25 January 2021

Paul Harris: We Mustn't Give Up; Calls HKNSL “Disgrace”, Plans to Persuade Gov to Amend even It’s Hard

20:16 22 Jan: Paul Harris Calls HKNSL “Disgrace”, Plans to Persuade Gov to Amend even It’s Hard
Translated by HKCT, written by Leung Hoi-ching, Chan Tsz-kwan, Chan Wing-chi (梁凱澄, 陳紫君, 陳詠姿)@Stand News, photography by Lau Tsz-hong (劉子康)
Original: https://www.thestandnews.com/politics/%E5%B0%88%E8%A8%AA-%E6%96%A5%E5%9C%8B%E5%AE%89%E6%B3%95%E6%81%A5%E8%BE%B1-%E6%93%AC%E4%BF%83%E6%94%BF%E5%BA%9C%E4%BF%AE%E8%A8%82%E6%A2%9D%E6%96%87-%E5%A4%8F%E5%8D%9A%E7%BE%A9%E4%B8%8A%E4%BB%BB%E5%A4%A7%E5%BE%8B%E5%B8%AB%E5%85%AC%E6%9C%83%E4%B8%BB%E5%B8%AD%E7%9A%84%E7%AC%AC%E4%B8%80%E5%A4%A9/ 


Paul Harris, 68, a veteran barrister, was elected unopposed as the new Bar Association President on 21 Jan, succeeding his predecessor, Philip Dykes.

Speaking to the media after his election that night, Harris said that the Bar Association and the rule of law in Hong Kong were facing a difficult time, adding in Cantonese, “I am worried that Hong Kong's freedom will not continue. I will try to protect freedom in Hong Kong, I will try my best. I don't know if I'll succeed.”

Taking over the baton at a time of turmoil entails an unpredictable course of challenges. In an interview with Stand News the morning after his election, he confessed that until early December last year, he had never thought about becoming chairman of the Association.

“But many senior members of the Bar came to me and asked me to run for the chairman seat, and they were very convincing. I guess they wanted my background in human rights law, and they were thinking that someone with absolutely no relatives in mainland China would be a good candidate.” As far as Paul Harris knows, no one had been willing to take over the chairmanship until he was approached by his peers. “I guess it has something to do with the fact that the situation of the rule of law is so difficult now,” he said.

After he was elected that night, he said he hoped that during his term he would be able to negotiate with the government for changes to some of the provisions of Hong Kong's national security laws. In an interview with Stand News, he also said that he hoped that fighting for the resumption of extradition agreements with European and American countries would be an incentive for the government to consider amending those provisions of the National Security Law that are clearly in conflict with the Basic Law or the spirit of the rule of law.

“But I have no illusions — this will be a very difficult, if not impossible, task," Paul Harris said, "but the constitution of the Bar Association says we have to defend the rule of law and that is what I will try to do... But I am clear in my mind, that's got to be my main task.”

- “We can’t have the rule of law if some people are above the law” -

A specialist in public and human rights law, Harris became a Senior Counsel in 2006 and was the founding Chairman of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor. He has acted in a number of notable cases relating to the right to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration in the early years of handover. For example, Harris represented in the David Ma case in 1997 (arguing the legality of the Provisional Legislative Council), the Ng Kung-siu flag burning case in 1999 (arguing the legality of the restrictions on freedom of expression under the National Flag Law) and Christine Chan’s case involving a Tibetan flag in 2008 (arguing whether police arrests infringed the right to assembly). The case of Yeung May-wan [FACC19/2004], a Falun Gong member who demonstrated outside the Liaison Office in 2005, was a landmark case, as the Court of Final Appeal ruled that the arrest of Falun Gong practitioners for "street obstruction" was unlawful, as the Basic Law protects their constitutional right to demonstrate peacefully.

In the 6 months since the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, a total of 4 people have been formally charged and nearly 100 arrested for alleged national security offences. Harris criticised the recent arrests of participants and organisers of the pro-democracy primaries by the National Security Department of the police, saying that the national security law is pushing Hong Kong further towards a police state.

He said he did not agree with the concept of “mutual destruction” (laam chaau) and agreed that those who advocate it may have violated the national security law, but he noted that not every primary election participant agreed to the “mutual destruction” agenda and there was no reason for the police to arrest them simply because they were involved, “I am shocked, like most people... This is absolutely travesty.”

In the early morning of 6 Jan 2021, more than 50 pro-democracy activists were arrested at almost the same time by officers of the National Security Department, some of whom were detained at different police stations for more than 30 hours and even 40 hours before being released on bail. “This is completely unnecessary, and is another example of how the National Security Law undermines Hong Kong's freedom," he said.

“Most of them [primaries candidates] are law-abiding people. If you appoint them to go to a police station to be arrested, they will go. This seems to be a deliberate attempt to intimidate people, which is very disgusting.” said Harris.

Harris expects that after the epidemic is over, the people will have street demonstrations again, as the national security law has failed to bring real calm to Hong Kong. While he is strongly against violence and violent demonstrations, he said “It is completely untrue to say that the national security law was used to prevent violent demonstrations... Beijing is making these demonstrations out to be directed by foreign forces, and I don't see any evidence to prove it. I've met a lot of people who were involved in the demonstrations and they were Hong Kong people who had very strong opinions about what was going on, and they were definitely not instigated by any forces.”

“The Hong Kong National Security Law is designed to take away Hong Kong’s freedom, bring in more of the Mainland system to Hong Kong. It has nothing to do with maintaining public order.”

He agrees with the criticism that the national security law is a disgrace. But unless the Hong Kong Legislative Council can legislate on its own in the near future, he believes it is not realistic to call for the withdrawal of the entire national security law. In his view, a possible option is to negotiate with the government, especially the Secretary for Justice, Teresa Cheng, to amend some of the most controversial provisions of the national security law, or to add some new provisions to make the national security law more acceptable than it is now.

Why did the Hong Kong government do as Harper says? Harper believes the incentive is that 9 countries have already suspended their extradition agreements with Hong Kong. I hope this will make the government stop and think, or at least consider making some changes to reassure the public," he said. But he is not too optimistic, "Or maybe it's a total impossibility, I might hit a brick wall and (the government) refuses to have a dialogue at all, I don't know yet. I don't know the Secretary for Justice personally, I haven't met her before.” said Harris.

Harris’ main concern is that articles 14 and 60 of the National Security Law stipulate that the decisions of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security and the conduct of the personnel of Office for Safeguarding National Security of the CPG in the HKSAR are not subject to interference by the jurisdiction of Hong Kong.

“This is of paramount importance. The meaning of the provisions is that they can kidnap people at will without legal consequence, not to mention assault, burglary, intrusion into homes, and any other acts. We cannot enjoy the rule of law when some people are above the law,” he said.

Harris also cited a number of provisions in the National Security Law, such as Article 46, which provides for cases to be heard without a jury; Article 43, which empowers national security departments to require persons in possession of information to answer questions; and Article 19, which exempts national security spending from existing legal requirements. Another provision that has caused many people to worry is articles 55 and 56, which provide that if 3 specific circumstances are met, including complex circumstances involving foreign intervention, Office for Safeguarding National Security of the CPG in the HKSAR will exercise jurisdiction over the case and refer it to the People's Court of China for trial.

Harris criticised these 2 provisions as a clear violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration's commitment to Hong Kong. “We need to acknowledge frankly that there are no independent judges in the Mainland and no fair trials as we understand them in Hong Kong. If someone can be brought back to the Mainland for trial, that's terrible and it can happen to anyone.”

- Independent ruling by the courts? Harris: confident and concerned -

Beyond the content of the legal provisions, how the court interprets them also affects their substantive impact. Harris is currently representing Adam Ma Chun-man, who has been charged with "inciting secession” for allegedly chanting slogans. In his bail application for Ma, Harris argued that the "act without the use of force" in Article 20 of the National Security Law meant a serious unlawful act, but that the defendant was only chanting slogans and "peacefully advocating secessionist ideas", and that he should be granted bail. However, the trial judge, Alex Lee, found that the provision had already stated that force was not an element of the charge of secession, and that Harris had misinterpreted the provision.

Paul Harris told Stand News that if the prosecution's understanding was that it was an offence to call slogans or write articles advocating Hong Kong's independence, this would be inconsistent with the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Basic Law. He argued that to strike a balance between the national security law and the Basic Law, the interpretation of "non-forceful acts of secession" should be narrowed to include only unlawful acts such as sabotage of infrastructure and computer hacking. But he said that the final interpretation of the national security law would have to be determined by the courts.

“But if the way the government is interpreting the law, you will be arrested if you shout for independence, it is very offensive and creates a very bad atmosphere in society.”

The new Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal, Andrew Cheung, responded to the media earlier, saying that the Hong Kong courts are "battle-hardened" and appealed to the public to trust the courts' ability to interpret national security laws in accordance with common law principles. Does the new Chairman of the Society have confidence?

The courts in Hong Kong have become very accustomed to having to interpret the Ordinance or the Basic Law, according to Harris, but when it comes to national security law, it depends very much on the relationship between the national security law and the Basic Law, and the answer is still very unclear. “Do they have the same legal status? Or does the Basic Law have higher status? When we ask this question, is the answer based on the Mainland law? Or is the answer based on Hong Kong law? This is undoubtedly a very unclear and difficult issue. So... I don't know what the court will ultimately decide.”

What's more, the National Security Law states that the power to interpret the law rests with the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. “My biggest concern is not that the CFA cannot defend the interests of the people, but that it can still be overturned by the NPC Standing Committee in the end. This is one of the shortcomings of the Hong Kong system,” he continued.

In recent years, the court has ruled on sensitive political cases, with local newspapers controlled by the Liaison Office and even Mainland authorities making remarks ahead of the verdict from time to time. Before the NPC Standing Committee intervened, could judges' decisions be free from the influence of central government pressure? Harris described himself as "confident and concerned".

He also criticised the newspaper Ta Kung Pao for its absurd accusations against judges: "Most judges ignore these pressures, but they can still have an impact. Especially when people try to harass judges in their private lives and even their families, it's a horrible and disgusting campaign.”

- The call for judicial reform is to undermine judicial independence” -

In early September 2020, Henry Litton, former CFA permanent judge, wrote an article “For Hong Kong’s sake, the judiciary must regain Beijing’s trust”, in which he wrote: “consistently, the courts have subordinated the common good to the assertions of personal right” and “The courts have, in effect, helped to create the social environment leading to the mayhem wrought on the streets over the past year.” He also said ruling in the anti-mask law case last year showed “total insensitivity” to the policy of “one country, two systems”.

Litton also said, “How did it come about that Beijing has developed such mistrust of the Hong Kong judiciary? The courts have put a slant on the Basic Law, by applying obscure norms and values from overseas which are totally unsuited to Hong Kong’s circumstances.” He ended the op-ed on SCMP by calling for urgent judiciary reform.

Zhang Xiaoming, Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, subsequently praised the article, saying that the Hong Kong judiciary needed to be "reformed". What followed was a wave of criticism of Hong Kong courts and even attacks on individual judges from the pro-China media, the pro-Beijing camp and Mainland scholars, who accused the judiciary of using judicial independence as a pretext for being unregulated, allowing "yellow judges" to make "absurd judgments" and “let rioters off the hook”, and called for the establishment of a "Sentencing Commission" and a “Judicial Officers Supervisory Commission”.

In response to calls for judicial reform, former Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma and Chief Justice Andrew Cheung both reiterated the principle of an independent judiciary and stressed that the current appeal mechanism was more effective. In a recent interview with Stand News, the former chairman of the Bar, Philip Dykes, also reiterated the need for the legal profession to monitor unfounded criticism.

But the more important question is whether the pressure on the judiciary today is the result of systematic pressure from Beijing, or perhaps even the beginning of a complete overhaul? Harris thinks the answer is yes.

I don't think these 'concerns' about 'reform' are really about the quality of justice. The purpose of 'reform' is to undermine judicial independence, which is one of the few remaining defences against the absolute power of the executive in Hong Kong. As for the pro-Beijing legislators’ proposal to set up a 'sentencing commission', Harris said they "have no idea how the [judicial] system works.

However, in an era of extreme politicisation and sensitivity, it seems that people's understanding of the justice system is dependent on the court's decision on the case, with convictions and lenient sentences shaping people's conclusions about the current state of justice. He warned that it is "very foolish" to comment on a case simply because of a news report.

The journalists asked Harris what more the legal profession could do, given that the Judiciary and the Bar Association have issued numerous statements reaffirming the principle of judicial independence in the past, but this does not seem to have helped restore public confidence. Harris believes that it is still very important to reaffirm the right principles.

"Everyone in the legal profession needs to continue to reaffirm these principles... about how judges work, that judges should be independent, and that they get very detailed sentencing guidelines from the cases.

- Looking forward amid uncertain times -

What are the Bar Association's key issues for the coming year, apart from the National Security Law, as new officials take office? “In these uncertain times, it is difficult to say what long-term plans there are, as we do not know what is going to happen in a few months' time,” he said.

Harris said “Last year, no one expected the sudden ousting of four lawmakers, which was a shock. They are good lawmakers. But the seats were suddenly cancelled without due process, as if Beijing had just given the order.”

“I don't know how many unprecedented things will follow, I hope there will be some good news, but at the moment the road ahead looks a bit gloomy.”

Apart from the judiciary, the Bar Association itself is also a frequent target of criticism by the Communist Party’s mouthpiece. Asked if he was worried about a political score-settling one day, Harris said the Bar Association is not a political organisation, but a professional body concerned with the rule of law, which is now seen as a highly politicised issue.

“We are living in very uncertain times and it is impossible to predict what will happen [afterwards], things look gloomy.” Nevertheless, Harper says he will continue to try and sends a message to his peers: "Do not lose hope - if we give up, we lost. We have to keep on trying. Hong Kong's legal system still has resilience and it’s a good system that’s worth fighting for.”.



22 January 2021

Sentenced to 16wks of Jail for 9-Jun Clash outside LegCo, Loses out on PhD Studies at Yale, CUHK Philosophy Student: Not a Matter of Regret or Not

18:37 20 Jan: Sentenced to 16wks of Jail for 9-Jun Clash outside LegCo, Loses out on PhD Studies at Yale, CUHK Philosophy Student: Not a Matter of Regret or Not
Translated by HKCT, written by Isaac@Stand News
Original: Stand News/Isaac 


“I recently bought many new books to bring with me there. I prepared (per Correctional Services Department’s guidelines) of 6 books per month. Some of them are philosophy books related to my research, while some are social science and science books recommended by friends. I want to fill in some gaps in my knowledge.”

CUHK philosophy master student Ling (pseudonym) was one of the 1.03 million people who marched in the march on 9 June 2019. After the march, having heard a cry of “We need people under the Rice Cooker,*” but shortly after reaching there, police officers broke through the blockade and swarmed in to subdue Ling and several other defendants of the same case.


The scene of “7 cops in the dark corner^” ran through his mind, and he could only use his hands to protect his head. Luckily, only his glasses became crushed. Together with 6 others, Ling was brought inside to kneel against a wall of LegCo, and he knelt there for 5 hours straight. In November 2019 when he reported to the police station, he was officially charged with unlawful assembly, accusing him of having stacked some barricades together.

A year and a half since the event, on 13 Jan this year, Ling chose to admit to the charge in court. In his defense, his lawyer said that he graduated with first-class honours, and had received 18 scholarships within 3 years, and could lose out on a chance to study a PhD degree at Yale University. CUHK Vice-President Dennis Ng also wrote a plea letter for him, saying that Ling was “one of the most brilliant student leaders he had seen.”

The Magistrate said that the plea letter was moving, hence reduced Ling’s sentence by 3 weeks. Ling was eventually sentenced to 16 weeks of jail.

- Philosophical Youth -

23yo Ling is a direct young man. When the reported sent him an invitation to interview, he agreed to it within 3 minutes. He spoke at a steady pace, often citing references. Perhaps out of habit, he would organise his speech in syllogistic arguments often used in philosophy – starting with a major premise, then a minor premise, followed by a conclusion. After the interview, he thanked the reporter with a polite, slight bow.

Although by appearance – a scholarly look about him – Ling would seem to fit the stereotypical idea of a philosophy student, he was vastly different from the common stereotype of philosophers as “all talk and no action”. Besides discussing current events and offering mutual support, many CUHK philosophy students applied their theories and principles in person during the social movement.

“By percentage, our (CUHK) Department of Philosophy had quite a few people arrested. I don’t know why, but we just kept having people arrested, haha,” he said jokingly.

“During these times, more philosophy students felt the calling from their training, feeling like they should do more, with a stronger sense that they should take matters into their hands.”

Ling said that this motivation stemmed from their common character, “We all have a sense of justice. We all feel that the pursuit of justice was very important, and we’re willing to spend the time and energy to achieve that.”

Ling was the first defendant in his case, and the 3rd defendant of the same case was also a graduate of CUHK Philosophy, who used to be Ling’s roommate.

On the day of sentencing, nearly 30 young people stood outside the court, some wearing a “PHILOSOPHY” hoodie. There were so many people that the Magistrate’s Court on a rare occasion needed to open a remote court to allow those who could not enter the designated courtroom to watch the proceedings via live broadcast.

- Political Awakening -

Ling was arrested in the wee hours of 10 Jun 2019, and was probably among the first batch of arrestees in the anti-ELAB movement.

The years of deep-seated problems between China and Hong Kong, issues with livelihoods, had already fueled the fire among citizens to the brim. On 9 Jun 2019, the anti-ELAB movement ignited the fire.

Ling said frankly that the sheer number of the crowds that turned out at the march that day made him feel “very happy”, and it was an important moment when he saw a social movement in Hong Kong blossoming and coming to fruition. He said gratefully, “I realised that the street booths that we set up over the past two months worked, and had been effective to make citizens understand this (ELAB). When citizens really understand what’s going on, you will have real political participation.”

The start of Ling’s involvement in politics began much earlier than ELAB. As early as the “Anti-National Education Storm” of 2012, he had come to realise that “As a Hongkonger, you must care for society.” He was only a student in early secondary form then.

In the Umbrella Movement 2 years later, the police launched 87 rounds of tear gas to disperse the crowd. Still a secondary school student at the time, Ling took the effort to seek out information about the police’s guidelines of use of appropriate force, and took the initiative to write an article in the student newspaper; he also shared with his fellow students under what circumstance could tear gas be used, and was considered “proportionate force”. He sometimes would walk around the occupied areas.

To Ling, participating in social movements was a form of making clear his stance, and was also a chance to reflect on his own political consciousness. “For instance, during the Umbrella (Movement), I would think a lot about what constituted the so-called ‘civil disobedience’ and ‘peaceful protest’. What did the entire movement achieve in the end? When would we feel that the movement could come to an end? Why did the Umbrella Movement fail in the end?”

These questions inspired Ling to seek out answers form books, articles, and other countries’ histories and experiences, search deep within his political consciousness, to brainstorm what sort of changes Hong Kong needed.

- Fighting Helplessness -

Change might seem too distant. Now in Hong Kong, everyone still covered their faces with masks, but the streets had become nearly deserted and shouting could rarely be heard. Some uprooted their families and taken them abroad, while others were exhausting themselves to raise their family. Some were put behind bars, while others had charges against them dropped by the Department of Justice. The laws had changed, and it now seemed that anyone could become the target of the next raid. No one knew on any day waking up how many news notifications would pop up on their phone, reporting another number of people having been arrested at their homes.

Ling watched all the latest developments, “Every little chance to demean you, they (the political regime) would not let go.”

Now, what replaced the peace on the streets was a heaviness in the heart. Since the depression after the Umbrella Movement, Hong Kong’s social movement again plunged into a phase of wordlessness and helplessness. Many asked: Where do we go from here?

Ling admitted that a perilous path laid ahead, “Too many small nations had disappeared in the course of history. Their so-called resistance and sacrifice, no one really gives a shit, and these nations had been swallowed in the sands of time.”

Nevertheless, he was not pessimistic.

The premise of despair and helplessness laid in someone really wanting something to happen but it could not happen. For the fate of Hong Kong, it would seem like the tides would not be turning anytime soon. “But I don’t think this is too important…you don’t need to say ‘We’ll see such and such happening during our lifetime’, or speaking like Simon Lau Sai-leung or Stephen Shiu Yeuk-yuen that ‘The next two weeks are crucial’. Such thoughts are completely unnecessary.”

“The movement had never talked about such things, it had always been centred on an ideal, which will become manifest through your work.”

Ling begins a series of self-questioning, “When will this be achieved? No one knows. When will we succeed? No one knows. Will we be successful? No one knows. But we still have to do it!”

If everyone worked towards a common goal in their own ways, then feelings of helplessness was just a false proposition, and that the key laid in adjusting your mentality.

- The Ideal Hong Kong -

To Ling, the question was not to chase after a certain goal, and also not “What sort of place shall Hong Kong become”. Instead, he focused on the contrary in contemplating “What sort of core values should Hong Kong retain”.

He felt that the right to rule in a place was a prerequisite for democracy, and with democracy in place, there could be civil rights and freedoms. However, the discussion on right to rule would probably be out of the discussion for the current generations of Hongkongers. “However, to me, you need to reinforce the relationship between the different stages.” This, he suggested, could be done from the personal stance, building a civil society based on the small stuff in life, protecting civil rights and freedoms.

Ling felt that as long as we all held the same core value, then there could be more possibilities for Hong Kong’s future. However, there should also be an acceptance of various differences. “There should be a minimal number of shared values, because the more shared values there are, there would be disagreements.” The reason why the Anti-ELAB movement of 2019 managed to grow to such a large scale was that it could “unite people from all walks of life and stances behind a simple value. This value, was our strive for Hong Kong people’s political freedom.”

“If you love Hong Kong’s successful, perhaps to some, a comfortable environment, and you realise that such an environment was built by freedoms in life, and you are willing to protect political freedom, which had been built upon the existing freedoms, then this is Hong Kong’s core value.”
* * *
Footnotes:
* Rice Cooker is a nickname for the protest area outside LegCo Complex

^ On 15 Oct 2014, 7 officers were filmed on live news for allegedly having beaten protester Ken Tsang in a dark alley, and the case became one of the most high-profile incidences of police brutality since the Handover, see HKCT’s previous report here: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2618855044998545

HKCT Review 2020: October to December 2020

HKCT Review 2020: October to December 2020



With the 79th Chinese National Day coming on 1 October 2020, almost nobody in Hong Kong under 30 identifies themselves as “Chinese”. According to HKPORI’s final tracking survey results on Hong Kong people’s ethnic identity, rift widens between Chinese and Hong Kong identities and national pride plunges to one in four. All these indicators are at their record lows since the handover and the reasons are nothing more than open secrets. Pieces over pieces of news have been breaking Hongkongers’ hearts.  

19yo Tony Chung - Second Person Charged under Hong Kong's National Security Law

On 29 Oct, Tony Chung, a former leader of pro-independence group Studentlocalism, was denied bail after appearing in West Kowloon Magistrates' Court charged with secession, money laundering and conspiracy to publish seditious material. The teenager is accused of organising, planning, committing or participating in acts with other people with a view to committing secession between 1 July 2020 and 27 October 2020 – the day of his arrest. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2790388994511815)

See also:

External Voting/Out-of-Hong Kong voting

The pro-Beijing camp has always wanted Hongkongers on the Mainland to cast votes because they are sure these voters will all be their supporters. By doing so they can effectively win pan-democrats by lengths. The issue of external voting was mentioned on in the Electoral Affairs Commission's (EAC) Report on the 2020 LegCo General Election released on 12 Oct. In response to the concerns from the members of the public (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2789876991229682), CE responded that the idea of external voting was put forward by the Hong Kong SAR Government based on the aspirations of Hong Kong people living and working on the Mainland conveyed over the years.

See also:

Cathay Pacific’s Massive Lay-off; Cathay Dragon Slayed

COVID-19 means people are grounded and countries are not going to have that many flights everywhere. Unlike SARS, which lasted for less than half a year, COVID-19 is still affecting us as you read. The aviation industry, among others, bears the brunt in suffering losses, and redundancy is inevitable. Cathay Pacific on 21 October announced the lay-off of 5,900 actual positions across the entire Group, which accounts for around 17% of its established headcount. This means some 5,300 Hong Kong-based employees will be fired and about 600 employees based outside of Hong Kong also possibly being affected subject to local regulatory requirements. In view of the devastating news, Eaton HK published a statement to support staff members being affected. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2785570278327020)

All Civil Servants to Take Oath / Sign Declaration

The Civil Service Bureau (CSB) issued a circular to all departments on 12 Oct requiring all civil servants joining the HKSAR Government on or after 1 July 2020 to take an oath or make a declaration that they will uphold the Basic Law, bear allegiance to the HKSAR and be responsible to the HKSAR Government, as one of the conditions for appointment. From July to October 2020, there were a total of about 2 980 civil servants who joined the HKSAR Government and duly made the declaration. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820848721465842) They come from around 140 grades. Around 180,000 civil servants will soon be required to take an oath of allegiance to the Basic Law and the SAR (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830912547126126), and they will be given a month to do so. 

See also:

Mass Resignation of Pan-dem Lawmakers to Respond Four Disqualifications

The controversy of letting some lawmakers deem ineligible to run in the original LegCo election 2020 stay in the extended LegCo term dragged on and perplexed some. Beijing wanted to give these pan-dem lawmakers the benefit of doubt but it turns out they remain "disobedient" in LegCo. In November, the four disqualifications were confirmed after the National People's Congress Standing Committee announced a list of reasons why a lawmaker should be stripped of their seats, including asking external forces to interfere in Hong Kong's affairs or refusing to accept China's sovereignty over the territory. One of the 4 disqualified lawmaker Dennis Kwok said he had no regrets. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2802739149943466) In response to the disqualifications, 15 pan-democratic lawmakers submitted to LegCo Secretariat their resignation letters. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2804070693143645)

See also:

Death of 22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok #AlexChowInquest

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok who fell into a coma after falling from a height at a parking lot during a clash in Tseung Kwan O succumbed to his injuries and died on 8 Nov 2019. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2799868830230498)

In the early hours of 4 Nov, protesters had blocked roads and thrown objects at the police in Tseung Kwan O. The police launched tear gas to disperse the crowd, and Chow had fallen from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park during the clash. The police subsequently admitted that when Chow fell from a height, the riot police had launched tear gas outside the carpark, but whether that was related to the fall, the police didn’t exclude any possibilities. The death inquest of Alex has been carried out for over 20 days and the giving of testimony was expected to be completed on 4 Jan 2021. After that, case would start to be summed up in two days. For more details exposed during the inquest, please read this.

CUHK Reported Students' Protest in Campus to Police

Over 100 graduating students rallied, chanted slogans and raised flags at the campus of the Chinese University on 19 Nov, the day of graduation ceremony. They displayed flags that read “Hong Kong independence, the only way out” and “Reclaim Hong Kong, the revolution of our times,” sprayed graffiti of the slogans and sang the protest anthem Glory to Hong Kong. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810560219161359) The CUHK filed reports to Police. Around a dozen police officers entered Chinese University's campus on the next day. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811488772401837) Several student unions in CUHK condemned the university reporting it to the police (xxx).

See also:

CFA: Requiring Male Inmates to Cut Hair Breaches Sex Discrimination Ordinance

While some may think being jailed means one should be deprived of all freedom and dignity, some may not think so. Leung Kwok-hung, former lawmaker known as Long Hair, won the final appeal. Court of Final Appeal rules that requiring male inmates to cut hair breaches Sex Discrimination Ordinance. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816692275214820) After losing the court battle to ‘Long Hair’, Hong Kong’s prisons considered shearing locks of female inmates in name of equality, SCMP said. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820775728139808)

Joshua Wong and Fellow Activists Plead Guilty 

Pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam were remanded in custody on 23 Nov after pleading guilty to charges related to a major protest outside police headquarters last year. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2813527595531288) On 2 Dec, the prison sentences handed down to the trio. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821155381435176) Agnes Chow received her first prison sentence of a 10-month term and spent her 24th birthday behind bars. Japanese politicians and government expressed concerns over jailing Agnes Chow (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2827542904129757; https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822355764648471). On the last day of the year, Agnes Chow was reported re-classified as a Category A inmate, same level with murderers, and moved to a top security prison (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2842421919308522).

See also:

12 detainees in Shenzhen

The group of 12 was captured by Chinese coastguards on 23 Aug while trying to flee to Taiwan on a speedboat. Most of them were facing criminal charges in Hong Kong for offences linked to last year’s anti-extradition bill protests. After being detained for over three months, 10 of the 12 were brought up to Yantian District People's Court in Shenzhen for trial. Consulate staff from the US, the UK, Canada, Portugal and the Netherlands waited for about 2 hours but they were not allowed to enter, and so they left. The Yantian Court later on the same day uploaded that the court has listened to the procuratorate's opinion and the defence side's views. The court will choose a date to announce the verdict. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2840392502844797) On 30 Dec, after the verdict was made, the state-run media soon commented the case showed Mainland Judiciary's prudence and professionalism. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2841787936038587) Yet, the transparency of the case was clearly “open”. The response of 12 Hongkongers’ Families to “Judgment” is here: (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2841809446036436

Exodus of Hongkongers 

Being hunted by Hong Kong law enforcer using various tools including National Security Law and facing lots of other charges, some Hong Kongers opted to flee their home. To name a few, Ted Hui (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822059874678060), Nathan Law (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2813922315491816) and Baggio Leung (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2837524823131565), 3 ex-lawmakers left for different places for their safety. Hui arranged his family to leave too, while the 2 other politicians have declared "severing ties with their families" in hope not to burden their loved ones.

