have died. There were several female civilians there. If something happened, I would have felt responsible for protecting them, but they ended up hiding in a church,” said YY.
Although YY hates the police now, he graduated from the Diploma Yi Jin in Disciplinary Forces program in 2019 and had planned to join the police force. The Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement made him change his mind as well as his career path. “There are always sacrifices for people to come out to fight for their freedom, but these sacrifices also bring hope for a better future.”
YY’s family is financially support by him and his father, “After I was released from the police station, my father told me he understood what I did, but he still thought that the young people are destroying Hong Kong by interfering others from going to work. I don’t think he fully understands yet. If one day, Hong Kong turns into a concentration camp just like Xin Jiang, where everyone is being monitored by the government, nobody can do what they want, nobody can voice out their complaints,” said YY.
Photography：Ko Chung Ming 高仲明
Text：Choi Wai Man 蔡慧敏
Translation：Joanna Ng (Switch language on top left corner)
About the series▾
Ko Chung-ming is a local Hong Kong photographer, having an over 20-year of experience in the field, he specializes in shooting photo-stories, in-depth coverage. His work 《Wounds of Hong Kong 港傷》 entered theSony World Photography Awards 2020 – Professional Group last three.
“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”Scars and bruises may fade, but we must remember what caused them.
Ko states that the purpose of《Wounds of Hong Kong》is to record police brutality, and provided an in-depth interview story with each Hong Kong people who engaged in the movement. Amnesty International Hong Kong picked 10 stories out of 24, presenting to the public.