A journalist covering demonstrations in Hong Kong was recovering Monday after being hit by a Molotov cocktail, which disturbing video shows left part of his head in flames.
The man, on assignment for Hong Kong’s public broadcaster, is seen trying to put out the fire that engulfed his head and neck during the incident Sunday.
The journalist was hospitalized with burns on a “small part of his face,” a spokeswoman for Radio Television Hong Kong, the territory’s public broadcaster, told Reuters.
“Now he is fine,” she said, declining to give the journalist’s name, but confirming that he was from Hong Kong.
People nearby ran to help the man, who was hit by the incendiary device tossed by protesters, a witness told the news outlet.
The journalist, who was wearing a helmet marked Press, and a high-visibility yellow vest, had been involved in a live broadcast at the time of the incident, the spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong authorities on Monday brought the first charges under a new anti-mask law, as the former British colony slowly recovered from a third day of protests against the ban that turned violent, according to The Guardian.
The government insisted the prohibition, which was unveiled Friday, was needed to end four months of demonstrations, but instead it has only inflamed tensions across the territory.
Tens of thousands protesters — most wearing masks in a show of defiance — turned out in pouring rain to march peacefully to denounce the law and police violence.
A man and a woman were charged with illegally covering their faces on Monday morning, the first time the law has been used, and appeared in a coutroom where many supporters gathered while wearing face masks themselves, according to The Guardian.
The mask ban was implemented under a colonial-era emergency regulations ordinance, which gives Chief Executive Carrie Lam almost unlimited power.
Critics say the use of the emergency powers – which have never been used since the territory’s handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997 — is unjustified, and a first step toward authoritarianism.
Hong Kong’s last governor Chris Patten assailed Lam for her government’s heavy-handed measures, warning that the situation was likely to deteriorate further unless she started to negotiate with protesters.
“The way forward is to engage with the demonstrators, particularly the peaceful demonstrators,” he told Sky news, highlighting two incidents in which teens were seriously injured by armed officers.
“Before long, unless we’re very, very lucky, people are going to get killed, people are going to get shot. The idea that with public order policing, you send police forces out with live bullets, with live ammunition, is preposterous,” he said.