A lot of Hongkongers could have a choice to choose to emigrate elsewhere while some were forced to exile themselves. Aurora, Tsang Chi-kin's girlfriend, was one of them.  (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2829790727238308) Tsang Chi-kin, the first protester shot by police said he would skip court and went on the run. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2835816096635771

Top Court Rules in Favour of the Administration over the Anti-mask Law

The administration invoked emergency law and announced a ban on masks at all protests including authorized ones on 4 Oct last year. Last Nov, the anti-mask regulation was ruled unconstitutional. The ruling was partially overturned this year in April following an appeal from the HKSAR government. On 21 Dec, a 5-judge panel (including Lord Hoffmann) at the Court of Final Appeal ruled that the ban on face masks at unauthorised protests and rallies was proportionate and no more than reasonably necessary to prevent violence. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2834989970051717)

US’ Sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong Officials

After 11 Hong Kong officials were sanctioned (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2718529815031067), the US on 7 Dec imposed sanctions on 14 senior Chinese officials as it vowed there would be a price to pay for Beijing’s growing clampdown in Hong Kong. (https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825294347687946

Bishop Hill Service Reservoir


Some residents who often go to Bishop Hill discovered that the spectacular waterworks project was about to be destroyed by Water Supplies Department. Not until some stopping the bulldozers with their bodies, the construction workers did not stop their work. Photos of the inside of the service reservoir made some glad as the city, under waves of crackdown, has lacked some positive news, while some remain pessimistic as the government often ignores voices of the public. With inspections, WSD decided to stop the work and let Antiquities Advisory Board decide its grade. 


17 January 2021

Accompanying Alex Chow in His Last Mile; “Son, We’ve Done Our Best to Find the Truth”: Alex’s Father


(HKFeature photo)

[Editor's note: We have translated 30 days of the inquest happenings and the rest are annexed at the end of this article for the record of history.]

On 9 Jan 2021, after 29 days of inquest, the jury decided on an open verdict in the death of 22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok’s death, who had fallen from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov 2019. As the first death at the site of protest, Coroner David Ko Wai-hung had reservations about classifying Chow as a protester. Ko felt that Chow did not have any protest supplies, and he had also told his friends on Telegram that he was out “in the peanut gallery”, signs that he was not a protester. Nevertheless, his role at the scene remained unclear, since too many witnesses did not step forth, including those in the 2 Telegram groups, 2 unknown middle-aged persons who witness Chow’s fall from the platform of 2/F, and the pedestrian who had appeared around the time of the fall on 3/F of the car park. After two months of his death inquest, the truth was still out there, but even whether Chow was a protester would remain a mystery.

However, to Chow’s parents, he only had one identity, he was their only son.

(HKFeature file photo)


“His name was Alex Chow, and it just so happened that he wasn’t your son.” On 8 Nov 2019, the first night since the passing of Chow, there was graffiti on the street of this phrase. Back then, it was 6 months into the anti-ELAB movement, and the phrase was especially striking in the cold wind. “It just so happened” that Chow Tak-ming (translit.) and Lee Lai-lai (translit.) welcomed a precious baby boy the same year of Hong Kong’s handover, and after waiting a year, the 2-month inquest into Alex Chow’s death finally began, and the 2 together with the court reviewed tidbits about their son’s life, investigating the cause of his death.

- Son, we’ve done our best to find the truth -

At 19:45 on 9 Jan, after a long wait for the verdict, the Chows stepped out from the court, and Mrs Chow stood before the reporters, speaking to the media for the first time, “I just want to say one thing, thank you!”

She then went about her way, and then Mr Chow, whose exhaustion could not be hidden even behind a mask, stepped forward, and waited for the reporters to take his photo, gripping the straps of his backpack tightly, slowly approaching the microphones to say what he wanted to say the most, “I want to tell our son that we’ve tried our best to find the truth…” Mr Chow choked back his tears at one point, covering his black mask and then regains his composure, “but like what the Coroner said, we still missed the truth.”

He continued, “This is not only our matter, but also your (Hong Kong people’s) matter. We’re very grateful for the jury, they were very meticulous and put in a great effort. I fully respect the jury’s verdict; they didn’t care about the time, determined to find the answer, and now the answer is an ‘open verdict’. Before the closing remarks I would think, if the verdict turned out to be ‘open verdict’, then I would stop guessing. I hope that in the remaining years of my lifetime, the truth would be revealed. The truth might not have been murder, it could have been an accident.” As usual, Mr Chow stood before reporters, as if he was talking face to face with his son, always so gentle and approachable. He gathered all his courage to say the most precious words, that he would not give up on finding the truth for the rest of his life. He also told reporters that he often “visited Alex”, but they wouldn’t necessarily make a visit tomorrow (10 Jan), and that him and his wife needed rest the most.

- Determined to seek the truth for his son -

Looking back at the past 2 months of the coroner’s inquest, the sessions usually began at 09:30, and Mr and Mrs Chow usually waited outside the Coroner’s Court on 8/F at least 15 minutes before the session. Once it was announced, “The family may go in,” they would proceed to the next-of-kin area next to the jury. From wall to winder, they were always present, never late, never leaving early, day in and day out.

In court, every time a witness took the stand, Mr and Mrs Chow would carefully review the documents, and seize the time during recess to discuss with their lawyer. During the inquest, the reporter had gone to see the environment of Sheung Tak Car Park A, the scene of the incident, and ran into Mr and Mrs Chow there carefully examining a puddle and the location of a CCTV. They talked quietly among themselves, carefully documenting details, determined to find the truth behind their son’s death.
(HKFeature file photo)

- Calm & polite, Chow’s father is determined to find the truth -

Alex Chow’s father was dressed simply, almost rotating between three pieces of clothing during the court hearings, one of which had the word “HOPE” written on it. On the first day of the deposition, Mr Chow gave testimony about Alex’s life.

He spoke every word cautiously, and from the question and answers, he gave off an image of a reliable head of household. He opened the bag of evidence, checking and confirming the items that belonged to Alex one by one. On this journey to find the truth for his son, he was careful and meticulous. Watching the CCTV clips that captured Chow frame by frame, sometimes even the reporters would be bored and drifted off to sleep, but Mr Chow remained intensely focused, sometimes seeing Alex “seemingly smiling to the camera.”

At the conclusion of the first day of the inquest, Mr Chow made a public appeal to all witnesses to contact him or the Coroner’s Court, and disclosed his mobile number. When the media asked whether he worried that the inquest might not find the truth, Mr Chow stressed that he “was not mentally prepared for media interviews, and would only accept interviews to make an appeal,” and that he “just wanted to do something for his son, so that (Alex) could rest in peace.” Mr Chow repeated three times that he “hoped to find the truth”, with tears in his eyes.

During the inquest, there were critical developments, and each time, Mr Chow was willing to respond to media questions. Collecting evidence a year after the incident, would he worry that there would be a limit to the evidence available, Mr Chow responded, “I have to have faith.”

- A heartbroken and quiet mother -

Alex’s mother would go to court wearing a black mask and sunglasses, saying very little both inside and outside the court. Whenever she heard tidbits about Chow’s life, or viewed the moment of Alex’s fall on video, she couldn’t help but cry.

She needed to remove her sunglasses in court, and sometimes she could be seen with puffy, tired eyes. Each time, Mrs Chow would stand as far away from the reporters as possible, not taking any questions.

Until nearing the end of the inquest, before Coroner Ko made his closing remarks, a jury asked about iCloud, and Ko reiterated previous testimony heard that Alex did not have iCloud, hence the locked contents from his phone could not be accessed on his iPad. At this moment, Mrs Chow raised her hand hastily and said, “Alex has iCloud”, Ko responded, “Not sure where this testimony came from”, and stressed that “an oath was required to make testimony in court” and could not be given by suddenly raising a hand, as this was not in accordance with the legal procedures. Coroner Ko also pointed out that to find whether Alex had iCloud, “it may take weeks to find”, and he was not sure whether Alex had iCloud.

After seeking clarification from the Chow family, Barrister Flora Cheng Suk-yee representing the family told the court that the witness’s testimony did not point out that Alex did not have iCloud, but only that there was nothing to be found to have been downloaded onto the iPad via iCloud, and that Mrs Chow wanted to clarify that the phrase “did not have iCloud” was not in line with the testimony heard in court.

During the past 2 months, Alex Chow’s parents faced a living room that was no longer lively, a bedroom that had become empty, replaying memories over and over again, having lost their son who was just 22yo. 2 years ago when Alex’s wake was held at Po Fook Hill Cemetery, someone had sent a line from lyricist Albert Leung, “Grieve, don’t be in a hurry to mourn, and don’t be forced to adapt to change.”

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19
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Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:

16 Nov/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Coroner’s Inquest Begins on Fallen HKUST Student Alex Chow; Court Hears Testimony from Father & Parking Lot Staff

HKUST student 22yo Alex Chow Tsz-lok succumbed to his injuries four days after falling from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O last November. The Coroner’s Inquest into Chow’s death started today, and after selecting a 2M3F jury, the inquest was expected to last 25 days and summoning 40 witnesses. 

Testimonies of about 60 witnesses would be presented, of which about 20 witnesses’ statements were considered not contentious, so according to the Coroner's Officer, externally hired barrister Timmy Yip Chi-hong, he would be reading out those 20 statements, including those from a number of police officers, Fire Services Department (Control) staff, medical reports, government lab reports, Hong Kong Observatory records and etc. Apple Daily had learned that the inquest would summon 10 police officers, 3 paramedics, 9 firefighters, and a handful of citizens and voluntary first-aiders to take to the witness stand.

Chow’s parents attend today’s hearing. Unlike previous coroner’s inquests, a white board was place between the parents of the deceased and the jury to prevent eye contact between the two parties. 

A 1:40 scale 3D model of Sheung Tak Car Park was provided by the police for display at court, and where Chow had fallen was also marked on the model. The model was also equipped with controllable fluorescent lights that replicated the lighting at the car park so that the situation under lit and dim conditions could be modelled.

In addition, the Coroner’s Officer presented a number of documents to the jury, including the underground to 3/F floorplan of Sheung Tak Car Park, more than 100 photos of the car park, 2 screenshots of the external walkways of 2/F of the car park, as well as 9 photos from Chow’s iPad.

- 1 Camera Broken out of Total 35 Cameras at Car Park -

Yip recited the first written statement, that from Wilson Parking’s Regional Manager Wong Wai-lun (translit.). Wong’s statement said that per the request of a Senior Detective Police Constable, he provided the various CCTV footages from the car park between 23:45 of 3 Nov 2019 and 02:45 the next day. The car park had a total of 35 cameras setup at different locations; besides one camera that was damaged and couldn’t take a recording that night, the remaining 35 cameras had operated normally, and the manager confirmed that the videos had not been interfered.

He added further that since there had been intense clashes outside the car park that night, he had instructed the security guard on duty, Pang Siu-mei (translit.) to not go out and remain in the security booth. When he returned to the office the following morning, he immediately saved the videos from the previous night for convenience in review.

The manager said that since he got on board in 2013, he had never heard of anyone having been hurt at the car park for taking part in parkour or other related reasons, but had never been asked by the officials to obtain CCTV records. He also pointed out that the outside of 3/F of the car park didn’t have any walkways, and there was only a 1.2m high, 20cm wide perimeter, then 2/F was directly below the perimeter. Manager Wong reported that the car park had been insured with “Business Combined Insurance” for a maximum insured amount of $20M.

Electronic engineering company repair personnel Fung Yuk-hung (translit.) claimed that his duty was to manage the CCTV of Beverly Garden near Sheung Tak Estate. On 5 Nov last year, the day after Chow’s fall from a height, Fung received instruction from the property management company’s owner Cheung Kai-dong (translit.) to make a copy of the CCTV footages related to Chow’s incident between the night of 3 Nov to early hours of 4 Nov last year.

Via 4 USBs, Fung passed nearly 100 related clips to Cheung, who them passed the clips over to the police, including those of the bridge linking Beverly Garden with Sheung Tak Estate Car Park, the corridors between various blocks of Beverly Garden, and Beverly Garden Shopping Mall. Fung said that since the cameras operated independently, there could be a 1-min time lapse between the clips. Prior to making copies of the footages, he had already confirmed that the cameras were functioning normally and had not been tampered with. The Coroner’s Officers then passed 83 screenshots of those footages to the jury.

- Chow’s Father Takes Witness Stand, Recalls Final Words to Alex -

Chow Tak-ming, father of Alex Chow, recalled that on 3 Nov last year, he saw his son wearing a backpack and carrying a full water bottle at about 23:00 at night ready to head out. The father said that the news said there were protesters nearby and police on the scene, and worried that there would be tear gas used, and the news also said that the police might attack people. He had asked his son where he was going, but Alex did not reply; he asked Alex to be careful.

Chow Tak-ming pointed out that at about 00:46 that night, he had mentioned on WhatsApp that there was tear gas used nearby, and his son Alex had replied him about 2-3 minutes after he sent the message, reminding him close the windows. Alex was seen online until 1am, and then Chow Tak-ming and his wife went to bed. At about 02:00, a high school classmate of Alex knocked on the door, saying that Alex had fallen from a height and was being taken to hospital. Chow Tak-ming and his wife immediately changed their clothes and rushed to the hospital. Alex’s brain operation was completed by 05:00-06:00 that morning, and the doctor said at that time that things weren’t looking optimistic, but since he was so young, they would try their best.

At about 06:00 on 8 Nov last year, Chow Tak-ming had received a call from the hospital saying that his son was in critical condition and that his heart had stopped for a time, so he and his wife rushed to the hospital. There, they saw the medical staff performing CPR on Alex, and told them that their son “would not be saved, and that further resuscitation efforts would only bring more pain to him.” After consideration, Chow Tak-ming decided to give up on resuscitation. He described that he had lost control of his emotions at that time, so he did not communicate with the medical personnel and did not note the time of death. Most of the communication with the medical staff at that time was conducted by his wife and relayed to him.

He described his son as not an impatient person, and that his relations with his parents weren’t especially bad. He would have things to share with his parents at times, but was a quiet person. Alex sometimes joined his parents on shopping trips, going out to eat, and travel together, and Alex had a closer relationship with his mom. To Chow Ming-tak’s knowledge, his son had participated in a march, but did not know whether he had joined any other activities.

Court Case No.: CCDI932/19

https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/ch/component/k2/1560200-20201116.htm
https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20201116/MFZTJYSMRVHKXPOPXU3VTQT5LI/
https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/ch/component/k2/1560240-20201116.htm
https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20201116/IT5KVTO52BBMLLPMETNYAZQCCM/

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17 Nov: 16-17 Nov/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Police Confirm Firing Ammunition at Sheung Tak Car Park, Deny Hit Any Targets

Yesterday, afternoon, a Senior Inspector who commanded the Kowloon East Police Tactical Unit D2 testified that the police had sent in a team of officers to Sheung Tak Car Park A at 23:10 on 3 Nov last year to disperse the crowd. At 23:30 the same night, the police had fired one beanbag round in the direction of Sheung Tak Car Park C from the footbridge connecting Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Kowloon East Hotel and Sheung Tak Car Park.

- Police’s Account of Events between 3 Nov 22:30 - 4 Nov Midnight -

The Coroner’s Officer Timmy Yip Chi-hong summoned Senior Inspector Yip Bo-kei (translit.) to take to the witness stand. Yip said that on the day of the incident (3 Nov 2019), she was the commander of Kowloon East Police Tactical Unit D2, and was required to be on duty from 10:00 that morning until the end of her work. She and 32 other officers were on patrol in a high-profile manner in the Sheung Tak and Hang Hau region, and at about 22:30 that night, she received instruction to patrol Sheung Tak Estate, paying attention to whether a crowd had gathered at the car park and to disperse the crowd.

At 22:42, Yip’s police car stopped on Po Hong Road, and she remained on the vehicle as she planned with her team how to conduct their high-profile patrol. At 23:06, a motorcade turned left onto Tong Ming Street, and Yip saw from the vehicle about 50 black-clad people congregating near the junction of Tong Ming Street/Tong Chun Street and at the car park. Car Park A had higher floors, and there were dozens gathered near the railings.

At 23:10, Yip led a small team of 15 officers to enter Sheung Tak Car Park A from Tong Ming Street because she saw some people congregated inside the car park and worried that they would pose a threat to citizens and officers on the ground, hence she led the team into the car park to disperse the crowd.

From the central stairs of Tong Ming Street, Yip entered the car park and planned to split the small into two groups to patrol, herself leading one group to reach the highest floor, while the other group went to another floor. On the platform of 4/F she did not find any suspicious persons, hence she took the stairs near TKO Spot shopping mall to descend to 2/F and meet up with the other group. An officer from Platoon 3 reported to her that they had stopped and interrogated one suspicious male but eventually let him go.

Since Yip did not find any gathering of suspicious persons on 2/F of the car park, she told the officers to disperse, and they all left the car park by 23:20. At 23:22, she received an order for her to take the entire team to the footbridge linking Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Kowloon East Hotel and Sheung Tak Car Park, because there were many protesters gathered in that area, including on the footbridge, and there were people aiming laser beams at officers from the ground. Yip issued a warning, and at about 23:30, a team member fired a beanbag round in the direction of Sheung Tak Car Park C. Since it was late a night and there was quite a distance, so she could not be sure if the ammunition had hit a target.

At 23:44, Yip received an order to leave the footbridge, and during her retreat, she had stopped and interrogated two males but eventually let them go. At 23:56, Yip and her team boarded their vehicles, and their operation ended at 00:05; then they returned to the Tseung Kwan O Police Station, and she ended her shift at 01:36.

Yip testified that during her time on duty in Sheung Tak Car Park A, the police did not make any arrests. Besides stop and interrogation of one male, the police did not come into physical contact with any persons; the police did not exercise any use of force in the car park, including the firing of tear gas and use of police baton. Yip also denied that the police had come into contact with Alex Chow.

A videoclip from camera no. C27 of 2/F of Sheung Tak Car Park was played at court. The video showed that at about 23:15:10 and 23:14:23 on 3 Nov, two persons wearing riot gear were seen, both of which Yip believed to belong to Platoon 3. In addition, Yip positively identified from footages of camera C27 of Sheung Tak Car Park and the footage from a camera from Beverly Garden that members of Platoon 1 had patrolled 2/F of the car park near Beverly Garden between 23:15-23:17. She confirmed that prior to entering the car park, she had seen from the police vehicle a dozen or so people gathered on a higher floor of the car park, but after entering the car park, she only saw occasionally black-clad people wandering, and the mood was quiet and calm.

- Police Recount Tense Clashes from Midnight of 4 Nov -

Coroner’s Officer summoned Senior Inspector Kwok Chun-hei (translit.), and Kwok testified that he was the commander of the Platoon 3 of the Kowloon East Emergency Unit (EU). At 23:50 of 3 Nov, he was instructed to be on standby on Chi Shin Street in Tseung Kwan O, because a colleague was holding a wedding banquet at Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Kowloon East Hotel that night, and his team needed to assist officers who had been on standby there in case anyone tried to disrupt the banquet, and help those officers to leave.

At 00:05 on 4 Nov, Kwok’s team of 35 people arrived at the junction of Chi Shin Street/Tong Chun Street, but was then ordered to leave and return to Tseung Kwan O Police Station to rest. At 00:25, as the police vehicle arrived at the intersection of Tong Chun Street/Tong Tak Street, Kwok saw a bus idling on the street for quite some time, so he disembarked to investigate. When he arrived at the intersection of Tong Chun Street/Tong Tak Street, he saw about 40 black-clad protesters wearing black masks congregating, with bricks, plastic barricades and random objects on the road. When the protesters saw the officers, they jeered at them.

- Police Claim that Fired Tear Gas in Retaliation of Glass Bottle Tossed from Car Park -


Tong ordered his team to disembark from their vehicles in support and set up a line of defence at Tong Chun Street. The police and protesters had a stand-off at the junction of Tong Chun Street/Tong Tak Street. Kwok gave a verbal warning to the protesters that they were engaged in an unlawful assembly and asked them to leave. The protesters retreated onto the footbridge, but their numbers grew to about 200 and continued to jeer at the officers and threw random objects at the police. At 00:30, Kwok warned the protesters that if they did not disperse, tear gas would be used. At 00:35, Emergency Unit Platoon 4 arrived on scene to support the officers.

Kwok claimed that at 00:40, the protesters grew increasingly aggressive, tossed glass bottles and bricks, and set up an umbrella defence outside the car park. He then ordered officers to fire tear at the entry of the Kwong Ming Court. The protesters then retreated to Kwong Ming Court, but “came back” after 3 minutes and tossed random objects, and the police again launched tear gas and rubber bullets. Protesters then repeated the retreat and come back for another 6-7 times.

At about 01:00, the acting Superintendent instructed for Kwok to make a raid, so the police pushed forth from Tong Chun Street to Kwong Ming Court, during which someone had thrown random objects from Sheung Tak Car Park A, and the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

- Unclear When Other Team Returned to G/F from Car Park -

Kwok said that when the police setup its line of defence at the turnabout at Kwong Ming Court, the protesters had dispersed in all directions, but there was still someone throwing random objects from the car park. The Acting Superintendent ordered EU Platoon 4 to raid the car park, while Kwok’s Platoon 3 would set up defence on G/F of the car park. Kwok claimed that someone had thrown glass bottles from the car park, so he ordered his team to launch tear gas in return, and the protester who threw the glass bottle then left.

At 01:15, there were people gathered at Kwong Ying House, so Kwok’s team dispersed them, but nothing eventful happened. 5 minutes later, Kwok and his team returned to setup defence at Kwong Ming Court. At 01:27, the Acting Superintendent said that they could leave, and at 01:45, Kwok and his team left Tong Chun Street. Kwok claimed that when his team left, they were protected by EU Platoon 4, but he did not know when Platoon 4 had returned to G/F from the car park.

- Video Footage Showed 2 Fire Engines Entering Kwong Ming Court -

A videoclip of Cable News’ online live broadcast was played in court, showing that at 00:50, a Light Rescue Unit had stopped on the road. Kwok claimed that he had seen a Fire Services Department (FSD) vehicle “attempting to enter Sheung Tak Estate”, but “it was difficult for it to enter” since there were many random objects on the road. At 00:51, the video showed that the FSD vehicle was moving, and Kwok claimed that the vehicle had to drive around the railings laid on the ground to enter Kwong Ming Court. Kwok also said that he did not know where the FSD vehicle was going, but from the direction it was headed, he guessed that it wanted to enter Kwong Ming Court, but was obstructed by random objects. The video showed that the police later fired tear gas. Kwok claimed that the tear gas was fired towards the ground, aiming at the entrance to the Kwong Ming Court car park. At 00:53, another large FSD vehicle appeared, and Kwok claimed that the vehicle “wanted to make a left turn into Kwong Ming Court.”

- Police Claim Fired Tear Gas, Sponge Grenades, Beanbag Rounds from G/F to Car Park Upper Floors -

Video also showed that at 00:58, the police pushed forth from Kwong Ming Court, during which they launched multiple rounds of tear gas. Kwok explained that there were protesters on 2/F of the car park tossing traffic cones and other random objects to the ground, so the police fired tear gas from the ground towards 2/F and above of the car park. The ammunition was aimed at inside the car park, but tear gas was not fired by Platoon 3. Kwok claimed that during his team’s advance, it only fired one sponge grenade and one beanbag round, and as far as he saw and knew, the rounds did not hit anyone.

Court Case No. CCDI932/19

(See report on the am session of the inquest on 16 Nov here: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875)

https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E5%A5%B3%E9%AB%98%E7%B4%9A%E7%9D%A3%E5%AF%9F%E4%BD%9C%E4%BE%9B-%E8%AD%89%E8%AD%A6%E6%A1%88%E7%99%BC%E5%89%8D%E6%9B%BE%E5%85%A5%E5%B0%9A%E5%BE%B7%E5%81%9C%E8%BB%8A%E5%A0%B4/

https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E8%A1%9D%E9%8B%92%E9%9A%8A%E6%8C%87%E6%8F%AE%E5%AE%98%E4%BE%9B%E7%A8%B1-%E5%9B%A0%E6%9C%89%E4%BA%BA%E5%BE%9E%E5%81%9C%E8%BB%8A%E5%A0%B4%E6%93%B2%E7%89%A9-%E8%AD%A6%E6%9B%BE%E5%90%91%E5%81%9C%E8%BB%8A%E5%A0%B4%E5%85%A7%E5%B0%84%E5%82%AC%E6%B7%9A%E5%BD%88/
***

Morning, 18 Nov: Morning, 18 Nov/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest 5 Rounds of Tear Gas Hit Car Park Prior to Alex Chow’s Fall; Commander: Entered Car Park Minutes Later and Saw Firefighters Resuscitating Chow

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. On the 2nd day of his death inquest, a police Emergency Unit (EU) commander testified that he had twice ordered officers to fire a total of 5 rounds of tear gas at midnight on 4 Nov towards 2/F and 3/F of the said car park, including 2 rounds that were fired within 15 minutes of Chow losing contact. Minutes later, the commander led his team to raid the car park, and found that firefighters were attempting to resuscitate Chow on 2/F. The commander, who had donned a face shield that day, said that he only smelled faint traces of tear gas near the G/F entrance of the car park, and did not smell tear gas inside the car park or on 1/F, but he did not mention whether he smelled tear gas on 2/F, where Chow was found on the ground.

Wong Ka-lun (translit.), who was the commander of EU Platoon 4 at that time, testified that he and his team of 30-some officers were on standby in the wee hours of 4 Nov at the junction of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street, dispersing protesters. During their operation, he saw dozens of people in the upper floors of the Sheung Tak Car Park throwing hard objects such as glass bottles towards the police, while there were also people throwing random objects at the police from the G/F entrance of the car park. Wong claimed that to ensure safety of officers, he ordered his team of launch 2 rounds of tear gas towards 2/F and 3/F of the car park, and also to fire 18 rounds of tear gas towards the G/F entrance of the car park.

- Discrepancy between Police Account of Arrival Time and Live News Footage -

The last time Chow was online on WhatsApp was 01:00 on 4 Nov last year, and according to the CCTV footage showing the arrival of firefighters, Chow had fallen from a height between 01:00 and 01:13. The Coroner’s Officer yesterday played a live news clip showing that from 00:58, multiple rounds of shots could be heard, and Kwok Chun-hei (translit.), commander of EU Platoon 3, also pointed out that when Platoon 4 fired tear gas towards the upper floors of the said car park, the smoke had entered the car park, but Wong’s testimony yesterday (17 Nov) did not bring up this point.

Wong said that at 01:05 that night, he led his team to enter via the vehicle entrance on G/F of the car park, but had been attacked by protesters who were throwing hard objects at them, so he instructed his team to fire tear gas and rubber bullets towards the G/F vehicle entrance to the car park, and to fire 3 rounds of tear gas to the upper floors of the car park. He then led his team into the car park, and began to raid the scene from G/F upwards. At 01:18, they saw on 2/F a number of firefighters and voluntary first-aiders resuscitating who Wong believed to be Alex Chow. Since the firefighters said that they had sufficient personnel, Wong decided to lead his team to continue their raid. He claimed that since he and his team were occupied handling protesters, he only reported the finding of an injured person at the car park to his superiors about one hour after he saw the injured person on 2/F.

Wong took the initiative to supplement his testimony that he and his team had never interfered with or harassed the rescue efforts, and did not come into contact with the injured person. He even claimed that he himself did not see the face of the injured person. After his team entered the car park, they did not chase after or come into physical contact with anyone, and did not use a police baton, pepper spray or tear gas inside the car park. When asked by Coroner’s Officer, Wong said that during his raid, besides the injured person and emergency personnel, he had not seen any other persons inside the car park. However, before he and his team had heard other people running on other floors before they saw the injured.

When asked why the live news clip showed that Wong’s team entered the car park at 01:04 and did not match with his statement, Wong said that he testified according to the time he saw on his watch, and he did not know if there was a lapse between the real time and the news clip. He also claimed that he was uncertain where the tear gas canister fell to the ground, but he guessed that it would hit the exterior wall of the car park then bounce, or possibly hit the ceiling of a certain floor before falling down, but he could not say for certain which floor it landed.

