A young woman who suffered a severe eye injury during an anti-government protest outside a Hong Kong police station has not gone blind, according to a hospital source.
Protesters have made an icon of the woman, who has been discharged from hospital, featuring her in posters and slogans as a testament to "police brutality".
The woman was sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei for treatment and underwent surgery.
Protesters say she was hit by a police beanbag round during a violent protest on August 11, but the force is not taking the blame pending an investigation.
Her injury deepened protesters' anger towards the police force and sparked more demonstrations, including one at Hong Kong International Airport on August 12, where many chanted "an eye for an eye".
There had been fears the woman could lose her eye, which was ruptured, but the hospital source told the Post that at the moment she was not blind, although there were still uncertainties ahead.
She also sustained fractures on her nasal and maxilla, or upper fixed jaw, bones.
"Her right eye can sense light," the source said. "The worst situation did not happen."
But the source said it was not yet possible to tell how much vision remained as her condition had not yet stabilised.
"There can be some complications a few weeks to months after the injury," the source said, citing retinal detachment and injury to the nerve of the eye as some of the possible problems.
The source also did not rule out the possibility that the woman's eye condition could improve further, adding that she may need more surgery to help her recovery.
"The follow-ups will take a long time," the source said.
The cause of the woman's injury has been hotly disputed since she was found lying on Nathan Road with blood pouring from her eye on August 11 on a night of violence.
Demonstrators had besieged the police station for hours and the popular shopping area around the compound became like a war zone as officers fired tear gas and beanbag rounds.
Protesters accused police of causing the woman's injury, after photos and videos circulating online showed a bloodstained pair of protective goggles which appeared to have been damaged by a beanbag round.
But pro-government supporters had suggested the injury was caused by protesters, as a video recorded on the night showed a person launching a projectile with a catapult in the same area at around the same time.
At a police press conference on Monday, Senior Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah of the organised crime and triad bureau said the force still did not know how the woman's injury occurred. He urged witnesses to contact police to help clarify what happened.
The source refused to say whether any item that could have caused the injury was found on the woman, and declined to say whether the hospital had managed to identify the cause.
The source said, however, that in most cases, doctors generally were not able to identify items causing an injury based on the condition of bone fractures.
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There have been 21/2 months of protests sparked by a now-abandoned extradition bill, which would have allowed Hong Kong to send suspects to jurisdictions with which the city have no such agreement, including mainland China. Protesters have set a list of five demands for the government including the official withdrawal of the bill and an inquiry into police use of force.
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