In addition, Kwok, who was commander of EU Platoon 3, claimed that between 00:40 – 01:00, he had at least instructed his team 6 times to shoot tear gas and rubber bullets from the Kwong Ming Court footbridge to the ground, and also at one point ordered his team to launch tear gas and rubber bullets towards the said car park in retaliation against aggression by protesters. The live news clip showed tear gas smoke launched by Kwok’s team moving along Tong Ming Street towards the said car park. Kwok said that he and his team did not enter the car park that night, and did not receive news that someone had fallen from a height at the car park.

- Another Team Nearest Location of Chow’s Fall -

Barrister Flora Cheng Suk-yee representing the family of Alex Chow pointed out that EU Platoon 1 had gone to the clash at the junction of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street via other roads. Kwok said that Platoon 1 had entered the vicinity of Sheung Tak Estate via the car park gate of Po Hong Road, then used internal roads of the estate to arrive at the entrance of Kwong Ming Court near the said junction, but had never entered the said car park. However, according to Kwok’s description, Platoon 1’s position was among the known statements to be the team that had been closest to where Chow had fallen from a height.

Two days ago, Alex Chow’s father had made a public appeal outside the court for persons with information about his son’s death to come forward. Cheng disclosed that yesterday (17 Nov) afternoon, a source tried to provide information to the Chow family, so they applied to postpone the hearing until today to give the family time to process the information, and prepare questions for Wong.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow's coroner's inquest:
16 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488)

https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20201118/5VRZXRB76JAV3JZUNGKS46HDII
https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20201118/A23PRHANCJDB7AXCOGXWEC65RU/
***

Evening, 18 Nov/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Police Clueless about Severity of Injured’s Condition, Does Not Consider How to Send to Hospital out of “Higher Level Considerations, Need to Dispel Violent Protesters”

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. Today was the 3rd day of Chow’s death inquest, and then-commander of Kowloon East Emergency Unit (EU) Platoon 4, Senior Inspector Wong Ka-lun (translit.) was interrogated by barrister Flora Cheng Suk-yee representing Chow’s family. Cheng asked Wong that when he knew that there were roadblocks nearby causing a fire engine’s unsuccessful attempt to enter the nearby streets, and after he had seen the injured person at the said car park, did Wong consider how to send the injured to the hospital for treatment, Wong said, “At that time, I had higher-level considerations, that I must remove the hidden risks of violent protesters to ensure that the rescue work would be able to continue in a safe manner.” He also pointed out that he did not pay attention to the gravity of the injured person’s condition, and did not know how critical the situation was.

Cheng also asked Wong that a witness had mentioned that Platoon 3 and Platoon 4 waited for Platoon 1 to enter Kwong Ming Court via Po Hong Road to begin a raid, did Wong know the location of Platoon 1? Wong responded, “My superior only said that Platoon 1 was on its way, I did not know its precise location.” Cheng pointed out that Platoon 1 had already positioned itself for an outflank, but Wong claimed that he was not aware of the tactic, that he only knew of the raid, and that Platoon 1 had taken a detour due to roadblocks.

- Commander Occupied with Quashing Violent Protesters, Didn’t Consider How to Transport Injured to Hospital -

Cheng then doubted that Wong had instructed his team to launch tear gas at 2/F and 3/F of the car park between 00:40-00:46 on 4 Nov last year, whether he had considered that people inside the car park could be affected. Wong claimed that he had observed the situation and that “protesters were using potentially lethal weapons”, so he chose to use tear gas, since its impact would at most cause discomfort. Cheng continued her interrogation, and asked whether Wong knew that tear gas needed to be used in accordance with the existing guidelines in non-enclosed areas, Wong responded, “It depends on the situation, and one also needed to consider whether the protesters were posing a threat to officers and innocent citizens”. Wong eventually admitted that there was a chance that tear gas could hit a vehicle and cause a fire.

A Cable News video showed a fire engine attempting to enter Sheung Tak Estate from Tong Ming Street but failed and left the scene. Cheng asked Wong whether he knew of the incident, and Wong answered that he only witnessed the fire engine’s unsuccessful attempt to enter, but did not know that it left. Cheng then asked whether Wong had considered how to transport the injured person from the car park to the hospital to get treatment, Wong said, “At that time, I had higher-level considerations, that I must remove the hidden risks of violent protesters to ensure that the rescue work would be able to continue in a safe manner.” He said that he did not pay attention to the severity of the injured person’s condition, so he didn’t know the urgency at that time, and that he did not return to where the injured person was after his raid because he believed that an ambulance would report to the scene.

In addition, Wong said that he did not receive instruction to retreat until his raid reached 3/F of the said car park, but today, he changed his statement and said that he was on the upper side of 2/F, and claimed that “I just recalled now, it wasn’t 3/F, but the upper half of 2/F”. Upon further inquiry from the jury, Wong clarified that the injured person was situated on the lower half of 2/F at that time. Wong claimed that during his raid in the car park, he didn’t see any officers other than his own team, and he didn’t see anyone on the footbridge connected to the car park.

In his witness statement taken on 19 Nov last year, Wong said that he had debriefed his team after an operation. He explained that 2 members of his team were responsible for recording the time of use of tear gas and overall time of the operation would report the timings during the debriefing.

- Platoon 4 Members Deny Officers Interfered with Rescue -

Kowloon East EU Platoon 4 Sergeant Lau Hip-sing (translit.) testified that in Sheung Tak Car Park, he had heard someone yelling “treating an injured person”, but he only paid attention to whether there were “mobsters” in front of him, so he didn’t walk over or see the injured person. He pointed out that EU members would walk between vehicles during a raid to check for hidden persons, so when they saw an injured person, they would report back. Lau said that his position did not enable him to see whether team members had crossed over a low barrier on the sidewalk, but he was certain that members did not interfere with the rescue operation. Sergeant Chow Siu-long (translit.) of the same platoon said that he had seen with his own eyes that no members climbed over the barrier.

Lau claimed that at 01:10 on 4 Nov last year, he and his colleagues entered the said car park to perform a raid. At first, he claimed that he had turned left from the entrance, but upon further interrogation by Coroner’s Officer Timmy Yip Chi-hong, Lau corrected his claim that he had in fact turned right after the entrance. After entering the car park, Lau said that he saw firefighters and first-aiders “working frantically”, and claimed that he heard someone yelling, “treating an injured person”, but he was only concerned whether there were “mobsters” in front of him, so he didn’t walk over or see the injured person. His teammates would walk between vehicles to check for hidden persons during a raid, so they had seen where the injured person was.

Furthermore, Lau claimed that the commander had deployed officers to check on the injured, and the team members reported back saying, “There’s an injured person here, and firefighters and first-aiders are working on it.” Lau then pointed out that from his location, he couldn’t see whether members of his platoon had crossed a barrier, but he was certain that they did not interfere with the rescue operation. A jury member asked Lau, “You couldn’t see the injured person, but you also said that you didn’t see any team members interfering with the rescue, how did you come to this conclusion?” However, Coroner David Ko Wai-hung said that the question could wait until firefighters take a stand and ask them directly.

Another member of EU Platoon 4, Chow Siu-long (translit.), claimed that during the raid on 2/F of the said car park, 4-5 members had walked between vehicles to check for suspicious persons. When they returned and reported seeing firefighters treating an injured person, it was only then that Chow realised that there had been an injury. Chow said that he had seen with his own eyes that platoon members did not cross over the low barrier. Both Lau and Chow said that they were wearing face shields during the raid and did not smell any tear gas.

- Officer Claims Tear Gas Canister Hit External Glass Wall and Bounced, Did Not See Tear Gas Canister Landing inside Car Park -

According to Lau, prior to entering the car park, Platoon 4 had set up a line of defence at 00:35 at the junction of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street. Between 00:40-00:53, Lau had fired 4 rounds of tear gas from the same position at the intersection, of which the 1st 3 rounds were aimed at the crowd that gathered on the G/F of the car park, which Lau claimed “estimated the tear gas was not launched into the car park.” Lau pointed out that the 1st 3 rounds of tear gas exploded above the protesters then fell to the ground, and he described their fall “as if releasing fireworks and then landing on the ground.”

Lau added that the 4th tear gas was aimed between 2/F – 3/F of the car park, and more specifically at about 20-30 “mobsters” who had been aiming at officers with laser beams. He said that the 4th round had a chance of “hitting the exterior wall of the car park and then bouncing onto the road”, and that according to his observation, the canister did not land inside the car park. Subsequently, Lau said a fire engine entering from Tong Ming Street, but had to make a u-turn to leave after encountering a roadblock.

Lau claimed that at 01:05, he continued to push forth towards Kwong Ming Court, during which the crowd had gathered once again, hence he fired one round of tear gas into the air, followed by a round fired by his team member, after which the crowd dispersed. When he reached the turnabout outside Kwong Ming Court, Lau heard on his walkie-talkie at 01:08 the commander instructing the team to enter the car park. He pointed out that not every officer was equipped with a walkie-talkie, and stressed that “only officers of rank” would bring one, hence those members not equipped with a walkie-talkie would only learn of orders from other team members.

Prior to Lau entering the car park, people were tossing random objects from a height, hence he once again fired 3 rounds of tear gas towards 2/F and 3/F of the car park. One of the rounds hit the glass wall and concrete wall on the curved corner of 2/F, “saw the canister hitting the walk and then hitting the ground”, and the glass wall was parallel to the low barrier on 2/F.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow's coroner's inquest:
16 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1078923
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1078933

***
19-20 Nov/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest 1st Police Admittance of Firing TG onto Same Floor of Car Park as Chow; Many Discrepancies between Police Testimonies & Video Evidence

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. On the 4th day of his death inquest, the court viewed a news video showing that there had been at least 2 bouts of dense smoke on 2/F and 3/F of the car park just 10 minutes prior to Chow’s fall from a height, but a number of officers’ testimonies denied having seen smoke. Yesterday was the first time during the inquest when a riot police admitted to have launched tear gas that landed on 2/F of the car park, the same floor where Chow had been found lying. 3 officers who took to the witness stand yesterday testified that they had fired at least 15 rounds of tear gas at the exterior of the car park within the 30-minute period before Chow was found injured. Moreover, the same order by the commander could have caused more than one riot police firing at the same target.

According to previous testimony provided by Chow’s father, Alex Chow was last seen online on WhatsApp at 01:00 on 4 Nov last year. The CCTV at the car park showed that by 01:13 that day, firefighters were captured checking on parked vehicles on 2/F where Chow was found unconscious, and one minute later, a voluntary first-aider arrived on scene. It was believed that Chow was on 3/F prior to his fall.

Police Emergency Unit (EU) Platoon 4 commander Yeung Lok-yan (translit.) testified that at 01:09 tear gas was launched at 2/F and 3/F of the car park, but did not see any smoke emitted from 2/F, 3/F, or platform (also referred to as 4/F) of the car park, so she estimated that the canister had landed on the platform. A jury pointed out that the news video showed that there had been smoke coming out from 2/F and 3/F, and asked Yeung whether it could have been that tear gas had been launched onto 2/F and 3/F. After Yeung viewed the video, she said, “It’s possible, (the canister) seems to have been inside.” In addition, she fired 5 rounds of tear gas between 00:40-01:01 that night, claiming that each time she had received commander order prior to shooting.

- Possible >1 Officer Shooting at Same Target -

Officer Yim Cheuk-fan (translit.) of the same platoon testified that he had received commander order between 00:44-00:56 to fire 5 rounds of tear gas at the cluster of umbrellas on Tong Chun Street and “mobsters” that were throwing objects. He couldn’t recall where the canisters had actually landed, but estimated that they landed among the umbrellas. At 01:09, a dozen or so protesters were throwing traffic cones and other hard objects at the police from 2/F of the car park, hence he again upon order from the commander, fired one round of tear gas at 2/F. He claimed to have seen the canister entering 2/F of the car park, and the protesters who were there then dispersed, but he could not see smoke emitting from where the canister had presumably landed.

The Coroner’s Officer played a live news video from that night, pointing out that there had been a shot heard at 01:00, and after viewing the clip, Yim claimed “I believe that had been fired by me.” A jury asked whether the commander would specify someone to fire a shot, and Yim denied, saying that the commander’s orders were usually something like, “12 o’clock direction, high or low angle, tear gas, fire”, then those team members carrying the relevant equipment would “automatically follow the order”. Yip explained that after the commander gave an order to fire, and that there was more than one person with the required equipment, then there would be coordination to determine who would make the shot based on the environment at that time. He agreed with the jury that the same order could have caused more than one person shooting at the same target.

When the time came for Flora Cheng Suk-yee, the barrister representing Alex Chow’s family, to interrogate the witness, Yim pointed out that there were 4 team members of Platoon 4 that night carrying riot guns capable of launching tear gas, 2 were equipped with beanbag round guns, and 4 with rubber bullet guns, meaning a total of 10 people capable of using different weapons.

Fong Chun-kwok (translit.), an officer of the same platoon, testified that he had launched 2 rounds of tear gas between 00:48-00:56 towards Sheung Tak Estate, aiming at the protesters behind the umbrella clusters. His platoon pushed forth towards Sheung Tak Estate between 01:05-01:08, and when he was situated at the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street, he again fired one round of tear gas between the people gathered outside the bus station. The platoon entered Sheung Tak Car Park at 01:10, and 8 minutes later, the platoon found firefighters and voluntary first-aider attempting to resuscitate Alex Chow on 2/F of the car park.

After morning recess yesterday, coroner David Ko Wai-hung suddenly reminded the jury that there would be time for discussion after the testimonies had been heard, and that there should not be discussions on the case at the current stage, otherwise he would have to deliberate dismissing the jury, “I don’t want to dismiss you” and made clear that this was fair advice and also a warning. Two days ago, there was news that Alex Chow’s family had been contacted by a citizen who wanted to provide information, and Apple Daily had learned that the new testimony would still need to be processed via the normal procedure before it could be presented to court.

- Coroner’s Officer Notes Obvious Inaccuracies in Time in Police Accounts -

Video evidence presented to the court showed discrepancies between the police’s account of when officers entered the car park and the timing of their launch of tear gas when cross-checked with live news videos and CCTV recordings obtained from the car park. In addition, not only did the commanders not calibrate their watches among themselves, multiple platoon members also did not sync their watches before an operation. A member yesterday testified that the commander did not ask them to record the time of each tear gas launch immediately. The Coroner’s Officer yesterday made clear to Alex Chow’s family that the timings provided by the police had “obvious inaccuracies”.

Officer Yim from Platoon 4 who had launched 7 rounds of tear gas that night said that since he had to “concentrate on the danger”, and that the orderly would be responsible for recording the time of launch, so he only checked his watch after firing the first round of tear gas.

- Platoon Member Admits No Correction in Case of Discrepancy -

Member of the same platoon, officer Yeung Lok-yan (translit.) said that she did wear a watch on her wrist during the operation, and also had another watch on her waist. It was her habit of checking the time at every launch, then telling the orderly to record it. However, when Cable News’ live news video was played in court, Yeung’s claim of having fired a round of tear gas at the Kwong Ming Court turnabout on 4 Nov last year was shown to be inaccurate, since her platoon was captured on live footage having begun to retreat from the turnabout by 01:03, leading Yeung to admit that she only calibrated her watches using the clock at her home. Yeung said that upon completion of each operation, the commander would feedback to each platoon member the time of each of their shots based on the orderly’s records, but even if the time recorded did not match what she remembered, she would not suggest a correction.

- Platoon Members Can’t Recall No. Members on Operation, Deny Review Duty Roster for Sake of Court Appearance -

Under interrogation by Chow family’s representative Barrister Cheng, Yeung at one point said that she was not sure of the number of members of Platoon 4 that night; Yeung first claimed there to be about 30-40 members, then changed to say that the full platoon had 40 members, “because she couldn’t recall if all 40 members were present.”

When asked if the number of members was counted prior to entering the car park, Yeung said that she wasn’t responsible for the headcount, and that “the entire platoon should have entered together”. After the platoon left the car park, Yeung did not hear the commander making a count, but usually there would be a count after a regular operation.

Cheng then asked officer Fong also from Platoon 4 how many members entered the car park that night, Fong answered that there were 37 members, but this was not raised in his statement. Fong disclosed that he had reviewed the duty roster from that night before testifying in court. Cheng questioned, “Did you receive an order to review the roster in order to answer questions?” Fong denied the allegation. Fong said that it was only when the platoon boarded their vehicles to retreat from the scene when they did a headcount, and that no count was made when they left the car park. 

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774)

https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20201120/6H37QHA72FGHBNRPUPSYM6D7WA/
https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20201120/MJQ2WSCR4NCJJJH3DGM45XUSXU/
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1078958
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1078957 
***

20 Nov/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Platoon Members Make Own Decision to Launch 3 Rounds of Tear Gas, Deputy Commander: They can’t shoot if I don’t order them to fire?

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. On the 5th day of Chow’s death inquest, the deputy commander of Kowloon East Emergency Unit (EU) Platoon 1, Sergeant Lam Wah-ping (translit.), was the sole witness to take the stand. During his testimony, he revealed that when he as warning protesters to not toss objects, a member of his platoon made their own decision to launch 3 rounds of tear gas, and Lam even in court, “If you had me give the order to fire, then there would have been maybe a dozen shots fired.”

Lam claimed that at 00:28 on 4 Nov last year, he received an order to proceed to the intersection of Tong Chun Street and Tong Tak Street to support EU Platoons 3 and 4. Lam claimed that upon his arrival at the scene at 00:40, he saw Platoons 3 and 4 already on the ground moving towards Sheung Tak Estate, and there had already been tear gas fired by others. “I saw some smoke, and felt some stinging in the nose,” but Lam still chose not to put on a face shield yet, but to first handle 2 black-clad people who were throwing glass bottles at the police by firing two rounds of beanbag rounds and successfully hitting the two targets. Lam said that at that point, Platoons 3 and 4 had yet to arrive, but he believed that if the two teams had already arrived, they would have already handled the two people who threw the glass bottles.

- Rank of Deputy Commander, Lam Claims “I was the de-facto commander” -

A jury member asked if Lam’s rank at the time of the incident was deputy commander, then who was the commander? Lam responded, “I was the deputy, but since there was only me then, I was the de-facto commander.”

Another jury member asked, why was there a time difference between Lam and his team members’ arrival at the entrance of Sheung Tak Estate. Lam explained that members carrying larger equipment were further behind in the team and walked more slowly.

The jury asked more about details of the operation, and Lam explained that every time he wanted to gather the platoon, he and the sergeant of the platoon would do a headcount, such as he would ask, “Is 1 column all here?” The sergeant would answer, “1 column present.” Then he would be able to count all 4 columns of the platoon. As for the 3 police vehicles parked on Tong Ming Street, Lam said that each vehicle had a driver, so they were not included in the headcount.

- Didn’t Check Watch and Didn’t Report Time, but Claimed, “Knew roughly what time it was” -

Upon further enquiry from the jury, Lam clarified that he only fired 2 shots of beanbag rounds, while another officer launched 3 rounds of tear gas, and no other ammunition had been used. However, Lam pointed out that the tear gas was fired without his order, that he was only warning protesters to stop throwing objects, then the officer made their own choice to fire tear gas.

However, Lam said, “If you had me give the order to fire, then there would have been maybe a dozen shots fired.” He elaborated that if he had given the order, then all 8 platoon members with the relevant gun would together fire tear gas; even if he had shouted, “odd numbers fire”, there would still be half the relevant members – meaning 4 members – firing tear gas.

The jury enquired further whether the same arrangement was applied at other platoons, Lam only responded that all officers had the right to use what they considered to be necessary force. He even countered the query by asking if an officer faced danger, “I didn’t order to fire, then the officer would not have clearance to fire?”

When asked by the Coroner’s Officer, Lam said that the platoon orderly would record all the timings of the operation and then report to him afterwards. He personally did not check his watch on the scene, and did not report the time to the orderly, but that he “knew roughly what time it was.”

Barrister Flora Cheng Suk-yee representing Alex Chow’s family played a live news clip to Lam. After viewing the clip, Lam said that at 01:02 on 4 Nov last year, his platoon was situated in the open area between Sheung Chun House of Sheung Tak Estate and Kwong Cheong House of Kwong Ming Court, already fired beanbag rounds, and that he “believed a headcount had been done”, but he could not be certain whether all members had been present.

He explained that he was only using the walkie-talkie outside Kwong Ming Court to communicate with the officers of the platoon to check whether all members were present, but there was some distance between him and other members, so he did not personally do a headcount. Between the time of his order on the walkie-talkie to do a headcount and the officers reporting back, there was a few minutes’ time gap. Cheng doubted that Lam only knew that his platoon members were on their way over from the police vehicle, but the officers did not report on walkie-talkie where the headcount was conducted, and Lam agreed with Cheng’s observation. Cheng doubted that Lam’s claim of a full team having disembarked from the police vehicles only meant that he “believed” his platoon members had all reached Kwong Ming Court, but Lam disagreed with this assertion.

Lam also revealed that he was not aware that where Platoon 1 had disembarked from the police vehicles was the vehicle entrance to Sheung Tak Car Park. Cheng asked Lam if he had noticed someone tossing objects from the car park, Lam said that he was not aware, since he only remained focus on Kwong Cheong House as his target. He also admitted that he did not have a habit of paying attention to the actions of his platoon members behind him, which drew Cheng to ask, “You could not have known if any of your platoon members had entered the car park to conduct a raid, could you?” Lam denied the allegation.

- Deputy Commander Argues w/Barrister, Coroner Urges: You should just answer the questions directly -

Cheng then asked, when Lam received his superior order to enter Kwong Ming Court along Po Hong Road, was he aware that there were people suspected of throwing random objects from Sheung Tak Car Park? Lam responded that he was not aware of that it the time. When asked if Lam knew there was danger at that time, he responded, “I knew later,” but countered with his own question, “If I had not pushed forth towards the target location, how would I have seen (the danger)? Would you agree?” Cheng responded by reminding Lam that he did not need to raise questions, but lam rebutted, “I only want to reveal the truth.” Later, Lam got into an argument with Cheng over word choice in a question, and the Coroner couldn’t help but urge Lam, “Witness, I think that you should just answer questions directly, and there is no need for asking too many (of your own) questions.”

- Deputy Commander Didn’t Hear of Injury Case -

Lam pointed out that during the operation, he did not receive any news that there had been an injured person found in the car park. A jury member asked Lam the situation on the ground during their retreat from the scene, and Lam said that there were bricks on the road, but vehicles could still drive. In addition, Lam claimed that if there were large obstructions on the road during retreat, they would - per usual protocol - remove them from the road.

On the day of the incident, each platoon wore different coloured headlamps to differentiate themselves, but neither Platoon 3 nor 4 were aware of the colour of Platoon 1’s headlamps. Lam testified that Platoon 1’s headlamps were red, that the four platoons’ lamps were red, yellow, blue, and green respectively.

Court Case No.: Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

Upcoming Witnesses to Testify Next Week:
- civilian witness who came forth following Alex Chow’s father’s tearful appeal to the public
- firefighters and first-aiders who treated Alex Chow at the scene
- Sheung Tak Car Park staff member

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332 )

https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20201120/GNQC5UJHEVEPXNPLAXKZEJVXMI/ 
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1078980
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1078981
***

23 Nov/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Witness Photographs Injured Person Kneeling, “As if trying to get back up”, Search for White-Clad Young Man for Further Info

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. A new civilian witness took to the witness stand on the 6th day of the inquest. The witness testified that between 01:03-01:05 on 4 Nov last year, he found an injured person lying down in Sheung Tak Car Park in Tseung Kwan O. He described the injured person as lying face down with his head towards the basketball court, head pressed on the ground, with his knees slightly bent. Both hands were not raised but were near his waist and chest. His legs weren’t bent like those of a frog, but his legs were close together and leaning towards the left side of his body, “as if trying to get back up”. Chow’s mother began to wipe her tears as soon as the witness began his description of the injured person.

Witness Mung Wai-kit told the court that between 22:00-23:00 on 3 Nov last year, he went out for his routine walk, and chatted with a number of 60-something yo neighbours at the Sheung Tak bus stop. At midnight that night, the police had fired tear gas. At 00:55, he accompanied some neighbours to walk to the footbridge connecting Beverly Garden and Sheung Tak Car Park A to take cover and rest, and also discuss how to get home.

- Young Male Runs over Shouting: “Help! Get First Aid! Something Terrible Has Happened!” -

At 01:00-01:01, they went their ways, and when he, along with one male neighbour, walked to the end of the footbridge near the car park, a young male jogged towards them, in the direction of TKO Spot shopping centre, all the meanwhile shouting “Help! Get first aid! Something terrible has happened!” He described the young male as slim and short, wearing normal clothing and black shorts, and did not carry a face shield or helmet.

He and the neighbour walked towards where the young male had come from “to see what happened”. At 01:03-01:05, he found an injured person lying down on the U-shaped pedestrian corridor on 2/F of the car park. There was not anyone near the injured, and he was standing about 6-7m away when he first spotted the injured person. The male neighbour walked closer to about 3m away from the injured to take a look, then walked back to Mung in distraught, “almost crying.”

About 1 minute later, 2-3 firefighters arrived at the scene. According to his memory, the firefighters were not led to the injured person. He saw the firefighters “visually assessing” the injured and discussing how to handle the situation. At 01:05-01:07, he asked if the firefighters needed assistance; a firefighter had put on surgical gloves, and he helped the firefighter retrieve a flashlight from his clothes.

- Describes Injured Person “As If Trying to Get Back Up” -

He heard the firefighters discussing how to help the injured turn over, so he took a few photos of the injured person before they did so. Coroner David Ko Wai-hung then asked Mung why he took photos, and Mung claimed that he “wanted to photograph the position (of the injured) before he would be turned over”, but stressed that he did not take a photograph of the injured’s face.

Mung went on to explain that the injured person was lying face down with his head towards the basketball court, head pressed on the ground, with his knees slightly bent. Both hands were not raised but were near his waist and chest. His legs weren’t bent like those of a frog, but his legs were close together and leaning towards the left side of his body, “as if trying to get back up”, so he wanted to capture the position of the injured before he would be moved.

He added that when the firefighters arrived at the scene, they were not there to treat the injured, because they did not have any first-aid equipment. Mung said that prior to the firefighters’ arrival, he did not hear the injured person making a sound. He had taken 2-3 photos of the injured before he was turned over, 2-3 more after he was moved, and also shot 2 videos.

- Chow’s Mother Wipes Tears away During Mung’s Testimony -

From the start of Mung’s description of what he saw when he encountered the injured person, Alex Chow’s mother began to weep. When the court showed 2 videos recorded by Mung, the firefighters and first-aider could be seen helping the injured, and there was blood all over the ground.

Mung claimed that at 01:09, a firefighter told him to lead another firefighter over to where they were from near TKO Spot, so he rushed over. On the way back, he saw a voluntary first-aider, so they went back together.

- Witness Scolds Riot Police at Scene to “Save a Life First” -

At 01:15-01:17, 20-some riot police arrived at the scene, and several of them rushed forth and asked in a very harsh tone, “What happened! What are you doing here!” He scolded back at them, “Save a life first.” Mung claimed that he did not recall anyone else talking. Later, 1-2 riot police walked up and tapped the shoulders of the riot police that had rushed forth, telling them to go back; about a minute later, the riot police left. Mung told the court that the riot police never crossed over the short barrier wall, but did poke their heads out; he also did not see any officer having body contact with anyone at the scene.

Mung’s account differed vastly from the testimonies provided by the police. Senior Inspector Wong Ka-lun (translit.), who had served as commander of Kowloon East Emergency Unit Platoon 4 at the time, told the court last week at 01:18 while conducting a raid of the car park, he had seen firefighters and first-aiders helping an injured person on 2/F of the car park. A member of Wong’s platoon went up and asked if help was needed, to which the firefighters had supposedly responded, “We have enough people, we don’t need any help”, while the first-aiders said, “Please don’t disturb us while we are helping the injured,” and asked them to leave.

Mung claimed that he began recording a video after the riot police left, and the Coroner’s Officer asked him why did he not begin recording earlier. Mung explained that he had wanted to record while the riot police were still at the scene, but he “dared not raise his phone to make a recording” at the time, since they had gotten into an argument, so after he had calmed down later, he wanted to make a recording in case it would be useful in the future.

The Coroner’s Officer asked if Mung had seen the riot police chase anyone or exercise force, and Mung replied that he did not, and that he did not see the police using any weapons or ammunition. While Mung was at the car park, he did not see any other officers. The Coroner’s Officer asked Mung if he had seen smoke when he entered the car park, and Mung replied that he saw a lot of smoke at the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street, but did not smell anything when he got to the footbridge, and he did not see any smoke where the injured person was found.

Mung said that at 01:26, he saw 2 first-aiders carrying a stretcher on the road. According to the video taken by Mung, a voluntary first-aider was measuring the Alex Chow’s pulse, saying that it was 44bpm. At 01:29, first-aiders arrived next to the injured.

- Claims 2 Large Red Handprint on External Wall of 3/F, Later Admits Looks Like Paint -

Mung originally claimed that he had found the injured person before firefighters, but later when CCTV from the car park was played, 2 firefighters could be seen at 01:06, and they crossed the short barrier at 01:07 to reach the injured. That was about the same time that Mung arrived at the scene. After viewing the clip, Mung confirmed that the firefighters had arrived before him.

He claimed that he had used a “long shot” to videotape the injured, because he had noticed 2 red markings on the external wall of 3/F of the car park. He described that when he saw the markings at the scene, they were about the size of hands, and he at first felt that it was quite strange, but later found that the two red markings looked “more like paint.”

Mung explained that because he worked in construction, and saw that there was no fluidity observed in the red markings after several minutes, he concluded that it was paint. Later under interrogation by Chow family’s lawyer Flora Cheng Suk-yee, Mung said that he had returned to the scene on the following day and saw that the red markings were dry, and did not streak, so he felt they must have been paint. Cheng asked Mung whether he had seen a dark and long marking on a beam on 3/F of the car park, Mung said that he did not pay attention.

- CCTV Shows Injured on Footbridge; Witness: Did Not Realise He Passed by -

The CCTV clip from the footbridge connecting Beverly Garden and Sheung Tak Car Park A was played in court, and showed that at 01:02 on 4 Nov last year, Mung stood on the side of the bridge. At the lower right corner of the video, near the end of the bridge, a young male appeared. The Coroner asked Mung, “Witness, do you see a young person wearing a cap and a crossover bag? Does he resemble the injured person that you saw?” Mung then said, “Yes…the shoes…I did not realise he passed by me.”

- Coroner: Hope More People Would Come Forward -

The Coroner’s Officer pointed out that a young male in white cap had appeared multiple times in the CCTV video of the footbridge connecting the car park to Beverly Garden, but Mung said that he could not recall the young male, “I can’t tell where I had seen him.” He added that “everyone questioned why the paramedics had not arrived for such a long time,” he felt that the injured person was situated in a far place, so a white-clad middle-aged male left the car park to see if paramedics needed guidance to reach the scene.

Mung pointed out that after Alex Chow was carried onto an ambulance, he had seen the white-clad man on G/F, in a distraught state, wandering in the basketball court. The Coroner suspects that the white-clad young man was the one who found the injured person and sought help. Mung claimed that the male did not share any information about himself, but he could try to get in touch indirectly. The Coroner then said, “I hope we can find more witness”, “via indirect means”, and Mung responded, “I also want to find them, and this is why I stepped forward.”

The Coroner added, “The CCTV showed many people appearing at the scene. I had made an appeal, Chow’s father also made an appeal, but it’s useless if they (the witnesses) are not willing…I hope to see more people who had been near the scene stepping forward, and it’s the only thing we can hope.”

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193)

https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E5%B8%82%E6%B0%91%E8%AD%89%E4%BA%BA%E7%9B%AE%E6%93%8A%E5%82%B7%E8%80%85-%E8%B6%B4%E5%9C%B0-%E5%A7%BF%E5%8B%A2-%E5%BD%A2%E5%AE%B9-%E6%9C%89%E7%A8%AE%E6%83%B3%E8%B5%B7%E8%BA%AB%E7%9A%84%E6%84%9F%E8%A6%BA/
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079046
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079041

*** 
24 Nov/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Alex Chow Breathing, Limbs Moving, Blood Seeping from Face Mask and Dazed Look in Eyes: Firefighter; Lawyer Representing Police Points Finger at Protesters for Roadblock Delaying Access to Alex Chow

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. On the 7th day of his coroner’s inquest, Po Lam Fire Station Senior Fireman and First Responder Lai Wai-kit yesterday testified that when he arrived at the upper part of 2/F of the car park, a man came running from the slope leading from 3/F, shouting, “Someone fell down!” When Lai arrived where the injured person was, he saw that the face mask worn by the injured was moving up and down, that the injured was still breathing. After Lai turned the injured over, his limbs were still moving, that he voluntarily jerked his leg at the wall. Lai and another firefighter were protecting the injured’s head and limbs, but to prevent hurting the injured, they allowed him to move closer to the wall.

- Makes U-turn to Bypass Roadblock on Way to Car Park -

Lai claimed that at 00:43 on 4 Nov last year, he received notification from control centre that the automatic fire alarm had sounded at Sheung Tak Car Park, so his team was dispatched to the car park. He added that if the fire alarm was pressed or if there was high humidity, then the alarm could go off automatically.

Together with 4 team members, Lai boarded a Light Rescue Unit within 1 minute of receiving notification, and made a right turn coming out from the fire station, and a Hydraulic Platform departed at the same time, making a left turn from the fire station to avoid having both vehicles encounter potential roadblocks. Lai’s unit followed Po Lam Road North then onto Po Hong Road before turning onto Tong Ming Street. Along the way, they came across roadblocks such as bricks on the road, hence Lai instructed the members to help move obstructions away from the road, then the vehicle drove to the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street. Lai claimed that he saw protesters and riot police in a standoff at the intersection, hence he notified control and told the driver to make a U-turn immediately.

At about 00:53, the Light Rescue Unit stopped when it reached the bus stop on Po Hong Road, and Lai together with his members disembarked, carrying their breathing apparatuses and face masks, then walked over to the fire control room outside Sheung Chi House via the road next to Kwong Sun House. Lai pointed out that when they stopped the vehicle on Po Hong Road, they did not see any police vehicles and did not see any officers along the way. When they arrived at the control room, Lam and his team was joined by the Principal Fireman Chim (translit.) from another Fire Services Department (FSD) team, and from the display at the control room, they checked where the alarm had sounded and did not find any sources of fire.

Lai told the court that after the two teams convened, Chim instructed the 9 present to form 3 teams and patrol the entire car park. Lai and one of his team members Wong Hong-kit (translit.) were in charge of patrolling 2/F, while Chim and another member remained in the control room.

- Man Runs Over Shouting: Someone Fell! -

Lai and Wong took the elevator to 2/F, then turned right from the elevator to patrol against the direction of traffic. They eventually went up the slope to check the upper part of 2/F. Lai said that during the patrol, he saw a number of citizens walking briskly in the car park but there was no argument or chasing, and on 2/F near TKO Spot, he had smelt a trace of tear gas, with a slight white haze still in the air, but was not certain whether the fire alarm was connected to the smoke and tear gas.

When Lai arrived at the upper part of 2/F, he suddenly saw a man of approximately 1.7m height, wearing dark clothing and a face mask, running down from the 3/F, shouting, “Someone fell!” Lai then responded, “Where did they fall? What happened? Where are they now?” The man did not respond but only pointed in the direction of the lower part of 2/F, and led Lai to the place.

- Firefighters See Injured Bleeding from Nose & Mouth, Turn Injured over and Limbs Had Movement -

Lai arrived at the parking spot in front of the injured, climbed over the short barrier and onto the sidewalk. Lai saw a black-clad person lying face down on the ground, and there was no one around him. Since Lai was also a First Responder and trained in first-aid, he could help treat the injured before paramedics arrived. Lai took off his breathing apparatus and face mask, and asked the injured, “Sir, what’s your name? What happened?” However, the injured did not respond.

Lai claimed that he saw the injured’s face mask moving, meaning that he was still breathing, though he did not speak. There was blood on the ground where the injured’s head rested, and there was blood on his face including nose and mouth, but the blood was no longer flowing. He said that after inspection, there was obvious trauma to the head of the injured person, but no bone fracture.

Wong was then instructed by Lai to first take care of the injured, and Lai reported to Chim that “A man had fallen from a height, still breathing, need support and an ambulance.” Lai then asked citizens nearby to help find voluntary first-aider and hoped to borrow some first-aid supplies, because the team had been dispatched to a fire alarm call, they did not bring their own medical supplies.

Later, due to the injured person’s bag got in the way, Lai cut off the straps of the bag and inspected the injured person’s back for any foreign objects. Lai and Wong then turned the injured person over, facing up, to prevent his breathing from being obstructed laying down.

After turning over the injured, the injured person’ limbs moved and had flexed but not forcefully. He was unconsciously trying to move towards the wall with his legs. Lai and Wong were protecting the injured’s head and limbs, and to prevent hurting him, they allowed him to move closer to the wall. Lai again tried to communicate with the injured, asking him, “What happened? What’s your name?” The injured still did not respond. Lai described that the injured had a dazed look in his eyes, with eyes half opened.

Later, Chim and other firefighters arrived together with first-aiders. Lai then borrowed scissors from the first-aiders to cut open the injured person’s clothing and concluded after a quick inspection that there was no bone fracture in the chest, and no other wounds on the body. Team members then secured the injured person’s head, put an oxygen mask on him, while taking his vitals. The injured person’s oxygen saturation was only 90%, lower than the norm of 96%; his heartrate was also very unstable, between 40-60bpm. Since the injured person was moving, they could not take his blood pressure. Lai said that a first-aider found the injured person’s HKID in his wallet, then read aloud his name, phone number, and noted that he was a student at HKUST.

- Riot Police Pass by, Firefighters Claim: “We’re saving a life!” -

Not long after, Lai suddenly heard a commotion. He lifted his head and saw a few riot police walking over from the other side of the short barrier. Lai said that he told the officer, “We’re saving a life!”, then continued his work. He did not pay attention whether the officers were talking, and the officers did not cross the short barrier to get onto the sidewalk. Upon probing by the Coroner’s Officer, Lai said that the riot police at the car park did not interfere with or obstruct the rescue, and that no assistance was required from the police during the treatment, so he did not seek help from the officers.

During the rescue, Chim had called for paramedics on the phone, and saw 3 paramedics walking towards the car park from Kwong Sun House, so Lai offered to lead them to the place. Lai said that later, his team members found that a Break Glass Call Point had been broken on 3/F.

A clip from the car park’s CCTV had been played in court, showing that at 01:03, a female cleaner had walked by 2/F, and Lai said that he recalled having seen her, but there was a gap between the time of the video and the actual time. At 01:06, a man ran from 3/F towards the upper part of 2/F, while Lai and Wong were walking up an adjacent slope up towards the same floor, but the two parties did not meet. Less than 10 seconds later, another man, the one who led the firefighters to the injured person, also ran down form the slope. Lai said that because he had heard the man’s voice so he looked over, but he was not sure whether the man was calling for help because he saw the firefighters.

- Lawyer Representing HKPF Points Finger at Protesters for Blocking Roads, Delaying Life-saving Treatment -

Barrister Samson Hung Kin-ming, the lawyer representing the police, asked Lai whether the Light Rescue Unit had been forced to make a u-turn due to the objects obstructing the road, Lai denied the allegation, but said that because there were protesters present, and stressed, “They were all standing there, but did not intentionally make an obstruction.” However, Hung was not satisfied with Lai’s response, “Objectively speaking, were they (protesters) blocking the road, so that the fire vehicle could not enter?” Lai eventually concurred.

A FSD voice recording was played in court of a dialogue between Law Yee-shan (translit.), the commander in charge of deploying vehicles at the control centre, and the Senior Fireman of the Hydraulic Platform. At 00:50 on 4 Nov last year, control centre asked, “Have you arrived?” Senior Fireman responded, “Negative. There are riot police and protesters at the scene, we’re waiting nearby for a while.” At 01:01, the Senior Fireman reported to control, “According to the commander, there is no smoke and no fire at the scene, an investigation is on-going.”

Lawyer Flora Cheng Suk-yee representing Alex Chow’s family asked Lai and Wong whether the injured person’s back was wet or dry after they cut open his clothing, both Lai and Wong said that they did not pay attention to that.

The Coroner’s Officer disclosed that at around 15:00, new information had been received from a citizen who contacted Alex Chow’s family, but a statement had yet to be taken.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079074
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079079
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E6%B6%88%E9%98%B2%E9%9A%8A%E7%9B%AE%E4%BE%9B%E8%BF%B0-%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E7%9C%BC%E7%A5%9E%E8%BF%B7%E6%83%98-%E5%8F%A3%E7%BD%A9%E6%9C%89%E8%B5%B7%E4%BC%8F-%E4%BC%BC%E5%91%BC%E5%90%B8/
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E9%9A%8A%E7%9B%AE%E8%A2%AB%E5%95%8F%E7%A4%BA%E5%A8%81%E8%80%85%E6%9C%89%E5%90%A6%E9%98%BB%E6%B6%88%E9%98%B2%E8%BB%8A%E5%81%9C%E6%B3%8A-%E5%88%9D%E6%8C%87-%E5%94%94%E8%A6%BA%E5%BE%97%E7%89%B9%E7%99%BB-%E8%AD%A6%E5%A4%A7%E7%8B%80%E8%BF%BD%E5%95%8F%E4%B8%8B%E7%AD%94-%E5%AE%A2%E8%A7%80%E4%B8%8A%E9%98%BB%E7%A4%99/
***

25 Nov/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Firefighters Smell Tear Gas and See Fire Hose Unfurled on 3/F of Car Park, White-capped Young Man Captured on CCTV to Testify 


22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. Today (25 Nov) was the 8th day of his coroner’s inquest, two more emergency responders testified in court. Po Lam Fire Station Fireman and First Responder Tang Chi-hang (translit.) claimed that he was in charge of patrolling 3/F of the car park that night in response to a fire alarm call, and had smelt a stinging scent that he suspected was tear gas. He then saw a fire hose unfurled for about 10m and strewn on the ground, and the Break Glass Call Point had also been activated, but there was no sign of fire then. In addition, when Tang found the injured person, the injured did not have any wounds, fractures, bruises or bleeding anywhere on the body below the waist. Firefighter Shum Ling-fung (translit.) had patrolled the car park in the opposite direction as Tang, so his path was closer to where the injured had presumably fallen from, and Shum said that he did not see anyone during his patrol.

- 3/F Break Glass Call Point Broken, No Trace of Water on Ground -

Tang had taken a Light Rescue Unit together with Lai Wai-kit, Wong Hong-kit (translit.), and Shum that night. When Tang and a total of 9 others in a team arrived at the control room outside the car park, he and Shum were deployed to patrol 3/F of the car park to check for fire. When the two arrived on 3/F via elevator, they split up to check the surroundings.

Shortly after exiting the elevator on 3/F, Tang smelt a stinging scent and felt his eyes getting dry from what he suspected to be remnants of tear gas. He then saw a fire hose unfurled for more than 10m on the ground next to a parking spot near the end of the car lane next to TKO Spot shopping mall. The Break Glass Call Point had also been activated, but Tang could not recall clearly whether the hose reel was vertical or rolled up. He observed that there was no source of fire at the scene, so he couldn’t understand why someone would break the glass and unfurl the fire hose. Tang added that there was no trace of any objects having been doused in water, no puddles, and there was no trace of water on the fire hose; he eventually reported what he saw to the event commander Chim Tak-pang (translit.).

Tang added that if the break glass had been broken, then the fire pump and fire alarm would be raised. He said that during his inspection of the fire hose, a citizen had walked by in front of him.

- Learns of Injured Person on 2/F via Walkie-talkie; Someone Wearing Reflective “Press” Vest Present -

He then proceeded to walk down from the upper part of 2/F, and on the other side of the same floor, he saw Shum, with some distance between them. Tang told Shum to continue their search on the lower part of 2/F, and that they would meet there. At the same time, Tang had heard through the walkie-talkie that firefighter Lai Wai-kit had found an injured person, hence he immediately went to the lower part of 2/F. On the sidewalk of 2/F he saw an injured person, and Lai and Wong were already present resuscitating the injured. There were a small number of citizens near to them.

Tang then proceeded to rush forth to help the injured. He said that he saw the injured person facing up, with traces of blood that came from the head, noise, and mouth, but the bleeding seemed to have stopped. The injured person was breathing and had a heartbeat, but he seemed to be in an unconscious state, and his limbs were moving about. At that time, the injured person was no longer wearing a face mask, and someone had given Tang a first-aid kit, so he took out some dressings to give to Lai to wipe away some of the injured’s blood to facilitate inspection. Tang also helped inspect the injured for possible injuries on the lower half of his body, and he found that the injured person did now have any wounds, fractures, bruises or other obvious signs of trauma, and there was also no bleeding on the lower body.

Then a team member arrived carrying first responder tools, and commander Chim and other members also arrived to help. Lai and Wong then led paramedics to the scene to help treat the injured. Tang claimed that someone wearing a reflective vest with the word “Press”, someone who he believed to be a journalist, had said that the injured person was a student of HKUST, and that HKUST should be notified.

While they were treating the injured, some riot police walked by at one point, but since Tang was busy helping the injured person, he did not bother to talk with the police, but only heard Lai telling the officers, "We’re saving a life.”

On the car park’s CCTV, at about 01:03 on 4 Nov last year, Tang and Shum were on 3/F. At 01:08, the two had arrived at the lower part of 2/F and walked over to the sidewalk where the injured person was found.

Shum, who had patrolled on 3/F along with Tang, had taken a route that was closer to where the injured person had fallen from, and Shum testified that he did not make any discoveries after his patrol, and when he walked down to the upper part of 2/F, he couldn’t find Tang. Shum even tried to contact Tang using his walkie-talkie, but did not succeed due to bad reception, and he even got lost. He then resumed his patrol, but did not discover that the Break Glass had already been broken, and he also did not encounter anyone, or that 2/F was broken into the upper and lower parts. Shum eventually succeeded in contacting Tang, at which point he learned that Tang would descend one floor, so Tang told Shum to go down and meet him there.

- Injured Person Moans and Makes Undecipherable Sounds -

Shum said that when he walked towards the slope going towards the lower part of 2/F, he encountered Chim and commander Cheng Shu-wing (translit.). At this point, a citizen approached them and said that someone had been injured and needed firefighters to help, and even led them to where the injured person was. Shum arrived and also joined the rescue, and saw the injured person was facing the ceiling, that there was blood on his face, and that blood was found in his hair, nose and mouth. No wound could be found on the head, and the injured person had moaned and made some undecipherable sounds. Shum was charged with securing the injured’s head out of fear of the injured having neck and spine problems. During the resuscitation, Shum had heard who he believed to be a citizen and voluntary first-aider mention, “He fell down.”

Coroner David Ko Wai-hong asked Shum whether the walkie-talkies were having very poor reception then, and Shum agreed, and said that when he received commands from Tang on the device, they were broken.

From footage retrieved from the CCTV of the car park, Shum was seen at 01:03 that night walking from 3/F to 3/F via a slope, and that he had brushed past a number of citizens on 2/F. However, Shum said that it had been a year since the incident, so he could not recall this.

The commander of the operation that day, Principal Fireman Chim Tak-pang (translit.) claimed that after they discovered the injured person, he had called control centre at 01:09 requesting an ambulance, and control replied that the ambulance was on its way. From footage provided by a civilian, about 17 minutes later, at 01:26, paramedics could be seen emerging from the direction of Kwong Ming Court, and Chim said at that time, “They are responding to another call”, but a paramedic said, “Take care of this case first!” Chim explained that the paramedics came from Kwong Ming Court, but he had instructed the ambulance to park outside the bus stop on Tong Ming Street, so he thought that they were not here to treat the injured person. Later Chim called the paramedics and confirmed that they were coming from the direction of Kwong Ming Court.

- FSD Vehicle Encounters Blockage due to Bus at Tong Ming St, Pass Through after Bus Yields -

Chim testified that he and 3 other members of his team boarded a Hydraulic Platform that night and when their vehicle reached Tong Ming Street near Sheung Shun House of Sheung Tak Estate, 3-4 buses were stopped short of the intersection due to bricks strewn at the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street. The buses slowly yielded to the Fire Services Department (FSD) vehicle, and the process took about 3 minutes.

The FSD vehicle then continued onward for 10m until it reached the intersection, at which point under normal circumstances, it would make a left turn into Sheung Tak Estate, but since there were protesters and a roadblock there, the vehicle did not make a left turn, but passed by the intersection and stopped outside the bus stop near Sheung Lai House on Tong Ming Street. It was 00:55 at that time, and Chim said that the vehicle parked there because there was a well which made access to water convenient.

- Firefighter Says “Sensitive Incident” so Reviews Records afterwards -

The Coroner’s Officer asked Chim how he could be certain of the time when the vehicle was parked, Chim said that he had looked at the records afterwards, because he “knew that this was a sensitive incident, and might have to testify in court one day”. He had also tried to learn more from his colleagues. There was a computer terminal on the FSD vehicle, and so control centre could know the time of arrival of the vehicle after pressing a button. The Officer asked Chim again why he felt that the incident was sensitive, and Chim responded that it was because he had seen protesters and riot police on Tong Ming Street.

He continued, saying that since he saw riot police launching tear gas at the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street, he contacted control to say that they would need more time to get to the destination. He and 3 team members then disembarked and carried their breathing apparatus, universal axe and other tools to walk over to the car park, and then into the control room. During their walk, they had heard the fire alarm sounding off, but he was not aware of the location of the Light Rescue Unit at that time.

When Chim arrived at the control room, the firefighters that took the Light Rescue Unit had already arrived, but it could not be seen on the monitors which Break Glass Call Point had been activated, so he arranged 2 teams of a total of 7 members to split up into 3 teams to survey 1/F, 2/F, and 3/F of the car park. Besides sending 3 members to G/F, and 2 members each to 2/F and 3/F, Chim and another team member Wong Bun-foh (translit.) remained in the control room.

- Learn of Injured Person on Walkie-talking, Civilian Leads the Way -

About 5-10 minutes later, the members that surveyed 1/F returned, and claimed to not have found any activated call points. At this point, Chim received notification from Lai on 2/F, claiming that an injured person had been found and required support and to call for an ambulance. At 01:09, Chim called control centre to report the incident, and Principal Fireman Cheng Shu-wing (translit.) deployed members to retrieve first-aid supplies from the FSD vehicle. Chim and Cheng then took the elevator to 2/F, and when they walked on the slope, they encountered another team member Shum. The 3 then came across a civilian, and the man asked them, “Some is hurt, should I bring you over?” The man then led the 3 firefighters over to the injured person.

There, Chim saw Lai, Tang, and Wong helping the injured person. After observing the injured’s condition, he called control centre to provide more details on the situation. About 5 minutes later, an ambulance supervisor called Chim, and not long after speaking with the supervisor, Chim instructed Lai to escort the paramedics to the scene.

As to whether riot police had passed by during the treatment, Chim said that he was concentrating on communicating with the control centre so he only glanced over once and did not pay attention. He did not see if any officers had crossed over the short barrier or said anything.

- Firefighter Claimed on Call “Injured Person Jumped Down”, No Special Meaning to “Jump” -

A dialogue between Chim and a control centre staff was played in court, and at 01:09 that night, Chim called the centre claiming, “There is an injured pedestrian on site, possibly having fallen from a height. We need an ambulance, and the location is 2/F of Sheung Tak Estate Sheung Lai House Car Park. Two colleagues say that the injured is bleeding.” The control centre staff said that they would deploy ambulance A344 to the scene, then asked the reason for the fire alarm, “Was it related to a Public Order Event?” Chim said, “It’s an unwanted alarm”. The control centre staff pressed further, “Was it because of tear gas?” Chim replied, “It’s break glass (call point)!”

At 01:13, Chim called the control centre again after observing the injured person, “The injured person had jumped down from 2/F platform,” and control centre said that ambulance A344 was on its way. Chim claimed that the injured person was “conscious for now, can move and no feeling, and colleagues are still administering first-aid.” The Coroner David Ko Wai-hung asked especially whether the use of the word “jump” in Chim’s statement that “the injured person had jumped down from 2/F platform” had special meaning, Chim said he didn’t, but that he only heard his colleagues say “fall from height”.

- 2nd Ambulance Arrives after Injured is Taken away -

At 01:34, paramedics had already taken the injured person away to head to the hospital, and Chim called control centre again, “The injured person is being taken to an ambulance to be escorted away,” but Chim said that another ambulance, A237, was trying to contact him. The paramedic of A237 claimed that they were on the way to treat an injured person who had jumped from Sheung Lai House, so Chim thought that they were treating another case. Final at 01:42, after Chim had spoken with staff of ambulance A237, he concluded that they were actually treating the same case, and Chim was already preparing to leave the scene. Senior Fireman Yeung Hon-fai (translit.) was in charge of summoning an ambulance, and at 01:51, he informed Queen Elizabeth (QE) Hospital’s Accident & Emergency Unit to expect the injured person, and share his vitals with QE.

When time came for the examination of witnesses by the lawyer representing the police, barrister Samson Hung Kin-ming, they repeatedly asked Chim, “Could help have been sought from the police at the roadblock? But you didn’t make this choice, was it because you thought there was no need to solicit the police’s help, that you could handle it on your own?” As for riot police passing by the injured person, Hung asked, “If the situation was dire and you saw an officer, could you request assistance?” After about 5 seconds, Chim responded, “Offering treatment was top priority.”

The Coroner revealed that another civilian had provided new information and might testify in court. The civilian was a young man wearing a white cap who had been captured on CCTV multiple times, and at 01:06 on the night of the incident, he had ran from 3/F to the upper part of 2/F, while firefighters were taking an adjacent slope upwards towards the same level, but the two parties did not encounter each other. Less than 10 seconds later, another man, one wearing dark clothes and had led firefighters to the injured person, ran down from the slope.

Another CCTV clip showed the same young man in white cap running up the slope from the upper part of 2/F towards 3/F at 01:05. The young man was among the first 3 people to have emerged from 3/F after the injured person’s fall from height, but firefighter Shum, who had walked from 3/F to the upper part of 2/F, testified in court that he had no impression of the white-capped young man. It was possible that the white-capped young man had witnessed the entire incident of Alex Chow’s fall from height.

To save time, the statements from the remaining firefighters involved in the incident would be read aloud in court tomorrow (26 Nov), and allow them to supplement their statements further as may be necessary.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079112
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079122
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079123
https://www.dbchannel.hk/2020/11/25/%E3%80%90%E6%B2%89%E5%86%A4%E5%BE%85%E9%9B%AA%E3%80%91%E4%BA%8B%E7%99%BC%E7%95%B6%E6%99%9A%E6%B6%88%E9%98%B2%E4%B8%BB%E7%AE%A1%E8%A9%B9%E5%BE%B7%E9%B5%AC%E4%BD%9C%E4%BE%9B-%E8%A9%B3%E7%B4%B0%E4%BA%A4/
***

26 Nov/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest 2 Youth Discover Fallen Chow: Cleaner; First-aiders Shed Light on Dire Condition after Alex Chow’s Fall, Reveal Police’s Order to First-aiders to Leave 

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. On the 9th day into his coroner’s inquest, a mother-daughter duo who were cleaning cars at the car park were called to the witness stand. The mother, Wan Kwai-chen (translit.) told the court that at around midnight that night, she sat on the short barrier on the lower part of 2/F to rest. It was then that she saw two youth who seemed sad and did not talk. She felt that they seemed strange so she turned to look at the sidewalk, and found them “dumbfounded” and kept staring at the ground, and there was “someone lying on the ground motionless”. They had called to the injured person and bent down to inspect him. When Wan saw the firefighters arrive, her “heart felt at ease”, and one of youth even took off his mask and smiled to her. The Coroner’s Officer had told Wan’s daughter, Wan Suet-lam (translit.) that she could point out the location of the injured person on the 1:40 3D model of the car park produced by the police, but she said, “Your model doesn’t resemble the car park, I don’t get it.” The Coroner’s Officer provided a floorplan of the car park to the daughter, and she said that she didn’t know how to read it.

- Cleaner Sees Sad Youth Staring at Motionless Injured Person -

The mother said that between 19:00 3 Nov to 01:30 4 Nov last year, she and her daughter were working at Sheung Tak Car Park A. She said that there were many citizens walking about, ranging from youth to middle-aged. At about 00:40, Wan heard the fire alarm go off on the upper part of 2/F and it was very noisy. She saw a bit of haze in the direction of TKO Spot shopping mall, then her daughter went to Beverly Garden to continue cleaning vehicles, and she herself pushed her cleaning trolley down the slope to the lower part of 2/F, parked it next to the elevator and she then took a break sitting on the short barrier next to the sidewalk.

She continued, saying that while resting, she faced the car lane, and saw 2 youth in dark clothing, one of them wore long pants, had a cap and a face mask, and was taller. The other youth wore shorts, had a more angular face and was shorter. She said that there were often young people at the car park at night chatting over a few beers. However, after taking a look at the 2, she saw that they seemed sad and did not talk, unlike the happy and chatting youth she used to see, so she felt strange and turned to look at the sidewalk. She found the two “dumbfounded” and staring at the ground, and there was “someone lying on the ground motionless”, “a youngster had laid there”. The youth were watching the injured person from a distance of 2-3 persons away, and had called to the injured person and bent down to take a closer look.

Wan concluded at that time that “someone fell here”, so when she saw firefighters passing by on the car lane, she immediately led them over. She said that upon seeing firefighters at the scene, her “heart felt at ease”, and that the youth in long pants looked to be “relieved”, and he even took off his face mask and smiled at Wan, but the youth in shorts had already left. She then phoned her daughter and asked her come over to the car park, and during that time, she had seen a firefighter talking on the phone, but did not know who he was calling. Not long after, 3 more firefighters emerged from the elevator, and she left the scene shortly after her daughter joined her. She had felt that the firefighters suddenly “arrived quite quickly”, and was puzzled that “there was no stretcher.”

She testified that she had not walked over to look at the injured person, because “I was a bit afraid”, and just wanted to try to help. The Coroner’s Officer asked if she would recognise the youth if she saw him again, and Wan responded, “All Sheung Tak youth look alike.” She also said that she did not sense any smoke and did not feel any stinging in her eyes.

Wan’s daughter testified that she too heard the fire alarm at the car park at 00:40, but she was certain that it was “fake”, because she saw a fire hose unfurled on the lower part of 2/F near the shopping centre, that it was very obvious to see because the hose was red. Her testimony of seeing the unfurled fire hose on 2/F contradicted the account provided by the firefighters that the unfurled hose was on the 3/F. 

- First-aider Claims Police Gave Verbal Command to Leave, Lawyer Questions Why Claim Was Previously Unreported -

Voluntary first-aider Wah Ha (translit.), who helped treat Alex Chow at the scene, testified that prior to the arrival of the ambulance, he gently held Chow’s hand in “hope of giving him moral support.” According to Wah, about 20 riot police walked over on the car lane and told people to leave during first-aid, and his claim drew question from the lawyer representing the police that his claim in court differed from what he had previously recorded, and asked Wah whether he understood that he could be prosecuted for making a false statement.

Wah said that he had completed basic first-aid training back in 2014 and had relevant experience. On 4 Nov, he along with 3-4 volunteers had gone to Sheung Tak Estate donned in reflective vests, and at about 01:00, they came across a local resident who approached them for help, claiming that “someone fell at the car park and needed assistance.” The resident led the first-aiders to the car park’s elevator, and there they encountered 3-4 firefighters, so they joined them and arrived together at the lower part of 2/F, where he saw 2-3 firefighters treating the injured person. There, Wah did not see any smoke or haze, and did not smell any tear gas.

Wah was responsible for inspecting the injury on Alex Chow’s left leg, and concluded that there was no external wound. He also noted Chow had incontinence, as his pants had become wet and Wah smelt the scent of urine; Chow moaned in pain. Wah then inspected Chow’s left foot and after removing his shoes, he noted that there was no trauma on the left foot. He then found a wallet in the pant pocket and passed it over to someone in a reflective “PRESS” vest, who then took out Chow’s HKID and student card, confirming the injured person to be Alex Chow and that he was an HKUST student. The journalist then asked if anyone could help contact Chow’s family and the HKUST student union. Wah took a photo of Chow’s HKID and sent it to a friend, who replied that they did know Chow. At one point, Wah thought that Chow would be sent to Tseung Kwan O Hospital, but eventually found out that Chow would be sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. After Wah arrived at the scene for about 30 minutes, he saw paramedics carrying a stretcher arrive.

Lawyer Flora Cheng Suk-yee, representing Chow’s family, asked Wah whether he had touched Chow’s hand. Wah said that before the ambulance arrived, he had held Chow’s hand in “hope of giving him moral support”, but did not pay close attention to the hand.

- First-aider Testifies that Riot Cops “Did not obstruct first-aid in action, but verbally told us to leave” -

During first-aid, Wah saw 10-20 riot police walk by on the car lane and was asked, “What are you doing here?” Wah said that the firefighters responded saying that they were there saving a life, and then the riot police left after a few minutes. The Coroner’s Officer asked, “Did anyone interfere with the administration of first-aid?” Wah responded, “In terms of action, no, but the police did tell us to leave.” The Coroner David Ko Wai-hung asked, “The police told you to leave as soon as they arrived?” Wah claimed that the police had yelled at them to leave.

Barrister Samson Hung Kin-man asked Wah whether he had seen the number of officers asking people to leave, but Wah said that he did not recall, but only heard someone yelling, and that there were others also at the scene. Hung continued, “If you did not see who was telling people to leave, then you can’t say for sure that it was said by a riot police, right?” Wah disagreed, saying, “Other people were on the sidewalk, whereas the voice came from the car lane.” Hung followed up to ask, “Did the police obstruct the first-aid?” Wah replied with certainty, “I maintain my stance, they did not do any actions to interfere.”

Hung then read aloud the statement Wah made to the police on 13 Jan this year, and the police asked, “Was there any interference of the first-aid process?” Wah had responded that there was no interference at that time, and at court today (26 Nov), Wah claimed that he did not understand the scope of interference covered in the question. Hung questioned why Wah’s account differed in court and in his statement, to which Wah answered, “I had told the police very clearly that I had been asked to leave verbally.” Hung asked Wah if he had signed his statement to confirm the accuracy and truthfulness of his statement, and if he understood that making a false statement could result in prosecution. Hung questioned Wah in a pressing tone, “Now what you say has changed, but you signed the statement then, why?” Wah claimed that his response that day was in line with what he thought and understood then.

Hung continued to point out the difference between Wah’s testimony in court and the statement he gave, and why there was no supplement added in his 2nd statement taken on 3 days later. Wah explained that he felt nervous when he made his 1st statement, and asked for Hung’s understanding. Moreover, Wah explained that he had been unwilling to recall the scenes from that night, but he had discussed the event with a friend after he learned that he would be summoned to testify at the inquest, but he managed to recall more details than what he originally recorded in his statement with the police. Finally, under repeated attacks from Hung, Wah finally agreed that he had “heard someone telling them to leave the scene, but could not be sure if it was said by the police.” The Coroner asked, “You said that the police interfered, do you feel that the police should have helped, but they did not, so you felt that they had obstructed first-aid?” Wah agreed.

- Chow Needed Immediate Hospitalisation: First-aider -

Another volunteer first-aider, 17yo F.6 student Tsang Long-hin (translit.) told the court in detail about Chow’s injuries, and that he had asked local residents at the scene how Chow got hurt, and a resident told him, “(He) seemed to have been dodging tear gas.” Tsang had inspected Chow’s lower body for injuries, and noted his incontinence, which he assumed to be related to a fractured pelvis. He then confirmed his assumption when he felt that there was indeed a pelvic fracture, and that there was a protrusion of Chow’s right rib and rib fracture; Chow also had pneumothorax.

Tsang explained that he had joined Cub Scouts from when he was very little, and had completed the St. John’s Ambulance first-aid training. Since September last year, he had become a volunteer first-aider at public order events, and would join doctors and nurses provide first-aid. In the early hours of 4 Nov last year, Tsang learned that local residents were seeking help because the police had launched tear gas, so promptly arrived at Sheung Tak.

At 01:00, a local resident sought his help, and claimed that “someone fell from 3/F to 1/F” at the car park, so Tsang and 2 other volunteer first-aiders took an elevator to the scene, and in the meantime, encountered about 6 firefighters. After they emerged from the elevator, they saw the injured person, Alex Chow, and a local resident next to him taking photos and asking for their help. Tsang saw blood on the ground, so he asked the firefighter where the blood came from, and one of the firefighters replied, “He threw up blood.” When Tsang asked the local resident how Chow got hurt, someone answered him, “(He) seemed to have been dodging tear gas.”

Tsang then proceeded to inspect the injuries on Chow’s lower body, and noted his incontinence, which he suspected to have been caused by a pelvic fracture. Further inspection for fractures confirmed Tsang’s suspicion, and he also noted that Chow had a protrusion from his right rib, and also a rib fracture and pneumothorax. He also examined Chow’s head, and noted that it had suffered serious impact and his vitals were unstable, so Tsang applied the oxygen saturation tool to Chow’s toe, and Chow’s oxygen level at one point fell from 97% to 90%, while his pulse remained between 40-60bpm.

Tsang told the court that about 4-5 minutes later, the riot police arrived, and a number of officers even attempted to walk up to the short barrier. At this point, a firefighter got up and talked with the police. At this point, Tsang heard a local resident telling the cops to leave, then the officers left. At about 01:23, Tsang wondered why it had been 6-8 minutes already but there was still no ambulance, and a firefighter stated, “The ambulance is blocked, they are on their way.”

- First-aider Attempts to Contact Chow’s Parents -

At 01:35, the ambulance finally arrived and Chow was on his way to the hospital by 01:43. Since Tsang was more familiar with Chow’s condition, he followed Chow to the hospital on the ambulance. Tsang found Chow’s phone from his right pant pocket on the ambulance and tried to contact his parents, but could not unlock his phone. Suddenly, two calls were received on Chow’s phone, one from the HKUST student union, and another from a friend of Chow, but since both incoming calls blocked their numbers, Tsang gave his own phone number to the two callers. During the transport to hospital, Chow’s condition continued to deteriorate, and his heartrate and blood pressure were in a downward spiral. After arriving at the hospital, Tsang waited outside A&E, and later learned from the doctor that Chow had a rib fracture, pelvic fracture, and a rapidly increasing intracranial pressure.

The Coroner asked how Tsang had learned first-aid, Tsang said that he had learned the theory from a first-aid training course, but hands-on experience in feeling bone fractures was acquired from public order events, since he had followed doctors and nurses treating patients with bone fractures. Upon further inquiry from the Coroner about Chow’s wounds, Tsang explained in further detail, “Besides fractures, he also had high abdominal rebound with severe internal bleeding in the abdominal cavity. Someone who has suffered such a massive blood loss, a low heartrate would not be surprising.” The Coroner praised Tsang’s professional performance, and Tsang added that “Even if there were doctors at the scene, Chow needed to go to the hospital, since he had such a severe intracranial pressure.”

- Helpless amidst Injustice in Society: First-aider -

After the hearing, Tsang had met privately with Chow’s father to offer moral support. He told reporters that due to personal reasons, he didn’t want to look back at the incident, so he had not seen Chow’s parents prior to the inquest, and had not yet stepped foot in the area since the incident. At the beginning of the inquest, he heard Chow’s father say, “(I) hope to find out the truth, but can only get so close to it.” Even if the inquest came to a final conclusion, it could only explain whether the death was suspicious without giving more details behind the event. Seeing Chow’s father this way made Tsang feel “at a loss”, feeling quite helpless in view of current society and injustices. He said that he had suppressed looking back at the incident, that he suffered insomnia and felt depressed.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079156
https://www.dbchannel.hk/2020/11/26/%e3%80%90%e6%b2%89%e5%86%a4%e5%be%85%e9%9b%aa%e3%80%91%e5%81%9c%e8%bb%8a%e5%a0%b4%e6%8a%b9%e8%bb%8a%e6%af%8d%e5%a5%b3%e4%bd%9c%e4%be%9b-%e6%af%8d%e6%8c%87%e8%a6%8b%e6%9c%89%e5%85%a9%e4%ba%ba%e8%a1%a8/
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079161
https://www.dbchannel.hk/2020/11/26/%E3%80%90%E6%B2%89%E5%86%A4%E5%BE%85%E9%9B%AA%E3%80%91%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E5%BA%AD%E5%82%B3%E5%8F%AC%E7%BE%A9%E5%8B%99fa-%E6%8C%87%E6%9B%BE%E6%8F%A1%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82/ 
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079162
https://www.dbchannel.hk/2020/11/26/%E3%80%90%E6%B2%89%E5%86%A4%E5%BE%85%E9%9B%AA%E3%80%9117%E6%AD%B2%E7%BE%A9%E5%8B%99fa%E8%A9%B3%E7%B4%B0%E8%A7%A3%E9%87%8B%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E5%82%B7%E5%8B%A2-%E6%8C%87%E6%9C%9B%E6%89%B6%E6%8C%81/
***

28 Nov: 27 Nov/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Route Detours No Delay to Treatment; Alex Chow’s GCS 111 = Not Responsive to Stimuli, Indicative of Deep Coma

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. Today (27 Nov) was the 10th day of his coroner’s inquest, and Senior Ambulanceman, Cheng Kwun-ming (translit.), who had transported Chow to the hospital that night, took to the witness stand, saying that the ambulance had twice encountered “stall vehicles” blocking the way to the car park, so the ambulance had to take a detour and then he walked about a hundred meters over to the car park. It took him 48 minutes from time of receiving the call to sending the injured person to the hospital. Cheng pointed out that the ambulance did take an extra 2-3 minutes to arrive at the scene due to the detour, but on the way to the hospital, they had taken an alternative route due to obstructed roads, and turned out to have taken a shorter route than intended, resulting in saving 1-2 minutes of time. The Coroner David Ko Wai-hung asked, “So in actuality, there was not really that much of extra time used?” Cheng agreed, and Ko asked further, “Although there were obstructions along the way, you think they did not delay sending the patient to get treatment?” Cheng again agreed.

- 48min from Time of Call to Arriving at Hospital -

The Coroner’s Officer read aloud the record of ambulance A344:
01:11 = ambulance received order
01:20 = arrived at Kwong Ying House, Kwong Ming Court
01:30 = got in touch with injured person
01:41 = escorted injured person onto ambulance
01:59 = arrived at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QE) A&E Unit

Cheng, Senior Ambulanceman of Po Lam Ambulance Depot who had transported Chow to the hospital that night, told the court that he – supervisor of the ambulance – along with driver Chan Chi-fung (translit.) and another member Shek Wing-hei (translit.) boarded ambulance A344. They had just finished attending to another call around midnight on 4 Nov last year, then at about 01:11 when they were on the way back to the Depot, they received a call for service, that someone had possibly been injured at Sheung Lai House, Sheung Tak Estate.

- Detour to Kwong Ying House, Encounter Obstruction -

On the way to respond to the call, the ambulance had sounded its siren and warning lights. From the turnabout, it turned onto Po Shun Road and then onward to Tong Ming Street, but they saw many “stalled vehicles” obstructing the intersection of Tong Ming Street near Tong Chun Street, including buses and private vehicles, so the ambulance could not stop at outside Sheung Lai House as originally intended.

Cheng stopped the ambulance and observed for a minute, then instructed the driver to make a left turn into Sheung Tak Estate at Sheung Shun House to reach the destination. At 01:20 when the ambulance arrived at Kwong Ying House, he again saw several “stalled vehicles”, such as illegally parked vehicles, blocking the intersection, so he notified his team to walk over to the scene, so he and his two team members brought a stretcher and other equipment from Kwong Ying House to Kwong Sun House and then into Sheung Tak Car Park, a 100m walk.

Cheng testified that he had spoken with the commander of the firefighters at the scene of the incident while he was still on the ambulance so that he could get details about the injured person. Along the way to the car park, he had seen 2 firefighters, but they were not the one who he talked with on the phone. They took the elevator together to reach 2/F of the car park, and arrived next to the injured person at 01:30, and Cheng was sure of the time because he had made an effort to check the time of arrival. Moreover, Cheng noted that he did not smell anything at the car park.

- Massive Swollen Mass near Injured Person’s Right Eye -

After Cheng gathered information about the injured person from the firefighters, he began to assess the injured. He said that the injured person then was facing the ceiling, in a coma, with nearly dried blood at the corner of his mouth, and his skin was warm and dry. Cheng also noted that there was an obvious swollen mass near the right eye, about the size of an egg, but there was no obvious sign of trauma such as a wound or bleeding. The firefighters had said that they suspected the injured person to have fallen from an upper floor of the car park, and after Cheng’s assessment, he suspected that the injured person had fallen from a height, resulting in a head injury, with possible injuries to his spine and pelvis.

Cheng testified that both of the injured person’s eyes pupils responded to light stimulus, right pupil was 5mm, left pupil was 2mm, while normally, left and right pupils should match and keep at 2-3mm dilation. Cheng said that Chow’s right pupil responded more slowly and abnormally, possibly a result of massive injury. Chow’s GCS (Glasgow Coma Scale) was 111, while a score of less than 13 (sum of the 3 digits) must be sent to the trauma centre. Chow’s Eye response, Verbal response, and Motor response only each scored 1, the lowest score possible, meaning that there was no response to any stimulus.

- Chow’s Breathing Frequency 20x/min, Unstable Vital Signs -

In Cheng’s record of the case, he mentioned that the main location of injury was the head, and suspected that he had fallen from a height of 3m, in a coma, and no major wounds. He noted that Chow’s corner of his right eye was swollen, with dried blood on the left corner of his mouth, a body temperature of 36.5°C. Cheng also recorded Chow’s breathing frequency as 20 times per minute, showing some difficulty, while Chow’s blood pressure could not be taken, possibly due to it being too low to measure. His heart rate was 72bpm, within normal range, while his skin was pale, warm, and dry.

As for Chow’s GCS of 111, a patient with a score below 13 must be taken to the trauma centre, and the normal score was 15. After checking the injured person’s breathing and pulse, Cheng provided oxygen, then used equipment to secure the spine and pelvis, and also to secure the head to prevent rotation. The firefighters had also applied a neck brace on the injured person, then he was taken away from the scene on a stretcher. From 01:37 onwards on the ambulance, Cheng read Chow’s vitals every 5 minutes, and Chow’s pulse at one point dropped to 68bpm while oxygen saturation jumped to 100%; 5 minutes later, on the final reading in the ambulance, Chow’s pulse returned to 72bpm.

On the ambulance, Cheng hooked Chow onto an ECG to monitor his condition, and also administered saline via intravenous injection. As for medication, Cheng told the court that he had injected tranexamic acid (TX) because Cheng suspected Chow of suffering from internal bleeding in the brain, making it not possible to read his blood pressure. To help coagulate Chow’s blood and counter swelling, Cheng administered TX 10 times, each time with a 100mg dose, the maximum usage possible.

A jury member asked Cheng where did the blood at Chow’s corner of the mouth come from, and Cheng replied that it had come from the oral cavity. Cheng noted that he did not feel any bone fractures, and no abnormality was found in the abdominal cavity. Another jury member asked Cheng why there were spaces not filled in the patient record, and Cheng said that because similar questions had already been answered, and that at that time, Cheng felt that saving a life was more important than filling in a form.

- Detour Required on Way to Hospital, but “Shorter Trip” -

At 01:35, Cheng and his team escorted the injured person from the car park, and then ran back to the ambulance. Cheng told the court that he did not see any police or suspicious persons while transported Chow from the scene. The ambulance departed from the scene at 01:41, then took the same route back to Tong Ming Street, and they did not encounter any obstructions.

When the ambulance arrived at Tong Ming Street, they were supposed to turn left and pass through the intersection, but since the driver said that there were still vehicles obstructing the road, they drove in the oncoming lane on Po Shun Road, and transported the injured person to QE’s A&E Unit, because that was the nearest hospital with a trauma centre. Cheng said that the detour to the hospital via Po Shun Road had actually been shorter than the original route through the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street then onward to Po Hong Road, and they eventually arrived at the hospital at 01:59.

- Mere 1-2min Difference between Original and Final Route -

The Coroner asked Cheng, “If an ambulance is called, would deployment be based on proximity of the available vehicles?” Cheng said that there is a computer system in charge of deployment, but he was not sure how it worked. Cheng told the Coroner that there was only a 1-2 minute time difference between taking the original route and the final route, and Cheng admitted that there was not much time difference. In addition, the Coroner asked Cheng, “Although there were vehicle obstructions along the way, you don’t think they delayed treatment for the injured?” Cheng concurred. He also pointed out that after he disembarked from the ambulance and until he loaded the injured person onto the ambulance, he did not see any police.

Ambulanceman Chan Chi-fung who was the driver that night, told the court that on the way to the scene of the incident, after turning onto Tong Ming Street, he had originally intended to turn into Sheung Tak Estate from the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street. However, due to traffic obstruction, he turned left at Sheung Shun House, and the trip was thus 2-3 longer than the original route. During the rescue, Chan did not see any police officers and did not come across any interference in his work. Since he had put on a face shield, he could not smell any tear gas, and he did not see any tear gas being launched.

On the way to QE, the original route had to be changed again due to vehicle obstructions, so again he did not take the route that would have passed the obstructed intersection, but doubled-back on the way he came. Chan said that the alternative route was actually shorter than the original one, about 1 min shorter, and smoother.

The Coroner asked Chan, “So the time difference between the planned route and the actual route was about 5 minutes?” Chan answered, “About that.” The Coroner also asked, “The ambulance normally also encounters traffic congestion? The congestion was not really bad?” Chan agreed.

A dialogue between the Fire Services Department control centre staff and Ambulance A344 was heard in court. At 01:11, the control centre instructed Cheng to proceed to the car park, saying that it was a “running call” from a Hydraulic Platform, but Cheng said, “I can’t hear anything,” and at 01:15, Cheng asked, “Is this a POE (public order event)?”, but control centre replied, “Not yet known, probably a fall from height, can move but not conscious.” Cheng asked further, “Are there firefighters at the scene? Can they be contacted directly?” Control centre provided Cheng with a contact number.

Another voice recording heard was from 01:49, when ambulanceman Shek told control centre to reserve a place at the trauma centre. Shek said, “Injured male, 22yo, suspected jump from a height, only measured pulse and GCS of 111.” 

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079184 
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079188 
https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20201128/35IV4QRSHRH7PESW7F52BMAL2A/
***

30 Nov/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Witnesses Recount Moment of Discovering Alex Chow after Fall

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. On the 11th day of Chow’s death inquest, two more civilian witnesses, who stepped forward having heard Chow’s father’s urgent appeal to the public for persons with information, testified in court. First, Mok Hon-bun (translit.) gave an account of how he had heard the sound of something having fallen in the car park that night. Another citizen, Chui Ka-long (translit.), who had been captured on CCTV as a “white-capped youth”, recalled in tears the traumatic experience of finding the injured person.

- Witness Hears Sound of Something Falling, Sees Motionless Alex Chow -

Mok told the court that he had looked over to the sidewalk at the lower part of 2/F of the car park and saw that “someone was lying there”. He then returned to checking his mobile phone, and seconds later, someone suddenly yelled, “Are you ok?” After he heard the voice, he saw someone walking over to the injured person, but the injured did not respond. Mok then said that as early as 01:03, he had heard “the sound of something falling”, but was not sure whether it was tear gas or a bullet, but he did not find the injured person then. Mok said, “I’m not sure what the sound was, but I felt that something must have happened, so I left.” The Coroner asked, “There were some sounds behind you but you did not turn around to look?” Mok said that he was worried and quite nervous then, and “suspected that it was the sound of tear gas”, and the sounds were muffled.

Citizen Mok said that at around 00:40 on 4 Nov last year, he was alone at Sheung Tak Car Park, wearing a black short-sleeve shirt, shorts, and slippers; he had heard the police launch tear gas, so he went out to check out the commotion. At about 00:50 as he was about to leave, he walked along the periphery of the car park on his way to the outer part of Beverly Garden. At this time, someone said that another police platoon had entered Sheung Tak Estate from Po Hong Road, so he walked to the 4/F platform of the car park as he wanted to get a better view.

In the upper part of 2/F, Mok said that he saw about 10 riot police passing by on Po Hong Road about 20-30m away, but did not pay attention to whether they had headlights on. Mok then took the slope down to the lower part of 2/F, and felt that the riot police on the ground seemed to have noticed him, so they shone their flashlights upwards in his direction. About 10 seconds later, he walked to the other end of the sidewalk, near TKO Spot shopping mall. He had smelt tear gas, since he wasn’t wearing a face mask, so he walked back deeper into the car park.

At that moment, Mok had seen a firefighter passing by in the lower part of 2/F, and later when he was on the sidewalk of that floor and saw “what looked like someone lying down on the sidewalk” on the right side about 10m ahead. He described the injured person as wearing dark clothes, but there was no one around. He then returned to checking his mobile phone, and seconds later, someone suddenly yelled, “Are you ok?” After he heard the voice, he saw someone walking over to the injured person, but the injured did not respond.

Mok then ran back into the car park, because he had seen a firefighter earlier, so he wanted to find him. However, he could not find him in the upper part of 2/F. He finally ran back to the injured person, saw that there were firefighters and other local residents there, so he went home, and before he left the scene, he had heard someone saying, “Hit by tear gas then fell down!” According to the CCTV, Mok had seen the injured person as early as 01:06.

- “White-capped Youth” Recounts Discovery of Injured Alex Chow -

Earlier in the inquest, the Coroner had noted that the “white-capped youth” captured on CCTV in Sheung Tak Car Park the night of the incident might have additional useful information for the inquest, and hoped that he would come forward. On 30 Nov, “white-capped youth” Chui Ka-long (translit.) testified that at about 01:00 on 4 Nov last year, he was behind the short barrier on 3/F of the car park when he saw a police personnel carrier on the street, and “wanted to get a closer look”, so he “went on tiptoes to reach out further, then looked down and saw someone lying there, with a pool of blood next to him,” in a posture that was something between lying on his side and laying face down, and he immediately shouted for volunteer first-aid.

Chui told the court that on the night of the incident, he was wearing a white cap, dark green short-sleeved T-shirt, black pants, and white running shoes, and had come home in Tseung Kwan O from another region at about 23:00 when he heard that something was happening in Sheung Tak Estate. Hence he did not take the usual route home, but had taken a detour and disembarked near Tseung Kwan O MTR Station, and proceeded to check out what was happening around Beverly Garden. Because he knew that there would be riot police and a crowd at Sheung Tak Estate, Chui felt that staying at Beverly Garden would be safer.

At about 00:30 Chui walked alone to the footbridge connecting Beverly Garden to Sheung Tak Car Park because he had heard a local resident said that someone was throwing things from up high at Beverly Garden, so he wanted to climb to a higher position to get a closer look. After about 5-10 minutes of the commotion, the surroundings had gotten even noisier, and someone also said that the police were then on Tong Chun Street near Kwong Ming Court.

Since Chui was curious whether there were also police entering the estate from another direction and he wanted to know if something would happen in the car park, he entered the car park and proceeded to the 3/F along the slope.

- Sees Injured Person, Desperately Cries for Help -

At between 01:00-01:05, Chui said that he was on 3/F of the car park and had reached the short barrier nearest the fire door exit. He looked out onto the street from behind the short barrier, and saw that there were red and blue flashing lights outside the garbage depot on Po Hong Road near Kwong Ming Court. There was a police personnel carrier there, and one riot police stood on the side of the road watching Chui with hands on their hips. There were other vehicles there but since Chui could not see clearly and had wanted to get a closer look, so he “went on tiptoes and get a closer look”. At this point, Chui began to weep and take deep breathes, his voice shaking, and held his hands in his head as he cried. Coroner David Ko Wai-hung at one point asked if Chui needed to take a break.

Chui continued his recount, “I looked down and saw someone lying there, with a pool of blood next to him, in a posture that was something between lying on his side and laying face down. The bloodstain was near the injured person’s head, and glasses were lying next to the injured. He said that after he witnessed this scene, “I knew I must get help, so he immediately shouted for volunteer first-aid. “I needed to find FA (first-aid), I wanted to get help.” Chui then ran back onto the footbridge connecting to Beverly Garden, and when he was about to go down the slope from 3/F, he encountered a man wearing a long-sleeved black windbreaker, so he took the man over to the short barrier to “point out to him, tell him to look down”, and say that someone had been injured and needed help. Chui said, “I kept running, hoping that someone would hear me.” He then ran over to the footbridge connecting to Beverly Garden without stopping, and ran a loop around the elevators.

- Alex Chow Can’t Respond: Not Certain if He Wants to Speak or Has Trouble Breathing w/Blood in Mouth -

Chui then ran to the lower part of 2/F where Alex Chow was lying, and asked him if he was ok, but Chow could not respond, “I wasn’t sure if he wanted to saying something, or had trouble breathing with blood in his mouth,” but only saw him “squirming”. He added that Chow’s injuries were severe beyond what he could possibly handle, so all he could do was to walk back and forth between the upper and lower parts of the car park.

When he returned again to Chow, he saw that there were 2 firefighters, but after he found out that the firefighters did not have first-aid supplies, he again ran up to the upper floor. When he reached the footbridge, two volunteer first-aiders followed him back to where Chow was, and Chui asked the firefighters, “What do you need? Tell me and I’ll get it for you.” The firefighter told him, “We’ll handle it, you stay calm.” Chui felt as if he “could not do anything to help”, and since he had heard someone say that the police were going to enter the car park, he left and did not return to the scene again.

The Coroner’s Officer asked Chui, “Did you sense that you were losing your balance when you went on tiptoes (next to the short barrier)?” Chui responded that he did not, since most of his body was still behind the stone wall. When the Coroner’s Officer gave some photos of the evidence to Chui to compare the scene, Chui’s hands shook at one point, and said that when he saw Chow, Chow was a bit farther back, that there wasn’t anyone near Chow, and there didn’t seem to be anyone near the sidewalk of the car park. Chui said that he was “a bit scared and shocked”, so he only observed for a dozen seconds or so. He recalled that before he saw the injured, he did not remember having heard any sounds near the injured person, because the alarm had sounded in the car park and there were noises nearby. He added that when he ran from 2/F to 3/F, he did not see any police officers, but there was a faint scent of tear gas in the tear gas, more so than the usual amount, but not enough so as to make breathing difficult. He had not paid attention to whether there was smoke or haze in the car park.

Following enquiry by the jury, Chui noted that there weren’t any vehicles parked next to the short barrier where he stood on 3/F, but the ground there was wet with a big puddle, “if you stepped in the puddle, your shoes would get wet, but not to the point of making a splash.” The jury asked further, and Chui said that he was 163cm tall, so when he went on his tiptoes, the short barrier had reached his chest.

- Friends of Alex Chow Testify in Court -

The court also heard testimonies from 4 friends of Alex Chow who had received phone calls on the night of the incident that he had been injured. The four described Chow was an out-going, cheerful and energetic person who liked to play basketball, and did not hear that he had any emotional issues. Chow’s primary and secondary schoolmate Cheung Ko-yiu (translit.) said that they would play basketball together 2-3 times a year, and that he had called Chow that night, but the call was picked up by a first-aider, so he went to Chow’s home to find his parents. He had visited Chow at the ICU in the hospital at 11:00 the next day, but Chow was in a coma and could not speak.

Chow’s primary schoolmate Ng Cheuk-man (translit.) said that he used to go to Chow’s home to play when they were still in primary school, and that he had met his parents. That night, he had heard someone say that Chow had been injured, so he called Chow but the call was picked up by a first-aider, so Ng too went to Chow’s home to notify his parents.

Leung Sin-tong (translit.), who met Chow back in S.2, said that she received a call from volunteer first-aider Wah Ha (translit.), that Chow had been injured, so she tried to get in touch with his family, and she had stayed at the hospital until 04:00 that morning.

Outside the court, Chui made an appeal to the public for persons with information to come forward, since “many tidbits that seem to be minor and trivial, when put together, could become useful information.” He understood that it would not be easy to step forward, but Alex Chow’s parents are “really warm and kind-hearted people”, and he hoped that “everyone would take this time to heal.”

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079233
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079229 
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079232 
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E5%B8%82%E6%B0%91%E4%BE%9B%E8%BF%B0%E7%99%BC%E7%8F%BE%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E7%B6%93%E9%81%8E-%E7%A8%B1%E6%9B%BE%E6%96%BC%E5%B0%9A%E5%BE%B7%E5%81%9C%E8%BB%8A%E5%A0%B4%E8%81%BD%E5%88%B0-%E8%B7%8C%E8%90%BD%E5%9A%9F-%E8%81%B2%E9%9F%B3/
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E7%99%BD%E5%B8%BD%E9%9D%92%E5%B9%B4%E5%87%BA%E5%BA%AD-%E7%A8%B1%E8%B8%AE%E8%85%B3%E6%9C%9B%E8%A6%8B%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E5%80%92%E6%96%BC%E8%A1%80%E6%B3%8A%E4%B8%AD-%E4%BD%9C%E4%BE%9B%E6%99%82%E4%B8%80%E5%BA%A6%E6%BF%80%E5%8B%95%E8%90%BD%E6%B7%9A/
***

1 Dec/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Critical 8 sec before Chow's Fall Not Recorded; Police Botch Evidence Collection: Skips Elevator & Stairwell CCTV Clips

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. At the inquest today, the Coroner’s Officer read aloud 3 witnesses’ testimonies, summoned police officer Ngai Kwun-kit (translit.), who was responsible for organising the CCTV clips, to take to the witness stand, and played a series of CCTV footages that showed Alex Chow’s whereabouts on the night of the incident. In particular, the court viewed a clip that was suspected of having captured the moment when Chow fell from a height; on camera C30 of the Sheung Tak Car Park at 01:02:24 on 4 Nov last year, it captured a flash of light of something that fell onto the platform of the platform on the lower part of 2/F. That clip was actually 37 seconds faster than real time, so based on the footage, it could be deduced that the time between Chow walking up to 3/F and his fall was merely 8 seconds.

View camera C30’s clip here: https://vimeo.com/371307950/d8c9a7ea05

- Written Statements from 3 Witnesses Heard in Court -

The Coroner’s Officer read aloud 3 witnesses’ testimonies, that of a security officer of Beverly Garden, Lee Chun-fai (translit.), Sheung Tak Car Park security officer Pang Siu-mei (translit.), and HKUST Vice-president of External Affairs at the time, Kelvin Leung Ming-hin. Lee said in his statement that at 02:00 on 4 Nov, 3 young people entered Beverly Garden, and learned that they had went to find the residents of a particular flat. He did not see any police officers entering Beverly Garden that4 night.

Car park security officer Pang said that she was on patrol between 23:00-00:00 that night, during which she did not encounter any police officers or firefighters, and had not smelt any tear gas. At about 00:30 that night, she heard “quite a commotion” outside, then saw from the CCTV monitors riot police rushing into the car park to make arrests. She pointed that that the fire alarm had sounded that night, and there were traces of damage to the fire safety equipment of the car park. However, she did not see any officers fire tear gas that night, but did hear gunfire, and she believed that they were sounds made when tear gas was launched. She said that it was only when she went to work the following day did she learn that someone had fallen from a height at the car park.

Kelvin Leung Ming-hin, who served as HKUST Student Union Vice-president of External Affairs at the time of the incident, described his actions that night in his statement. At about 01:30 on 4 Nov last year, he received notification from a member of the Student Union, saying that an HKUST student had fallen from a height and gotten hurt at the Sheung Tak Estate parking lot, and then he received photos sent by volunteer first-aid, in which Alex Chow’s wallet and student ID could be seen. He then went to Queen Elizabeth Hospital together with 2 HKUST Student Union members. He further described the process of handing Chow’s personal belonging to his parents, and how he and the University’s representative had visited Chow in the Intensive Care Unit on 5 Nov. He said that he saw the patient in a coma on the bed, with head in a distorted shape, and many bruises on the right side of the face. He pointed out that when he received Chow’s mobile phone from the volunteer first-aider, both the mobile phone screen and protective shield were intact.

- Police Fail to Obtain Car Park Elevator and Stairwell CCTV Recordings -

The court also summoned police officer Ngai Kwun-kit (translit., PC1659), who was responsible for handling the CCTV footages related to the case, inspecting them for time discrepancies, and to organise the track of Chow’s whereabouts and what happened in the car park on the night of the incident. Ngai had previously taken two statements prior to attending in court, the first of which described Chow’s tracks in Sheung Tak Car Park that night, as well as the people who had come and gone that night. In the 2nd statement, Ngai listed out the time discrepancies between CCTV clips of Sheung Tak Estate’s Car Park A, Beverly Garden, the footbridges nearby, and the shopping mall.

After the Coroner’s Officer read the witness’s statements aloud, the witness was interrogated by the Coroner’s Officer. Ngai said that he had never compared the footages obtained from the car park, and he showed hesitation and long periods of silence when he answered questions. When asked whether he had realised the car park clips and those uploaded by The Link online could be different if the version that he received had been tampered, Ngai paused a moment, then he answered, “I believe no.” Ngai said that he “believed the management office (of the car park) would help us, so I don’t think they would have deleted or removed parts of the recordings.” He also remained quiet for a long time after being asked whether he obtained the CCTV recordings from the elevator inside the car park, and then he said that he had never obtained the relevant footages from The Link, that he also never got the clips of the stairwell of the car park, because he believed that those locations did not have CCTV cameras installed.

Ngai told the court that after he viewed all the clips he obtained, he found that after Chow left his home at 23:54 on 3 Nov last night, every time he was captured on CCTV, he was walking alone, did not get in touch with anyone nor had he been chased by anyone; Chow was seen on camera either looking at his phone or at his surroundings. According to a compilation of the footages available, the car park’s C30 showed a flash of light at 01:02:24 on 4 Nov last night outside the pedestrian platform on the lower part of 2/F, and that moment was believed to be when Chow had fallen. Ngai pointed out that the flash of light captured on camera, he believed, was light reflected off of Chow towards the camera. Moreover, during the critical 8 seconds before Chow’s fall, none of the 4 cameras on 3/F of the car park showed that anyone had passed by that floor, as at the moment that Chow was suspected to have fallen, the camera that was closest to him happened to have rotated away from Chow’s direction as it continued its programmed automatic rotation, so it had not captured how Chow walked up to the parking spots on 3/F, and whether he had approached the short barrier behind the parking spots.

According to Ngai’s calibration against the official time of the Hong Kong Observatory, Sheung Tak Car Park’s CCTV was actually 37 seconds faster than real time, hence the time of Chow’s fall from a height should have been 01:01:47. From the CCTV at Beverly Garden showing the footbridge leading to the car park, Chow had walked up from the upper part of 2/F to 3/F at 01:01:39. The court also viewed a clip from camera C32 that at 23:41:42 on 3 Nov last year, which was 23:41:05 in real time, someone was seen on video to have unfurled the fire hose on 3/F of the car park.

The Coroner’s Officer announced that an expert would be summoned to analyse the flash of light captured by the CCTV.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137)

https://www.dbchannel.hk/2020/12/01/%E3%80%90%E6%B2%89%E5%86%A4%E5%BE%85%E9%9B%AA%E3%80%91%E8%AD%A6%E6%89%BF%E8%AA%8D%E9%A0%98%E5%B1%95%E6%9C%AA%E6%9C%89%E6%8F%90%E4%BE%9B%E5%8D%87%E9%99%8D%E6%A9%9F%E5%BE%8C%E8%B7%AF%E6%A2%AFcctv/

https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20201201/75XZ5VHZJNGBZARKIVRQ46XX5I/
https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20201201/BNHXQDM5VFDLDK7NDDBPMVQT74/
***

2 Dec: #AlexChowInquest Sudden Turnaround in Chow’s Tracts Caught on Tape

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. At today’s hearing, the Coroner’s Officer granted the request from lawyer Flora Cheng Suk-yee, representing  Alex Chow’s family, to playback the CCTV footage of the final 15 minutes before Chow fell from a height. The clip showed that when Chow was on 2/F, he made a sudden turn back towards the direction of Beverly Garden, and a jury member pointed out that Chow seemed to have made a small jump. The Coroner David Ko Wai-hung pointed out, however, that it was difficult to make any association with such action, but he said certainly, “For sure there was something happening at the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street at that time.”

The video showed that 15 minutes before Chow’s fall from a height, the fire hose next to the 2/F fire door of Sheung Tak Car Park had been touched by a number of citizens, and someone had tried to unfurl the fire hose but without success.

At 00:43, someone who resembled Chow appeared on 2/F. The man at first walked slowly, but then made a sudden turn back towards Beverly Garden’s direction. A jury member asked for a reply of the scene, and pointed out that when Chow turned around, he seemed to have jumped a bit, but the Coroner said that it would be hard to deduce anything from the video, but “For sure there was something happening at the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street at that time.”

A jury member then further pointed out that at 00:48 that night, someone who wore dark a dark shirt and pants, appeared on 2/F holding a camera. The Coroner said, however, that there were a number of people captured at the car park at that time, but that “we’re not looking for those people to come forward, so we can’t try to guess what they were doing when they passed out, since that would be pointless.” Coroner Ko also said that he understood that the jury members weren’t to find those who were in the know of the incident, but the case had been heard for more than 2 weeks already, so he believed that those citizens who were willing to make a testimony “would have already shown up”; he reminded the jury to focus on evidence presented to the court, and “don’t make too many guesses.”

The Coroner’s Officer then began the playback of the footage from a camera set up at the upper part of 2/F. the screen showed the time to be 00:54, when a white private vehicle drove up to the 3/F in the wrong lane. Chow’s father pointed out that at 00:47, a man wearing a dark jacket and long pants, emerged from the fire door of the upper part of 2/F, carrying an object that resembled a foldable chair in his right hand.

Lawyer Cheng then asked detective Kwun, who had been responsible for collecting and organising the CCTV footage, whether the Kwong Ming Court CCTVs had captured what happened in the car park on the record. Ngai responded saying that the cameras at Beverly Garden did not record what happened at the car park.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494)

https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20201202/GADGSF3CNJAAXPBEL7X5NBDKTU/
***

3 Dec/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Chow Likely Unconscious Prior to Fall: A&E Doc; Coroner Finds New Video Evidence Critical to Inquest, Abruptly Adjourns Court

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. Today (3 Dec) was the 14th day of the inquest into Chow’s death, and the court heard the testimony of Dr. Ray Leung, who was the first physician who had treated Chow at A&E that night, that there had been a blood clot in Chow’s meninges, and the leftward and downward movement of the blood clot had forced Chow’s brain towards the left; Leung had also spotted skull base fracture in Chow, and he suffered from an extremely high intercranial pressure. Leung also told the court that Chow did not have any red marks left by any bullets, tear gas, or rubber bullets on his body. The Coroner’s Officer also enquired whether Chow could have been hit by tear gas in the head, then suffered other injuries, which Dr. Leung confirmed could have been possible, but he could not ascertain the number of times Chow was injured. Leung also pointed out that if one had inhaled tear gas, then there would be swelling and redness in the mucous linings, such as red eyes, and a restriction of the trachea so that wheezing would happen when air flows through, but he did not observe these symptoms when he attended to Chow.

- Chow’s Injuries Mostly on Right-side, Suffered Forceful Impact Causing Basal Skull Fracture -

Dr. Ray Leung of the A&E Unit of Queen Elizabeth Hospital testified that Alex Chow arrived at A&E at 02:01 on 4 Nov last year, accompanied by a volunteer first-aider. Chow was unconscious upon admittance, and his GCS (Glasgow Coma Score) was only 3, the lowest possible on the scale, blood pressure of 169/82, heartrate of 45bpm, and breathing at 18 breaths/min, with difficulty breathing. In addition, Chow’s right pupil was unresponsive to light stimulus, hence the problem obviously came on the right side.

Upon examination, Leung found that there was a blood clot on Chow’s right forehead, bruising in the right ocular cavity with eyeball intact. There was a haemorrhage in the right eardrum, bleeding in the nostrils, and a blood clot in the mouth. Furthermore, Chow’s right maxilla was swollen and he had a fracture of the right iliac bone at the waist. There were no red marks or traces indicative of impact from a bullet or tear gas, no bruising on his waist or back, no deformity in his limbs, no penetration of his intestines. At the time of the examination, pneumothorax and rib fracture were not identified.

After taking an ECG, Leung also found that Chow had sinus bradycardia, with a heart rate of 48bpm, noticeably slower than a young person’s heart rate of 60-100bpm. After a full-body CT scan, Leung found that there was a blood clot in the dura mater in Chow’s brain, and the clot pushed down on the left side of the brain caused the brain to shift to the left, and resulted in a very high intracranial pressure.

In addition, Leung pointed out that Chow had a basal skull fracture and a small pneumothorax at the tip of the right lung, but it was too small so it was not spotted immediately.

Dr. Leung described Chow’s condition as “very serious”, that the most serious injury was head trauma, followed by pelvic fracture, followed by pneumothorax. He explained that Chow’s head trauma was the result of being hit by a hard object with high energy, being hit by someone with a hard object, or being struck by a vehicle. Furthermore, if someone had hit Chow with a hard object, there was a chance that the shape of the object or a red mark could be observed on the body, but not in all cases. Leung showed using a sketch of the human body to indicate where Chow had suffered fractures of the occipital and sesamoid bones, meaning that the force of the impact “could not be stopped by the rigid skull, and the impact penetrated into the base of the skull.” As for the pelvic fracture, Leung said that it was also the possible due to high impact trauma, such as falling from a building or getting hit by a car, while pneumothorax was the result of impact and pulling.

Leung told the court that Chow’s injuries were concentrated on the right side of his body, meaning that it was highly likely that he had landed on the ground on his right side, but there was no obvious bleeding or bruising on his torso. The Coroner’s Officer asked Leung whether there were signs of gunshot wounds on Chow, and Leung said that Chow did not have any red marks that might have resulted if he had been shot by a bullet, tear gas, or rubber bullet. The Officer enquired further if it was possible that Chow had been hit by tear gas in the head, then suffered other injuries. Leung said that it was possible, but he could not ascertain whether Chow had been impacted once or twice.

- No Signs Suggested Chow Inhaled Tear Gas or Had Physical Altercation -

Leung also said that if someone inhales tear gas, there would be redness and swelling in the mucous membranes, such as redness in the eyes and dryness in the throat, as well as narrowing of the trachea and wheezing during breathing. He had not found such symptoms on Chow at the time.

Furthermore, there weren’t any injuries on Chow that would suggest that would indicate possible physical altercation, because if he had been beaten, he would have used his limbs to block so there would have been injuries on the limbs. There were also no burns on his body.

He also said that Chow had metabolic acidosis, with a value of pH 7.34, compared to the normal value of 7.35 to 7.55. In addition, his lactate value was 3.5, which meant that there was not enough blood in his organs and that he was anaemic; internal bleeding is the most common cause of hypoperfusion.

Dr. Leung said that a Trauma Call was activated one minute after Chow’s arrival at the A&E, and called all doctors including a neurosurgeon and orthopaedic surgeon to examine Chow. The anesthesiologist inserted a tube into the throat to prevent blood from the nose and mouth from flowing into the lungs, while the neurosurgeon said he had to perform brain surgery to open the right skull and put in a drainage tube to decompress the brain. Chow’s parents agreed to the proposed procedures. As for medication, Chow was given Tranexamic Acid, Propofol, Suxamethonium chloride and a diuretic, which lowered his intracranial pressure.

- Chow Highly Likely Unconscious Prior to Fall -

The Coroner’s Officer asked Dr. Leung, “Can you tell if Chow was conscious or not before his injuries?” Leung felt that Chow was unconscious prior to his fall, “When a young man falls, his natural reflex would be to use his limbs to break the fall, and would not have his head hit the ground, but it’s rare to see cases like Chow’s where there are no abrasions on the limbs.” He said that unless the injured person had been drinking or abused drugs, otherwise this would not be seen, and laboratory tests later confirmed that Chow did not use drugs or alcohol. In addition, Leung said that Chow’s glycemic index was normal, hence could exclude the possibility that Chow had fainted due to low blood sugar. Leung pointed out that other factors would depend on Chow’s level of alertness before the fall, such as if he had taken any flu medication to prevent nasal dripping.

The Coroner’s Officer continued, “Is it possible that someone might have hit Chow on the head first, causing him to lose consciousness?” Leung replied that it was possible that Chow had first been hit, then fallen from a height, “Head trauma might not be the result of falling, but falling from a height was only one of the possibilities.” Coroner David Ko Wai-hung pointed out, “To put it bluntly, (it was possible that) he had been unconscious and then thrown down by someone?” Leung explained, if a conscious person falls, then their natural reflex would be to use their limbs to maintain a distance between their body and the ground. Leung cited the example of a person who jumps off a building would still have abrasions on their limbs, but Chow’s limbs did not have any wounds, hence he deduced that Chow had been unconscious prior to his fall.

The Coroner asked, “Can you tell whether (his injuries) were due to impact or an attack?” Leung said, “There’s a chance that Chow had been attacked and then thrown down.” Since Chow did not have any injuries on the back of his head, Coroner Ko asked whether Chow had only been attacked on the front and not from behind, and Leung concurred. Furthermore, Leung said that if Chow had been attacked in the front, he would have used his hands to block the attack, but he did not have any wounds on the hands.

Barrister Samson Hung Kin-man representing the Hong Kong Police Force asked if an injured person lost their balance and fell from a height but did not have time to react, “Would it be possible that their natural reflex would not be activated in time?” Dr. Leung said that this was highly unlikely, since “When someone falls on the ground normally, their natural instinct to use their hands to break the fall would be activated.” Hung continued to enquire, “If Chow’s attention was diverted, or if he had fallen while deep in thought, would there not be natural reflex?” Leung also said that this was highly unlikely, since young people’s inner cochlear balance is good and usually have good vision, that’s why he considered Chow’s situation to be strange.

In addition, the Coroner’s Officer asked Leung how things might have turned out differently if the ambulance had arrived 5 minutes earlier. Leung said that the result would be equally serious, since “the moment of injury already determined the chances for recovery.” Leung added that even if the ambulance had arrived 5 minutes sooner, meaning intracranial pressure could be relieved sooner, it would have helped save a life, but the chance for recovery would still have been poor, “even if he had lived, he probably would have remained in a vegetative state,” and would “definitely not have recovered into a young man capable of walking and running.”

The court also played a clip of a CCTV footage that a citizen had downloaded from the Internet uploaded by The Link, which had been digitally enhanced for clarity. After Leung completed his testimony, he hugged Chow’s parents and comforted them. Chow’s mother wept, while Leung told Chow’s father that he hoped that his testimony would help find the truth.

Chow’s father met with the press outside the court after the morning session of the inquest, see report here: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821597631390951.

In the afternoon, the inquest reconvened, but the Coroner suddenly announced that the afternoon session would be adjourned because he had examined a video from a CCTV and found an image that he considered could affect an expert witness’s testimony, see report here: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821612281389486. Furthermore, Coroner Ko remarked that the clip was highly critical to the inquest, and that he wanted to ensure that all evidence was collected and accurate before he could continue the inquest. Since time would be needed to review the video again, and also provide sufficient time for the expert witness to consider the new evidence, Coroner Ko adjourned yesterday’s afternoon session, and made clear that it was highly likely that the inquest would not be reconvened in the morning of the following day (4 Dec).

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19
(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079328
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079329 
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E6%80%A5%E7%97%87%E5%AE%A4%E9%86%AB%E7%94%9F-%E5%8D%B3%E4%BD%BF%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%97%A9-5-%E5%88%86%E9%90%98%E9%80%81%E9%99%A2-%E5%8F%AF%E4%BB%A5%E7%94%9F%E9%82%84%E9%83%BD%E6%9C%83%E6%88%90%E6%A4%8D%E7%89%A9%E4%BA%BA/ 
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E6%80%A5%E7%97%87%E5%AE%A4%E9%86%AB%E7%94%9F%E7%A8%B1%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%89%8B%E8%85%B3%E7%84%A1%E6%93%A6%E6%90%8D-%E6%AF%94%E8%BC%83%E5%B0%91%E8%A6%8B-%E6%8E%A8%E6%96%B7%E5%A2%AE%E4%B8%8B%E6%99%82%E5%B7%B2%E5%A4%B1%E5%8E%BB%E7%9F%A5%E8%A6%BA/ 
https://www.dbchannel.hk/2020/12/03/%E3%80%90%E6%B2%89%E5%86%A4%E5%BE%85%E9%9B%AA%E3%80%91%E6%80%A5%E7%97%87%E5%AE%A4%E9%86%AB%E7%94%9F%E6%A2%81%E5%AD%90%E6%81%86-%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%9C%89%E6%A9%9F%E6%9C%83%E5%9C%A8%E5%A2%AE/  
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079333
***

Morning, 4 Dec/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest CCTV Captures Chow’s Fall at Car Park, Discrepancy between Ambulance Record & CCTV Footage, Inquest Adjourned until Next Tues

Upon request by Alex Chow’s family, the court played a critical video that Coroner David Ko Wai-hung pointed out yesterday. The clip was previously only part of the police’s investigation but was not submitted as evidence to the court, and the clip had only been reviewed by the court upon request by the family. After reviewing the clip, the court agreed that it should be permitted as evidence. The Coroner’s Officer stressed that an inquest was different from a trial, that there was more interaction in an inquest, and arrangements could be made and updated based on the latest developments of witnesses and evidence submitted.

Prior to convening this morning’s session, Alex Chow’s mother was seen weeping, eyes swollen and staring with an empty gaze.

The CCTV clip was recorded by camera no. 2 of Kwong Ming Court. The camera was situated at the turnabout outside Sheung Tak Car Park A, and captured the car park and a basketball court outside. Coroner Ko said that to prevent speculation by the public, the clip would be played in court, and reminded all that some might find the video disturbing. A silhouette of someone wearing dark clothing was captured falling from Sheung Tak Car Park in the video at 00:51:37 on 4 Nov last year, and there was no one around at that time. After watching the clip, Chow’s mother cried out in shock and wept. Coroner Ko believed that the silhouette captured on video was that of Alex Chow.

In addition, the video showed that Ambulance A344 had stopped. As for the time that the ambulance stopped and left, the time shown in the footage did not match with the testimonies. The Coroner’s Officer said that an expert would still have to verify the time of the CCTV, and no further details were disclosed.

Coroner Ko said that the police were now preparing information such as a map of Sheung Tak Car Park A, as well as all the locations and angles of the CCTV cameras near the car park. The police would proceed to nearby housing estates and buildings to collect evidence, and he hoped that Owners’ Corporations and management offices would cooperate.

The court would also list the Fire Services Department (FSD) as a stakeholder in this case, and the FSD could appoint legal representation for the remainder of the case. In addition, Coroner Ko said that he remained cautiously optimistic over the 5-week period of the inquest, but still urged the jury to be mentally prepared for a longer inquest.

Chow's father spoke with reporters after the morning session, and said that having seen possibly the last moments of his son's life made his heart heavy. He said that he needed to think further, but that the clip "was a breakthrough" and the truth now seemed closer.

He would not comment on whether the police had not thoroughly investigated the case at this point, but he urged the residents of Kwong Ming Court to step forward if they had seen anything or might have any information related to the incident.

Recap of yesterday’s inquest: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

https://www.facebook.com/hkfeature2019/posts/3806500216075929
https://www.881903.com/news/local/2369273/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E5%BA%AD%E7%99%BC%E7%8F%BE%E5%81%9C%E8%BB%8A%E5%A0%B4%E6%9C%89%E4%BA%BA%E5%A2%AE%E4%B8%8B%E7%89%87%E6%AE%B5-%E6%8A%BC%E5%BE%8C%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A%E8%87%B3%E4%B8%8B%E5%91%A8%E4%BA%8C
https://std.stheadline.com/realtime/article/1440725/%E5%8D%B3%E6%99%82-%E6%B8%AF%E8%81%9E-%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E5%BA%AD%E4%B8%8A%E6%92%AD-%E9%97%9C%E9%8D%B5-%E5%BD%B1%E5%83%8F%E9%A1%AF%E7%A4%BA%E9%BB%91%E5%BD%B1%E5%BE%9E%E9%AB%98%E8%99%95%E5%A2%AE%E4%B8%8B-%E5%AE%98%E7%9B%B8%E4%BF%A1%E6%98%AF%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82
***

Morning, 8 Dec/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Discovery of Footage from 4 Additional CCTVs; Inquest Postponed Pending FSD’s Legal Rep Appointment

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. On the 16th day of Alex Chow’s death inquest, since the Fire Services Department (FSD) was listed as a stakeholder in the case last week, Coroner David Ko Wai-hung asked the FSD representative at the start of today’s session whether the FSD had sent a legal representative. FSD representative said that the Department of Justice had yet to appoint a lawyer to represent the FSD, and that the representative was uncertain how long the appointment process would take. Coroner Ko said, “Is it this hard to find a lawyer nowadays? I won’t give you too much time.” He also reminded the representative, “The Department of Justice needs to take into consideration the time constraints of this inquest.”

The FSD representative said that the Department had originally wanted to appoint the same lawyer as the police, but then realised yesterday that it would be inappropriate. The representative also said that the FSD would require one week’s time to find a lawyer and handle the relevant paperwork; their request was eventually granted by Coroner Ko, and the inquest was adjourned until next Monday (14 Dec). Ko made clear that he would re-summon Senior Ambulanceman Cheng Kwun-ming (translit.) and Ambulanceman Chan Chi-fung (translit.) to the witness stand, and the FSD was also requested to inform the Coroner’s Court if it needed to re-summon any witnesses by this Friday.

- Besides 35 Known CCTVs, Footage from 4 Other CCTVs at Car Park to be Reviewed -

Coroner Ko said that due to last week’s developments, he had already reviewed the CCTV footages from the exterior of Kwong Ming Court. To his understanding, the police had already obtained the relevant footages during their investigation. He originally intended to play the footage from one additional camera situated outside Kwong Ming court today.

Ko told those present that 31 of Kwong Ming Court’s CCTVs capturing the exterior environment, as well as 2 cameras from TKO Spot shopping centre were facing Tong Ming Street and thus did not capture the happenings at Sheung Tak Car Park. In addition, he disclosed that besides the 35 known CCTVs at Sheung Tak Car Park, there were 4 other stationary cameras involving G/F of the car park, as well as the entrance to the rear stairwell on 2/F. Ko said that the inquest was supposed to view some CCTV clips today, and they were to take one day’s time, and that “perhaps all the evidence would have been presented and examined by the end of next week”, but under the current circumstances, the inquest would be unable to be completed within next week.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423)

https://www.facebook.com/2420841024641862/posts/3817331558326128/
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E6%93%AC%E8%88%87%E8%AD%A6%E7%94%A8%E5%90%8C%E4%B8%80%E5%A4%A7%E7%8B%80%E7%99%BC%E7%8F%BE-%E5%94%94%E5%A6%A5%E7%95%B6-%E6%B6%88%E9%98%B2%E7%94%B3%E6%8A%BC%E5%BE%8C%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A%E4%B8%80%E5%91%A8-%E5%AE%98%E6%89%B9%E5%87%86%E4%BD%86%E6%96%A5%E4%B8%8D%E8%B2%A0%E8%B2%AC%E4%BB%BB/
***

18:14 14 Dec #AlexChowInquest

//More CCTV footage that purportedly captured a university student's fall in a Tseung Kwan O car park during a protest last year has been played at an inquest into his death.

The video, thought to be of Chow Tsz-lok falling, emerged earlier this month, after the coroner himself discovered footage that had apparently been missed by the police.

In it, a small black shadow can be seen falling from height.

Part of the footage had already been shown earlier in court, but the video was played again on Monday, showing more of the aftermath when people rushed to the scene to help the stricken 22-year-old.

The video also had a time-stamp that showed that the time of the apparent fall was at 12:51am on November 4, 2019.

But this contradicted other testimony and a police detective told the court that the correct time should have been around 10 minutes later – 1.01am

The Coroner's Officer in charge of the inquest agreed with the detective's assessment, citing an expert as saying that the time was exactly ten minutes and 11 seconds slow.

Meantime, the detective also told the court that he had accessed Chow's iPad after the incident.

He found that the student had sent a photo taken from the second floor of the Sheung Tak car park of an intersection outside, to a Telegram group at 12:46am. Another message to another group was posted three minutes later. The inquest is continuing.//
https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1565220-20201214.htm
***

11:39 15 Dec: #AlexChowInquest - Footage Shows Another Person Appears 1 Min after Black Shadow Falls

On the 18th day of HKUST student Alex Chow's coroner inquest, Lam Chi-keung, detective senior constable at East Kowloon Regional HQ Serious Crime Unit, continued to give his account in the court.

A CCTV footage from Kwong Sun House, Kwong Ming Court, Tseung Kwan O showed the car park at Sheung Tak Estate. At 01:01:47, a black shadow fell to 2/F of the car park. About a minute later (01:02:40), a man in dark clothes and shorts went out from an exit on G/F of the car park.

A CCTV footage from 1/F of the car park showed that 30 seconds before the man left the car park (01:02:11), a man pushed the fire door on 1/F. Lam believed this man went downwards after pushing the door, this should be the same man who left the car park.

Conversation record from Telegram groups (captured from iPad) showed that Chow wrote from 00:46-00:49 to a group, "I was watching what's happening in the carpark and took something for someone, " and that was the last message. A group member asked "safe?" at 01:12 but he did not reply anymore.
https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/ch/component/k2/1565352-20201215.htm
***

14 Dec/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Chow’s Last TG Msg Sent at 00:46, No CCTV Installed in Car Park Elevators, Police Officer Complains of Lack of Info

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. After a week-long hiatus to give the police time for a thorough investigation into CCTV clips previously not submitted to the court as evidence, the inquest resumed yesterday (14 Dec), summoning the Regional Crime Unit Senior Police Constable to the witness stand. The officer told the court that the police had obtained and unlocked Allow Chow’s iPad, and found that Chow had sent a photo of the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street from the car park at 00:46 on 4 Nov last year to a Telegram group called “Strolling (Running Late)”, and that Chow’s last message on Telegram was sent on 00:49.

Kowloon East Regional Crime Unit Senior Police Constable Lam Chi-keung (translit.) testified that on 13 Nov last year, he went to Chow’s home at Beverly Garden to collect evidence, including an iPhone, iPad, laptop computer, desktop computer, some clothing, and a navy blue mobile phone case with the word “Hongkonger” printed on it. Lam subsequently turned the items over to the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau.

Lam told the court that the police successfully unlocked Chow’s iPad using the account login taken from Chow’s nightstand, found that the last message sent from Chow’s Telegram account was at 00:49 on 4 Nov last year, and that there was a group called “Airplane Guys Group, Hong Kong National Citizens” on Telegram. At 00:46, Chow sent a photo of the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street from Sheung Tak Car Park to the group “Strolling (Running Late)”; the timing of the photo was quite close to the CCTV from the car park showing that Chow had walked to and from on the upper part of 2/F that night, and in the CCTV footage, Chow was seen using his mobile phone. The court was also told that the police used the same login to enter Chow’s laptop computer, but did not find any information relevant to the case; the police did not succeed in unlocking Chow’s iPhone.

- Officer finds 2 out of 4 CCTV cameras missing last week -

Lam claimed that there were 4 fixed cameras at the car park, located on G/F and 2/F, but when he went to the car park again last week to conduct an investigation, he found that the 2 fixed cameras on 2/F had been dismantled; he did not know when they were taken down or for what reason they were removed, but the 2 cameras on G/F were still there last week.

Lam told the court that on 4 Nov last year, he along with other police officers proceeded to Sheung Tak Car Park to investigate and take photos. On the platform of 2/F he found blood stains, but there weren’t any blood stains on 3/F, while there were puddles near the wall and other areas, but there weren’t any traces of blood in the water, but Lam felt that there being water was quite normal, “it’s quite common to wash cars in a car park.” He said that when he walked on the car lane from 2/F to 3/F, he thought that there would also be a pedestrian sidewalk on 3/F just like 2/F, “I felt that 3/F and 2/F were quite similar.”

- Officer whines “so little information” -

The Coroner’s Officer Timmy Yip Chi-hong twice asked Lam whether he had found anything suspicious at the car park, and Lam responded, “If there were, I would have taken photos already.” Yip pressed on, “So was there anything suspicious?” Lam finally confirmed, “No.”

Lam then told the court that he had obtained very little information then, only knew that “a young man, HKUST, fell down”, and the rest of the information he had was obtained from the press and the Internet, that “the firefighters didn’t tell us (information), and the doctor did not say anything was suspicious.” The Coroner’s Officer then asked Lam, “What are you trying to tell us?” Lam reiterated that he had received very little information.

At the start of the afternoon session of the inquest, Lam disclosed that when he went to the car park for the investigation last year, there weren’t any warnings on the wall of 3/F, but when he recently revisited the site, there were Chinese characters on the wall that said, “Please don’t climb”.

Lam also claimed that the CCTV at Kwong Sun House of Kwong Ming Court captured the basketball court, a part of the badminton court, and “a little bit of the car park”. He said that beside CCTV footage, Kwong Ming Court also provided the screencaps of each clip at its start. Lam had asked the security office to obtain a draft of the map of all the CCTV locations, but was told that there was none, so he strolled the premises and “drew what I could.”

The Coroner’s Officer asked Lam whether he knew the time gap between the CCTV footage from Kwong Sun House and actual time, which Lam responded saying that he did not know, but estimated there to be about 10 minutes’ difference. The Coroner’s Officer then disclosed that according to expert analysis, the time gap between the two was estimated to be 10 minutes 11 seconds.

A clip was shown in court, showing Sheung Tak Car Park A in the upper right corner of the screen, with G/F to 2/F of the car park captured. At 00:51:37 as shown in the timestamp of the video, a dark shadow fell from a height; 00:56:13 someone ran to the sidewalk, followed by others; 00:56:22 two firefighters stepped over to the sidewalk.

The fixed camera footages from 2/F of Sheung Chi House and Sheung Lai House were shown, and a firefighter and a man wearing a hooded jacket had attempted to open a side door but to no avail, which Lam guessed was because the door had been locked.

- New written statements from property management staff -

The Coroner’s Office Timmy Yip read aloud 3 recently taken statements from representatives of property management companies to provide a better understanding of the CCTV distribution in and around the car park. First, the statement from Wong Wai-lun (translit.), a staff of Wilson Parking (Holdings) Limited, taken on 11 Dec this year. In his statement, Wong said that between 3-4 Nov last year, there were 3 elevators in Sheung Tak Car Park A under the management of his company. Wong said in his statement that there were semicircular CCTV objects in the elevators, but there weren’t cameras installed in the objects, so one could not see what happened in the elevators.

Wong also pointed out that there were 35 cameras within the car park, all aimed towards the car lanes and parking spots, and no camera had captured the sidewalk or external environment. There also were not any cameras in the back stairwells. Wong explained that his company did not install any CCTVs in the 8 stairwells or on 4/F platform (the platform was not part of the company’s area of management), but did not know whether any other companies had installed cameras in those areas.

- No CCTV on 4/F Platform -

In addition, Hui Tak-fu (translit.), the estate director of Modern Living Investment Holdings Limited, which had been commissioned to manage of Sheung Tak Estate, said in his statement that on 8 Nov he had received the police’s request to obtain a copy of all the CCTV footage from Sheung Chi House and Sheung Lai House. Hui claimed that the two buildings had a total of 8 CCTVs, involving 3 elevators; a side door each on 1/F, 2/F, 3/F connecting to the car park; the car lanes entering Sheung Chi House or Sheung Lai House on 2/F; and the G/F emergency exit. He said that all the side doors were locked at that time, while all 3 elevators could be used to proceed to the car park.

According to Hui, G/F to 3/F of Sheung Chi House and Sheung Lai House were a car park managed by Wilson Parking, while the 4/F platform was managed by Sheung Tak Estate. There were no CCTVs on the 4/F platform, and he was not sure whether the stairwell connecting the 4/F platform with G/F had any CCTVs installed. He said that he did not remember whether he had copied the CCTV footage from the 3 elevators at Sheung Lai House and Sheung Chi House for the police.

- Sr. Property Mgt. Officer: Act. Time Diff. between Kwong Ming Court CCTV & Realtime = 1min -

The Coroner’s Officer then read aloud the statement provided by Senior Property Management Officer Lam Sui-cheong (translit.) of Synergis Holdings Limited, recorded on 5 Dec this year. Lam claimed that last November, he received notification from the police asking to obtain a copy of all the CCTV clips of Kwong Ming Court on its exterior environment as well as all the entrances and lobbies of the 7 buildings between 23:00 3 Nov and 02:30 4 Nov. Lam said that the CCTV footages and actual time had a one-minute discrepancy, but he was not sure whether the CCTV clips were faster or slower than realtime.

He added that there were 33 CCTVs on the outside of Kwong Ming Court, and he could not recall how many hours of clips he shared with the police. However, he stressed that all the clips from working cameras at that time had been submitted to the police, and he confirmed that the camera at Kwong Sun House did capture Sheung Tak Car Park A.

On 7 Dec, Lam made another statement, and clarified that his claim that the time difference between the CCTV footages and realtime of about one minute was based on footage from this December; he did not know the actual time difference between the CCTVs and realtime, and he did not recall whether all the cameras had been synced in time last November.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423
Morning, 8 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825261711024543
14 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830054970545217
15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830558253828222)

https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E9%87%8D%E6%A1%88%E7%B5%84%E8%AD%A6-%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E5%87%8C%E6%99%A8-12-46-%E6%9B%BE%E7%99%BC%E7%9B%B8%E7%89%87%E8%87%B3-tg-%E7%BE%A4%E7%B5%84/
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E5%B0%9A%E5%BE%B7%E5%81%9C%E8%BB%8A%E5%A0%B4-3-%E9%83%A8%E9%9B%BB%E6%A2%AF%E5%85%A7-cctv-%E5%83%85%E5%BE%97%E5%A4%96%E6%AE%BC%E7%84%A1%E9%8F%A1%E9%A0%AD/ 
https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20201215/4DLLM7FW2NFGRCPTKOK3TLNUYU/
***

15 Dec/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Police Uncovers Final Telegram Msgs on iPad, Delays in Obtaining Phone Records for Investigation

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. At today’s inquest, a record of some of Chow’s Telegram conversations found on his iPad were presented. On the day of the incident at 00:41, he had sent a message to a Telegram group called “Airplane Guys Group”, in which he said, “Fuck, they shot up the car park,” followed by another message 5 minutes later, “Just sitting in the peanut gallery at the car park, didn’t bring anything.” His last message was sent at 00:49, “Can’t see, I’m just bringing something down to someone.” The recipient of the message had asked Chow at 01:12, “safe?” In addition, Chow had sent a photo of the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street taken from the car park at 00:46 to another Telegram group, showing a group of riot police in front of the intersection. The wallpaper of Chow’s iPad was a photo of a wall of protesters’ umbrellas and tear gas being extinguished.

- Chow’s Final Messages on Telegram Revealed -

Yesterday, Senior Police Constable Lam Chi-keung (Translit.) told the court that the police had found a password on Chow’s desktop computer that enabled them to unlock his iPad. That password was a relatively long one but often used by Chow. At 00:41 on the day of the incident, Chow had sent a message to the Telegram group “Airplane Guys Group”, “Fuck, they shot up the car park”, to which someone responded, “Can you get back.” Then at 00:46 Chow responded, “Just sitting in the peanut gallery at the car park, didn’t bring anything,” which a user of the name “Hong Kong National” responded saying, “Isn’t the view from home better, living so high up”. Chow’s last response was sent at 00:49, “Can’t see, I’m just bringing something down to someone.” Then at 01:12, “Tsz-kit” (Translit.) asked again, “safe?”, while “Hong Kong National” said, “Good job by the Kwong Ming Court Owners’ Corporation, fuck those guys who saw them slightly draw back and then immediately rush forth to swear at the dogs, are they crazy?”

In addition, Chow had asked at 23:28 on 3 Nov last year in another Telegram group called “Strolling (Running Late)”, “safe?”, and a recipient responded, “safe; 3-4 police vehicles were deployed to make arrests at Fu Hong (Chinese name of Beverly Garden’s “Beverly”) all because of some laser pens, so stupid.” Chow then responded at 11:38, “Entered Beverly?” Two minutes later, the recipient sent a photo of a police car, and asked, “Not sure if there’s anyone”. Until 00:06 that night, Chow responded again, “Scared, but it ended already”, then the recipient said 4 minutes later, “The guy was arrested, I had wanted to pull him up, but there were too many Raptops (meaning Special Tactical Squad officers) and I was afraid.” The recipient forwarded Chow a message at 00:41, “#TseungKwanO 0040 launched 10 rounds tg” Chow’s last message was sent at 00:46, “ys”, along with a photo of the intersection of Tong Ming Street and Tong Chun Street taken from the car park, with a group of riot police in front of the intersection.

Chow was also on a number of other groups on Telegram, including “FrontlineLive”, “TKO_84”, “Real C&MA Sun Keiers”, and “626 Japanese Ad Ticket Office”.

- Police Try to Unlock Chow’s iPhone, iPad, Macbook, Can Only Unlock iPad -

Senior Police Constable Lam said that after having obtained Chow’s iPhone 11 and other electronics, but most of them having been locked, and the iPhone displayed that they must wait a long time before they could input the password, Lam felt that it was because someone had input the incorrect password previously, so he handed over the electronics to the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau (CSTCB) on 26 Nov last year. In February this year, the police found 14 sets of automatically stored passwords in Chow’s desktop computer’s Google Chrome browser, of which the police managed to use one set to unlock Chow’s iPad, but they still did not succeed in unlocking Chow’s iPhone. Lam’s supervisor at Kowloon E Regional Crime Unit thus twice sent an email to Apple requesting for their assistance to unlock the phone.

The email exchange between the police and Apple were read aloud. On 31 Jan this year, a Regional Crime Unit Senior Inspector had emailed Apple claiming that due to an investigation into a death, they requested for Apple to unlock an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro. The family’s consent could be obtained if necessary.

Apple’s Privacy Legal Team responded 3 days later, saying that the relevant iPhone had been locked with a password, so that to protect the data of the user, Apple could not retrieve its password, because no technology could get around the iOS password protection system. Apple also pointed out that the only choice was to confirm if the data had been backed up on the cloud storage of the MacBook, so that if there was a copy of the data on cloud storage, then the contents would be stores at the headquarters at the US. To obtain such data would require approval from the US Department of Justice, and would also need to go through the necessary procedures and paperwork, and the police could sign the documents directly, or to have the executor of the deceased obtain a court search warrant. 

- Police fail to unlock iPhone, delays investigation of iPhone contents for months -

Lam subsequently attempted to unlock the iPhone once, but the screen showed, “Disabled, Connect to iTunes”. On 30 Oct this year, the Regional Crime Unit again emailed Apple, mentioning that per the request of the deceased’s parents and the court’s instructions, to comfort the parents and assist the coroner’s inquest, the police hoped that Apple would assist to unlock the iPhone and connect it with iTunes. Apple replied on the same day saying that as they had said previously, they could not provide any technical assistance, since data on iOS 8.0 or above had been encrypted, thus could not be opened.

Lam’s statement also brought up that electronics must be unlocked by experts. Barrister Flora Cheng Suk-yee representing Chow’s family asked why Lam was the one to try to unlock the phone, Lam responded, “CSTCB won’t help with the investigation, but since it’s an attempt to find the truth, right? So I gave it a shot.”

Cheng asked, Apple responded on 3 Feb this year suggesting that the police discuss with the executor of the deceased, whether the police had contacted Alex Chow’s parents then, Lam replied, “I would need to know his iCloud account!” Cheng pursued the matter further, “So did you reach out?” Lam finally admitted that he did not, and said, “I’m only responsible for the evidence collected, while others take care of the investigation.” Cheng asked again who was responsible, but Lam continued to dodge her questioning, and would only say, “The person behind you (Barrister Cheng).”

Lam also pointed out that after unlocking Chow’s MacBookPro, he found that it had not been connected with iTunes, and was not sure whether there was a backup. As for one of Chow’s SIM cards, it could be seen that there were 4 missed called on 4 Nov last year, 3 of which were made after 02:00, which was after Chow had fallen from a height. Lam claimed that he tried to identify the callers but was unsuccessful, but he believed that they were Chow’s friends who had testified to the court earlier.

Lam again stressed that the firefighters, ambulancemen, and hospital doctors did not report the suspicious case to the police per standard protocols. Cheng asked Lam, since he did not have information at-hand, how did he obtain Chow’s phone number during the investigation, and Lam said that it was obtained via his own investigation.

- Police claim not supported by software: but Joshua Wong’s phone is supported! -


CSTCB’s Digital Forensics Team A member officer Chow Yiu-jo (translit.) told the court that he was responsible for extracting contents of electronics, and on 26 Nov last year, he had received 5 pieces of electronics, of which the iPhone showed a countdown, meaning that there would be a period of time before the next password login attempt could be made. In December last year, he extracted information from the iPhone and iPad by connecting the devices to a software instrument, and copied the contents to another storage device; however, since the police’s Cellebrite software did not support the contents, he was unable to obtain the information from the devices.

Until this September, Senior Police Constable Lam Chi-keung passed the iPhone to him after trying a password, and officer Chow found that the phone displayed the message, “Disabled, Connect to iTunes”. He said that he had checked on Apple’s official website, and realised that the phone would be disabled after too many attempts at the password, and that if the phone is to be used, then all the contents would first need to be removed. Chow said, “I’m not sure whether there is any software that could do this.” The Coroner’s Officer asked whether any organisations could break into an iPhone, and Chow said, “Joshua Wong’s (iPhone) was possible, but I’m not sure whether there are such companies or equipment. “ Chow said that he never knew that the police had liaised with Apple about unlocking the iPhone, “Only knew about it from the news.” Chow also said that Alex Chow’s iPad did not automatically sync to iCloud.

- Coroner Urges TG Group Members to Step Forth -

Since Alex Chow had sent messages to two Telegram groups – “Airplane Guys Group” and “Strolling (Running Late)” just minutes before he fell from a height, and each group had 6 and 8 members respectively, Coroner David Ko Wai-hung urged the members of those groups to step forth and provide further information. Coroner Ko said, “The police have no way of knowing the identities of these individuals, so if those who could leave a message in those groups, had met with Chow in person, or knew of his whereabouts, and have first-hand information, they may contact the Coroner’s Court or the police.”

The inquest was originally slated to be finished this week, but since the Fire Services Department had to seek legal representation last week, Coroner Ko granted a one-week postponement. Ko said that the inquest would require a further two weeks, "Two weeks would mean that the inquest would surely be completed safely and steadily.” He said that after checking the calendar, the inquest would be reconvened on 28 Dec after the end of this week, and Ko expected that all testimonies would be heard by 5 Jan.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423
Morning, 8 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825261711024543
14 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830054970545217
Morning, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830558253828222
Afternoon, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830613760489338)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079566
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079580 
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079582
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E5%87%BA%E4%BA%8B%E5%89%8D-tg-%E5%B0%8D%E8%A9%B1%E6%9B%9D%E5%85%89-%E6%8C%87%E7%8F%BE%E5%A0%B4%E6%94%BE%E5%82%AC%E6%B7%9A%E5%BD%88-%E6%8B%8E%E5%92%97%E5%95%B2%E5%98%A2%E9%87%8E%E8%90%BD%E5%8E%BB%E4%BF%BE%E4%BA%BA/
***

16 Dec/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Ambulancemen Disembark 8min after Arrival, 12min Arrival Service Commitment Out the Window, CT Scans Show Grave Injuries to Brain 

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. Today (16 Dec) was the 19th day of Chow’s death inquest, and the Coroner previously reviewed the CCTV footage to find that there was a discrepancy between the time of arrival and departure from the scene of Ambulance A344 from that provided by the Ambulanceman, hence the Coroner summoned Senior Ambulanceman Cheng Kwun-ming (translit.) to the witness stand again. The CCTV showed that the ambulance’s time of arrival at the scene matched that of the driving record, but it took the ambulancemen a total of 7 minutes 56 seconds between stopping the ambulance to pushing the stretcher. Cheng stressed that “the entire process was necessary”, while another member of the team pointed out that it was crucial to put on the face shield properly, and that if there weren’t stalled vehicles obstructing the road, they could have arrived at the scene 10 minutes sooners. Following further questioning, Cheng admitted that to bring the pelvic binder and other equipment would normally require only 2-3 minutes.

- CCTV & driving record match on ambulance’s arrival time -

Senior Ambulanceman Cheng Kwun-ming of Ambulance A344 that had helped treat Alex Chow at the scene earlier testified that he received the call at 01:11 on 4 Nov last year, and that he had encountered roadblocks along the way on Tong Ming Street, thus had to take a detour. The ambulance had arrived at Kwong Ying House of Kwong Ming Court at 01:20, and he along with two members brought a stretcher and equipment and walked more than 100m to reach Sheung Tak Car Park. At 01:30, they got in touch with the injured person, and transported the injured onto the ambulance by 01:41 to head to the hospital.

Staff at the ambulance’s driving record system company Lo Yu-hung (translit.) told the court that according to the driving record of Ambulance A344 between 01:00-01:45 on 4 Nov last year, the ambulance had activated its blue flashing lights at 01:11, pulled its handbrake at 01:17, turned off its warning lights at 01:19, and turned off the engine at 01:25. The vehicle then went into reverse gear at 01:40, and reactivated its warning lights at 01:45. Between 01:07 – 01:25, the ambulance could have been stopped or travelling at speeds lower than 5km/h.

Senior Ambulanceman Cheng took to the witness stand again today, and the court viewed a CCTV clip that had a 9 minute 58 second-time gap between the CCTV timestamp and realtime. After adjustment, the clip showed that the ambulance had stopped behind a fire engine at about 01:17, then two firefighters walked up to the driver’s side at 01:19 and asked, “Are you here for this case?”, and by 01:23, 3 ambulancemen disembarked from the ambulance.

Cheng explained that after the arrived at the scene at 01:07, he first instructed team member Shek Wing-hei (translit.) to first understand why there was an obstacle; in the meantime, Cheng received a call from the firefighter, and someone also ran out to seek help saying that someone was feeling unwell but was not in grave danger. Shek then came back to report that there was a stalled vehicle ahead, so Cheng tried to find other ways to get around, but after his assessment, he found that the most feasible way to proceed was to reach where they were.

When asked why they turned off the blue flashing lights of the ambulance, Cheng responded saying that the flashing lights were too bright and would make it difficult to see the nearby area, so he had to turn off the lights to observe the surroundings. After he realised that there was no road ahead, he finally signalled for the ignition to be turned off, and this process lasted about one minute. Cheng then told his members that they would have to execute a long-distance rescue operation.

Cheng further pointed out that since he knew of a police operation, hence out of protecting their personal safety, all members of the team had to wear protective gear and prepare the stretcher, he ensured that all members were properly prepared before they went out. At that point, he had learned from the news on his phone that there was an injured person who fell at Sheung Tak Car Park, “reactive but not in a really conscious state”, “a source said that (the injured person) had fallen from a height”.

- Asked if could have been faster, ambulanceman say special circumstance calls for proper equipment -

When Cheng was asked whether he could have finished the preparation faster, Cheng said, “That was a big area so there were many choices,” and his assessment was far-reaching, hence required more time. His team members also needed both hands to put on their equipment, making it difficult to put on gear while walking over to the injured person. When asked by the Coroner’s Officer whether the members could have taken turns to put on their gear as they pushed the stretcher, Cheng pointed out that the stretcher didn’t have any suspension, and they were carrying 200lbs of equipment on it over a path that was uneven, so it was necessary to have 3 people push the stretcher, otherwise the stretcher could have flipped over. 

On the ambulance, five minutes was required to put on equipment and gather the necessary equipment such as oxygen tank and backboard, “it needs to be set properly and fixed in a stable position”, hence 5 minutes was “basic required time.” He admitted that he did receive notification that the case was an injured person at Sheung Lai House who fell from a height and was not really in a conscious state. Cheng claimed, “If I cannot push the stretcher, that means I would be standing still…if hurt, then we wouldn’t have been able to go help others,” so he decided that they would all put on their gear before heading out. He agreed that he did not see any immediate danger where the ambulance had stopped, but he also couldn’t see what laid ahead. When asked by the jury, Cheng furthered that this was a special case, “All the equipment needed both hands to transport once the vehicle came to a stop, and the ambulance had been travelling at a very high speed to rush to the scene, not moving at a slow pace.”

Between the ambulance coming to a stop at 01:07:10 and starting to push the stretcher at 01:15:06, there was 7 minutes 56 seconds. Cheng stressed that “the entire process was necessary”, “if there was no stalled vehicle blocking the way, I should have been able to, given that there was no clash, then (we) wouldn’t have needed protective gear, I could have reached the injured person sooner.” When answer the jury’s questions later, Cheng admitted that normally it would require only 2-3 minutes to bring the pelvic binder and other equipment, while the walk from the ambulance to the car park would take 4-5 minutes.

- Agrees that 12min arrival depends on circumstances -

Coroner David Ko Wai-hung asked, “Doesn’t the Fire Services Department have a service pledge, that an ambulance should reach the scene of a call within 12 minutes of receiving the call? Is this a mandatory requirement, or does it depend on the circumstances?” Cheng agreed. Coroner Ko pressed further, asking Cheng whether it was completely unnecessary to put on a face shield in the car park, to which Cheng disagreed, as he felt, “not only to protect (us) going in, but to also protect while leaving.” Coroner Ko continued asking Cheng, if there was not a stalled vehicle in the way, would the regular route result in their arrival 10 minutes sooner, and Cheng agreed that they would have arrived approximately 10 minutes sooner.

In addition, ambulance team member cum ambulance driver Chan Chi-fung (translit.) also testified at court again. The CCTV footage showed that after he disembarked from the ambulance, he only opened the tailgate of the ambulance a few minutes later. Chan explained that during that period, he had returned to the vehicle via the left side door to gather equipment, “I had to retrieve the face shield from a bag, unfasten it and then fasten it again.” Chan said that he was acting on ordered made, and did not know why he needed to put on a face shield and other gear.

The CCTV also showed that after the ambulance had stopped, a citizen on a bike had waved to the ambulance driver, but Chan said that he had no recollection of the event, but later he said, “I didn’t know whether they were talking with me, as I also had my supervisor beside me.”

When asked whether 5 minutes was a suitable, too fast, or too slow of a time required for retrieving equipment from the ambulance, Chan reiterated, “Putting on a face shield requires time, because it was not personal equipment and needed to be shared, I had already put it on as fast as I could.”

- Medical experts to testify in court -

The Coroner told the court that he did not originally intend to summon the neurologist from Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), that he had only intended to read aloud his statement, but since a witness previously said that Alex Chow’s leg had movement after his fall, so the Coroner wanted to summon the neurologist to better understand the state of Chow’s consciousness at that time. The Coroner also wanted to seek the neurologist’s expert opinion on if the ambulance had managed to arrive at the scene sooner, would the chance of Chow’s survival have been higher.

The Coroner read aloud the statement taken from QEH’s radiation therapist Dr Koel Ko Wei-sum, in which Ko said that after a CT scan of Chow’s brain, chest, and pelvis, he found that Chow had swelling in the head and pelvis, and widespread skull base fracture that reached the temporal bones on both sides and the middle ear, along with pneumothorax in the apex of the right lung.

In addition, the inquest would summon forensic pathologist Dr Beh Swan-lip. After having heard from the medical witnesses, the inquest would summon other expert witnesses, including a virtual reality expert.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423
Morning, 8 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825261711024543
14 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830054970545217
Morning, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830558253828222
Afternoon, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830613760489338
16 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831356790415035) 

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079613
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079615
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E7%89%87%E8%A6%8B%E5%88%B0%E5%A0%B4%E8%BF%91-8-%E5%88%86%E9%90%98%E5%A7%8B%E4%B8%8B%E8%BB%8A%E5%87%BA%E7%99%BC-%E6%95%91%E8%AD%B7%E9%9A%8A%E7%9B%AE-%E9%A0%88%E7%A9%BF%E8%A3%9D%E5%82%99-%E4%BA%86%E8%A7%A3%E7%92%B0%E5%A2%83-%E6%95%B4%E5%80%8B%E9%81%8E%E7%A8%8B-%E5%85%A8%E9%83%A8%E9%83%BD%E9%9C%80%E8%A6%81/
***

17 Dec/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Death Still Likely Even if Arrive Hospital 10min Sooner, Head Injury Cause of Death, Mysterious Bruising in Palms

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. On the 20th day of Chow’s death inquest, the court heard testimonies from various medical experts, including a neurosurgeon from Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), the government forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on Chow, and independent, veteran forensic pathologist who observed the autopsy.

Associate Consultant of Neurosurgery at QEH at the time, Dr Calvin Mak Hoi-kwan told the court that if the course of Chow’s fall from a height was less than 1 second (as estimated by an expert for the inquest), then such a short time might not have been sufficient for the injured to react naturally. He had seen other patients falling from a height, but also showing serious injury in the head, while injuries to the limbs were relatively minor. Mak hypothesised that even if Chow had been conscious during the fall, he might not have had sufficient time to react.

The Coroner’s Officer Timmy Yip Chi-hong asked, Alex had fallen from a height of 4.3m, whether his injuries match such a fall, and Mak pointed out that 4.3m height and a high speed could result in a large force, and the injured landed on a hard surface. Mak also pointed out that it was not possible for him to see if Chow had suffered other injuries prior to the fall.

Earlier, a witness said that they had seen Chow’s leg shuffling to move himself closer towards the wall after the fall, and had also made a noise. Mak estimated that Chow was in a comatose or semi-comatose state at that time, with a Glasgow Coma Scale of 6, with a motor response score of 3, so the movement was a reflex to pain, but he could not preclude the possibility that someone administering first-aid had moved. As for language, it was possible that Chow had a verbal response of 2 at that time since he made a sound, but since the eye response was not assessed then, it was possible that it was an unresponsive score of 1. Mak added that it was not possible to determine whether Chow had been conscious prior to his fall.

As for whether the injury on Chow’s right side as a result of hard impact was a one-time or multiple result of external force, Mak said that it was impossible to determine. If the head hit the ground first, then it could have resulted from a one-time external force, but he could not rule out that it had been caused by multiple impacts. Furthermore, Mak noted that based on international statistics, the chance of death for Chow would have been more than 85% within 14 days of injury. Even if Chow did not die, he had more than 90% chance of being in a permanent deep comat. Moreover, Mak pointed out that even if Chow had been sent to the hospital 10 minutes sooner, the chance of death would not have been different.

- No Trace of Tear Gas or Pepper Spray Components Found in Autopsy -

The government’s forensic pathologist Dr Agnes Kwok Ka-ki testified today that on 14 Nov last year, she conducted an autopsy on Chow’s body at the Kwai Chung Public Mortuary. Veteran forensic pathologist Dr Philip Beh, upon invitation from Chow’s family, observed the autopsy from the side. Kwok told the court that Chow had a total of 25 injuries on his body, with 9 places of traces of treatment. Notably, Chow’s fatal injury was in the head, and it could have resulted from his head hitting a hard surface, or having been hit by a blunt object, but she guessed that it was more likely the result of “the head hitting a hard object while in motion.” After toxicology tests, no traces of tear gas components such as 2-Chloroacetophenone (CN), o-chlorobenzylidene malonitrile (CS), and cyanide in Chow’s body. Neither was capsaicin, a component of pepper spray, identified. When asked how long such particles would remain in the body, Kwok said that she was not a toxicologist, and according to her knowledge, the half-life of the particles was short, and the particles might have been lost within the 10 days after Chow’s fall from a height before the autopsy was done.

- Lethal Head Injury, No Signs of Attacked by Weapon -

Kwok pointed out that Chow’s lethal injury was likely his head injury, including a skull fracture. These wounds matched with the recent dull blows suffered by the deceased within a few days of death, and likely was the result of dull impact to the head, of which there were two possible causes, either the head hitting a hard surface, or the head being hit by a blunt object with force. Kwok guessed that Chow’s situation was more likely the result of “the head hitting a hard object while in motion,” and the hard object could have been at rest, but Kwok said that it was very difficult to entirely rule out that the head had been hit by a hard object. As for a head fixated on a hard object and then being hit was an uncommon thing.

The cause of Chow’s brain injury also had two possibilities, namely blast traumatic brain injury (bTBI), and contrecoup injury (when the left brain, for instances, becomes injured when the right brain is impacted). As for whether Chow could have first been attacked, followed by a fall from height to result in his injuries, Kwok felt that Chow’s injuries matched that of a fall from height, and she did not see whether they had resulted from an attack. Even if the injuries from an attack happened in the same place as the injuries from the fall, she would have been 2 traces. She added that if he had been attacked with a weapon, then his head would have been left with a mark in the same characteristic as the weapon, such as a dent, but no such marks were found on Chow’s body.

- Bruise in Palm, Uncommon among Persons Fallen from Height: Forensic Pathologist -

Kwok inferred from the wounds concentrating in Chow’s right side of the head, chest, and pelvis that he had hit the ground on his right side. On his upper limbs, Chow had a blue, 4x5cm bruise in his right palm, including a 0.3x0.2cm scrape. Kwok felt that this was unusual, since normally, persons who fell from a height rarely had wounds on their palms, so she viewed the wound under a microscope to find that there was bleeding in his subcutaneous fat, but there was no obvious sign of inflammation. She then conducted a Prussian blue reaction to determine whether was hemosiderin; if there was, then the wound have been present several days ago, but the test result was eventually negative, meaning that the wound had been made several days ago Kwok hypothesised that the surface wounds had been formed within a few days, but the result was negative, meaning that the wound formed more than a few days before Chow’s fall. Kwok thus inferred that the wound had been caused several days in advance. She estimated that the palms of both hands had hit a hard surface. Kwok could not estimate whether the wounds in Chow’s palms was the result of climbing over the short stone wall barrier, or due to the fall to the ground.

In addition, there was a small bump in his left palm and a bruise on the back of his right hand, a scrape on his right ring finger, a bruise on the baby finger; he also had bruising on both his forearms.

As for head injury, the there were scrapes on both sides of Chow’s head, and bruising in the internal mucus membranes. As for injuries on his body, there was a scrape on the outer side of the centre of his right chest, while bruising was observed on both sides of his chest and also on the right side of the waist and back. On his lower limbs, Chow had bruising in the centre of his right thigh, a scrape on his right knee, while bruising was found on the outer side of his left ankle. Kwok had also inspected fragments of Chow’s skull, and there were lineal fractures of 5.5cm and 7cm respectively on his forehead and top of his skull.

- Not Impossible to be Injured in Same Places from Attack and Fall from Height, but Must be Planned -

Independent forensic pathologist Dr Philip Beh had observed Chow’s autopsy, noted that Kwok had taken great care and had been thorough in the autopsy. He then read aloud his submission on his observations, “I want to let the family know what I observed, that Alex’s internal organs were very healthy, and the lethal injury was obviously at the head.” Upon hearing this comment, Chow’s mother broke into tears. Beh pointed out that most of Chow’s injuries were on his right side, and his skull and pelvis were points of impact, “If he fell from 3/F to 2/F, then his body must have been sideways.” Finally, Beh concluded that the injuries could have resulted from hard impact, but there was an absence of other wounds that would have led one to suspect a weapon to have been involved.

Beh agreed with Kwok’s findings for the large part, but he further clarified on one point regarding whether there was a chance that the injuries from the fall could have coincided with injuries from an attack. He cited an example that if the right skull fracture was the result of a weapon such as a hammer, then there would have been bone fragments; if it had been caused by a brick or similar flat objects in an attack, then it may not be discernible whether there had been an attack prior to the fall. However, Beh noted, “To have been hit in one place and to have fallen on the same place must be highly coincidental. It’s not impossible, but must be well-planned in execution.” He added that high impact was required to result in Chow’s skull and pelvic fractures, which Beh said though it was possible that they could have happened at two separate times, but would need to ensure that the second impact would be forceful enough, so he tended to believe that Chow’s right skull fracture and pelvic fracture had happened nearly simultaneously.

As for the injuries on Chow’s left side of the body, Beh said that the injuries were very minor and entirely no lethal. They would not be suffice to cause one to lose consciousness and certainly not related to his death.

When asked about the bruising in both of Chow’s palms, Beh said that it was not certain at that point about his bruises, and would require cutting open the skin for a closer examination. He said that he had seen many cases of deaths from falling from a height, and a wound in the palm was not commonly seen. Even if the injured person tried to push themselves up with their hands, they would usually use their fingers, making the palms roll inward, meaning that the chance of injury to the palms would be relatively low. However, no one at the hospital at that time noticed the bruising in the palms, which Beh explained might not have shown immediately, and even the hospital doctors might not have seen them. He said rather bluntly, “Maybe these are really minor and unimportant wounds that even the ICU doctor would not pay attention to and not feel necessary to record.”

When Coroner Ko asked if one was attacked and tried to use their hand to block the attack in defense, would the fingers have been hurt, Beh said that if there was a knife attack, then one would usually use their fingers to try to grab the weapon; if some other hard object was being used as a weapon, then the back of the hands would have been used to block the attack.

When the jury asked Beh why Alex did not use his limbs to break his fall and protect himself, Beh said that if the limbs landed on the ground first, then the bones in the limbs would have fractured. If Chow had tried to extend his limbs to protect himself, he would probably have been fine, but in this case, his head and pelvis landed first. He added further, “I hope you don't mind me putting it this way, but if one is unfortunate and fall in an awkward way, then this would be the result.”

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423
Morning, 8 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825261711024543
14 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830054970545217
Morning, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830558253828222
Afternoon, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830613760489338
16 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831356790415035
17 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831891923694855)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079634
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079644 
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079646
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E7%A5%9E%E7%B6%93%E5%A4%96%E7%A7%91%E9%86%AB%E7%94%9F-%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E8%85%A6%E9%83%A8%E5%9A%B4%E9%87%8D%E5%89%B5%E5%82%B7-%E6%AD%BB%E4%BA%A1%E7%8E%87%E9%80%BE-85-%E4%B9%9D%E6%88%90%E6%A9%9F%E6%9C%83%E6%88%90%E6%A4%8D%E7%89%A9%E4%BA%BA%E6%88%96%E6%B0%B8%E4%B9%85%E6%98%8F%E8%BF%B7/
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E6%8C%87%E7%9C%8B%E4%B8%8D%E5%88%B0%E5%A2%AE%E4%B8%8B%E5%A4%96%E5%82%B7%E7%97%95-%E8%B3%87%E6%B7%B1%E6%B3%95%E9%86%AB%E9%A6%AC%E5%AE%A3%E7%AB%8B-%E5%A6%82%E8%B7%8C%E5%BE%97-awkward-%E5%82%B7%E5%8B%A2%E6%88%96%E5%A6%82%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82/
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18 Dec/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest First-ever VR System Recreates Scene of Injury in Court, Image Analysis Forthcoming on 28 Dec

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. Today’s session turned a new page in Hong Kong’s judicial history as VR technology finally made its debut in court. Today, the Government Laboratory’s Senior Chemist Dr Cheng Yuk-ki took to the witness stand as an expert witness. Cheng told the court that on request from the police, he was invited to conduct an independent forensic analysis and investigation. He said that he had analysed the CCTV footage related to the death inquest, including the recently discovered “critical clip” from Kwong Ming Court. He added that he had personally gone to the scene to “understand the local environment better”, and to measure some actual distances at the scene. He had used two types of 3D methods to record the scene, namely through 3D laser scanner to make a point cloud, and through a 360° 3D camera at the scene.

In the past Cheng had participated in crime scene surveys of nearly 400 cases, notably including the Lamma Ferry Incident and the Manila Hostage Incident. He had also taken to the witness stand 80 times. Cheng described a cloud point as converting the actual environment into dots, which besides the colour, “sort of resembles a video game”. With 3D markers added, the cloud point could recreate the scene in 1:1 ratio, and after computer processing, one can traverse in the recreated scene at various angles.

- Two 3D methods to recreate scene of Chow’s fall -

He explained that the relevant record was produced on 3 April this year, then a second record was made on 29 September. Why he made a second record was because back in April, he noticed that quite near where Chow had fallen, many citizens had left flowers to commemorate him, “but it wasn’t like I could take them away”. By September, he had received the police’s notification that the Link had already removed the items from the scene, so he went again to make a second recording of the scene in absence of the flowers. He added that when he made the second recording, he found that the wall, column, and sidewalk had been repainted, but besides that, there were no changes made to the scene structurally.

As seen at court, when the jury used 3D glasses to view the point cloud system, they depended on the expert witness to control moving around in the scene, and their angle of view was determined by the wearer of the special 3D glasses with a yellow control. The jury first viewed the virtual scene created on 29 September, and at the car park, there were puddles, and also an outline showing where Chow had fallen, which Cheng said was recreated from the police’s collection of images from the press. During the viewing a member of the jury also walked out into mid-air of the scene to view the surroundings from an impossible angle in real life. However, due to limitations of the system, only parts of the 3/F and the lower part of 2/F that were relevant to the current case was recreated. It’s also worthy to mention that the point cloud system actually did recreate the scene from this April, so details from that time, such as the makeshift altar in the car park, various campaign posters, and the graffiti “Reclaim Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times” on 3/F could still be seen clearly.

After the jury, lawyers and Chow’s family took turns viewing the recreated scene, Cheng turned to use the 3D images created by the 360° camera. He noted that the images created by this method would seem more realistic, but due to them being constrained by the photographer, the images could not be viewed from virtually any angle.

- Upcoming: Key person at car park, route taken by Chow to be revealed on 28 Dec -

The Coroner’s Officer said that Dr Cheng had also conducted an analysis on images captured from the various CCTVs, but since that portion would take a day and it was already almost noon by then, if only half a day was spent on a part of the analysis and then reconvening the inquest in more than a week’s time on 28 December, it would mean that the jury members’ memory might have become unclear by then, so he proposed to adjourn for the day and begin the image analysis on 28 December.

DB Channel had learned that the image analysis would consolidate the images from various CCTVs and mark out the key persons from the various images, and also outline the routes taken by the individuals in the car park, including that of Alex Chow. This would help the jury members understand the case better, and this form of systematic analysis would be used in court for the first time.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423
Morning, 8 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825261711024543
14 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830054970545217
Morning, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830558253828222
Afternoon, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830613760489338
16 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831356790415035
17 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831891923694855
18 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2832581766959204)

https://www.dbchannel.hk/2020/12/18/%E3%80%90%E6%B2%89%E5%86%A4%E5%BE%85%E9%9B%AA%E3%80%91%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E5%BA%AD%E5%8F%B2%E4%B8%8A%E9%A6%96%E6%AC%A1%E7%94%A8vr%E7%B3%BB%E7%B5%B1-%E9%A0%90%E5%91%8A28%E8%99%9F%E5%B0%87%E6%8F%AD/
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079658
***

28 Dec/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Critical 8 Seconds Missing, Attacked & Tossed Down from 3/F Nearly Impossible: Govt Forensic Expert

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. The inquest resumed today for its 22nd hearing, calling upon Dr. Cheng Yuk-ki of the Government Laboratory’s Forensic Science Division to the witness stand. Cheng pointed out that the police tried to use the time shown on the CCTV to calibrate the times of the videos, but the calibration was inaccurate and had quite a discrepancy compared with realtime. After the police’s calibration, there was footage that was 30 seconds slower than realtime, while another footage was 107 seconds faster. On the other hand, Cheng solicited the help of a colleague of a similar height as Alex Chow to help with testing the field of view at the scene. When the colleague stood on 3/F of the car park near where Chow had presumably fallen from, it wasn’t until the colleague was 0.8m away from the short wall before they could realise that 3/F opened directly into 2/F. Based on the evidence gathered, result after calibration of CCTV clips, and on-site test of field of view, Cheng believed that Chow had gone missing from the CCTV footages from merely 8 seconds, a time that he deemed was certainly not long enough to have been attacked and tossed down from 3/F.

In charge of forensic analysis at Government Laboratory, Cheng told the court that he had written 5 statements and analyses in connection with the case, including analysing the whereabouts of Chow in the CCTV clips and calculating the time gaps between different CCTVs; the reports were drafted between April and December this year. He pointed out that the police solicited his assistance on 4 Nov last year to provide forensic analysis for Chow’s case, hence he conducted foreign analysis, on-site survey, and CCTV analysis.

At that time, the calibration results shared with him by the police showed that inaccuracies that were far from realtime.

- Clothing Missing, Couldn’t Obtain Fibres for Testing -

In addition, Cheng attempted to obtain trace evidence from Chow’s body for testing, such as fibres, parts of the wall and paint, among other possibilities. He said that Chow was wearing a short-sleeve shirt and shorts at the time of the incident, and clothes would normally easily adhere trace evidence, but his clothing had long gone missing, so Cheng could only obtain trace evidence from Chow’s forearm, shin, and calf using tape.

- Design of 2/F Similar to 3/F -

Cheng explained to the court the results of his on-site survey at the car park, during which he mainly aimed to test the field of view as seen from someone of approximately Chow’s height. Cheng said that the two short walls on 2/F of the car park were 0.9m and 1.2m tall, while that on 3/F were all 1.2m tall; the distance between 2/F and 3/F was 4.3m. The design of 2/F and 3/F, according to Cheng, was quite similar, with the sole difference being the height of the short walls’ heights. He added that looking out from 3/F’s short wall, one could see a concrete horizontal beam and decorative metal barriers, which he described as merely decorative since there was nothing there between 2/F and 3/F, so no one could actually walk there.

- Only Realise Hollow in 3/F When 0.8m Away from Short Wall -

Chow landed on 2/F at a distance of 1.3m away from the short wall, near A2057 parking spot, above which was a fluorescent light. Cheng solicited the help of a colleague (height = 1.78m) of approximately Chow’s height (1.75m) to help test the field of view on-site. When the colleague stood outside parking spot A3057 on 3/F, he began approaching the short wall from 5m away. The colleague said that it wasn’t until they were 0.8m away from the short wall that they realised that there was a hallow on 3/F.

As for analysing the CCTV clips, Cheng took the 4 pieces of personal items belonging to Chow provided to him by the police for testing, which were a black Artengo hat, black Adidas sneakers, black Nike drawstring bag, and glasses, and also used the items as calibrating samples comparing against the CCTV footages. After testing, he believed that the person captured on CCTV was in fact Alex Chow.

- Dummy Test to Recreate Flash of Light Believed to be Chow’s Fall Captured on CCTV -

Detective Police Constable Ngai Kwun-kit (translit.) of the Crime Kowloon East Regional Headquarters previously testified that CCTV C30 of the car park showed at that 01:01:47, a “flash of light” appeared on the roof of a 7-seater outside where Chow had fallen, which Ngai believed was light reflected off of Chow’s body as he fell from 3/F to 2/F.

Cheng told the court that at 01:01:35 to 01:01:39, the last camera captured Chow walking up the slope from 2/F to 3/F of the car park, then 8 seconds later, at 01:01:47, camera C30 on 2/F caught two streams of light behind parking spot A207. Cheng explained that camera C30’s recording speed was 10 frames per second, such that 10 images could be shot in 1 second. The flash of light only appeared in one frame, meaning that it lasted only 0.1 seconds. He estimated that the flash was caused by someone falling downwards.

To prove his theory, Cheng used a dummy to recreate the video at the scene. He placed Chow’s personal items onto the dummy and put dark clothing on it. Cheng and a police officer brought a dummy to the car park in March this year, and he instructed the police to park a private car behind where Chow had fallen to take the place where the original car was in the footage. Cheng then instructed the officer to drop the dummy from 3/F to 2/F, with the dummy’s head facing eastward, legs pointing towards the west. Cheng proceeded to monitor the drop at the CCTV control room, and did indeed see a flash of light. He eventually deduced the flash of light in the CCTV footage to have been caused during Chow’s fall from a height.

Cheng also calibrated the times of the CCTV from Kwong Sun House that had captured a black shadow falling. After comparing that camera’s footage with that of C30 from the car park, and speeding up the frame rate of C30’s clip from 10 frames per second to 25 frames per second, the clips became synchronised in time. When both clips were played simultaneously, the black shadow captured by the camera at Kwong Sun House happened at the same time as the flash of light seen inside the car park.

The Coroner’s Officer asked Cheng if the limbs of the black shadow in the footage from Kwong Sun House’s CCTV could be seen to be moving if the video was examined after zooming in, Cheng said that the footage had low resolution and the black shadow fell at a high speed. As a result, he could only describe the shadow as “falling sideways”, but “I wouldn’t say” and “not give too many opinions” about whether the limbs were moving during the fall.

- Chow Estimated to Have Climbed over Short Wall on 2/F to Reach Sidewalk -

In addition, Cheng used the CCTV footage to measure the pace of the person suspected to be Chow in the clips. Chow was walking at 1.7m/s when he left Beverly Garden, a pace quicker than most people, and only took 57 seconds to walk from Beverly Garden to the footbridge connecting to the car park. Cheng had himself tested the route, that if the elevator ride took 20 seconds, while taking the stairs at a brisk walk it would require 50 seconds. The person suspected to have been Chow then walked from the lower part of 2/F of the car park towards the west, then appeared on the sidewalk shortly, which led Cheng to guess that Chow had leapt over the short wall on 2/F to reach the sidewalk.

As for the final steps taken by Chow, Cheng said that between 01:01:35 and 01:01:39, the CCTV captured Chow walking up the slope from 2/F to 3/F of the car park at a pace of 1.9m/s. Between 01:01:39 and 01:01:47, however, the cameras did not capture Chow’s whereabouts, which Cheng described as the “missing 8 seconds”. After those crucial 8 seconds, the cameras then captured what was suspected to be Chow’s fall.

Cheng pointed out that there was 15m between the top of the slope at 3/F to the short wall, but if one was walking at Chow’s brisk pace of 1.9m/s, it was reasonable that he could have moved 15m within 8 seconds, so Cheng felt that “it was as if Chow was voluntarily walking over there.” He also pointed out that according to the video evidence, Chow was walking alone, and was not seen talking with anyone.

The Coroner’s Officer asked Cheng if someone had emerged from the fire doors closest to Chow and attacked him, would it have been possible to not be captured by any cameras. Cheng said that the fire door near the left side of 3/F was not captured on video, while the door on the right side could have been captured on tape. Cheng added that he did not find any evidence to support the theory that someone had attacked Chow, since the attack, walk 15m to the short wall, and falling down all had to be completed within 8 seconds, “You would need time to lift him up and toss him. Chow was heavy and there was so little time, I’d say that it’s nearly impossible.”

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423
Morning, 8 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825261711024543
14 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830054970545217
Morning, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830558253828222
Afternoon, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830613760489338
16 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831356790415035
17 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831891923694855
18 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2832581766959204
19 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2833294216887959)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079842
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079853
https://www.thestandnews.com/society/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E6%94%BF%E5%BA%9C%E5%8C%96%E9%A9%97%E5%B8%AB-%E8%8B%A5%E8%88%87%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E8%BA%AB%E9%AB%98%E7%9B%B8%E5%90%8C-%E7%9F%AE%E7%89%86%E5%A4%96-0-8-%E7%B1%B3%E6%89%8D%E6%9C%83%E5%AF%9F%E8%A6%BA%E5%BE%8C%E6%96%B9-%E4%B8%AD%E7%A9%BA/
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E6%8C%87%E9%8F%A1%E9%A0%AD%E4%B8%8B%E6%B6%88%E5%A4%B1-8-%E7%A7%92%E5%BE%8C%E5%A2%AE%E6%A8%93-%E6%94%BF%E5%BA%9C%E5%8C%96%E9%A9%97%E5%B8%AB-%E7%84%A1%E5%8F%AF%E8%83%BD%E8%B6%B3%E4%BB%A5%E8%A5%B2%E6%93%8A%E5%86%8D%E6%8E%9F%E8%90%BD%E8%A1%97/?
***

29 Dec/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Person Unfamiliar w/ Surroundings Could Accidentally Fall from 3/F, No Support for Theory of Escape from Tear Gas: Govt Lab Expert Witness

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. On the 23rd day of the inquest into Chow’s death, expert witness, Dr Cheng Yuk-ki of Government Laboratory continued to testify. He told the court that after various analyses, he could not exclude the possibility that Chow had walked over to the short wall on his own will, mistaken there to be a sidewalk on the other side of the wall, and causing the current tragedy.

- Similar View Outside from 2/F & 3/F of Car Park, Misleading Hollow on 3/F -

Senior Chemist (Scene of Crime & Quality Management Section) Dr Cheng Yuk-ki was asked by the Coroner’s Officer today whether he had made any observations to explain why Chow would have fallen. Cheng said that standing 5m away from the wall at the car park looking outside, the view from 2/F and 3/F were quite similar. For someone who was unfamiliar with the car park, and had already been to 2/F, one could have mistaken there to be a sidewalk also on 3/F on the other side of the short wall, “I could not exclude this possibility.”

He further added that according to his analysis of the CCTV footage, Chow had tried to cross over to the sidewalk on 2/F. Since the short wall on 3/F was 1.2m tall, one would have to jump or hurdle over it, “If someone jumped, they might not be able to turn back in time.”

Cheng continued, pointing out that after Chow fell, the CCTV captured a man who stopped at 3/F of the car park, put his body weight on one arm in an attempt to jump over the short wall, but he realised that there was a hollow on the other side of the wall and grabbed the edge of the wall with both hands tightly and climbed back onto the wall. Cheng described that “Fortunately he had quick reflexes, otherwise another person would have fallen down,” and the relevant footage also proved the possibility that someone could mistake there to be a sidewalk on 3/F and leading one to try jumping over the wall. A citizen sitting-in at the inquest said after viewing the clip, “He already saw what was on the other side of the wall, this is just an actor! Sir (officer), you’ve got great moves!”

As for whether any fingerprints were left on the short wall, Cheng said that since the wall was made of concrete and had an uneven surface, it would be more difficult to collect a complete fingerprint than from a smooth surface. He explained that even if collecting a complete fingerprint was not possible, it did not mean that Chow had not touched the short wall. Another method would be to take a DNA sample from the wall, but it would depend on various factors and conditions, such as whether hand sweat had been left on the wall. Coroner David Ko Wai-hung told the court that he would later summon a fingerprint expert to testify.

- Can’t Exclude Possibility Chow Walked over to Short Wall on Own Accord -

In addition, Cheng said that what was possibly the final moment Chow was captured on CCTV was at 01:01:39 by camera C31 of the car park, at which time Chow was at the top of the slope on 3/F. 8 seconds later, Chow had fallen from a height. Cheng analysed that to reach the short wall from the top of the slope within 8 seconds required walking at a pace of 1.9m/s, which matched that of Chow captured on CCTV, hence supporting the possibility that Chow had walked over to the wall on his own accord. In addition, the CCTV on 3/F of the car park did not capture anyone else appearing after he had reached the 3/F.

Based on the above observations, Cheng said that he could not exclude the possibility that Chow had walked over to the short wall by himself, mistaking that there was a sidewalk on the other side of the wall, and causing the tragedy that took his life.

- No Evidence Supporting Chow Was Attacked or Fleeing from Tear Gas -

Another focus of the inquest was to determine Chow might have fallen from 3/F while escaping from tear gas, and Cheng told the court that “no evidence could be found to support the possibility of tear gas” after reviewing the relevant CCTV clips. He pointed out that the CCTV outside Kwong Sun House at Kwong Ming Court captured the outside of the car park, such that if tear gas had shot into the car park, he believed that the CCTV would have provided crucial information. However, the footage did not show this, so he would not make any inferences.

Yesterday, Cheng told the court that Chow had fallen from a height merely 8 seconds after he disappeared from the CCTV clip, and that to attack Chow and toss him from 3/F within 8 seconds was too rushed, and nearly impossible. Coroner Ko asked today that if one thought in the opposite way, first assuming that Chow had been attacked and then thrown off from 3/F, what sort of preparations must the assailant have made to not be caught on tape?

Cheng claimed that that the assailant must first stand at the parking spot in front of the short wall, wait for Chow to walk over briskly. However, Chow was 1.75m tall, weighed about 72kg, assuming that the assailant was skilled, the quickest attack would require 3 seconds, making it necessary for Chow to have walked over to the short wall in just 5 seconds, “I can’t fathom why (Chow) would do such a thing (walk so quickly).”

He supposed that the assailant attacked Chow midway between the slop and the short wall, to have made an attack and then quickly move Chow over, “it seems relatively more difficult.”

Cheng felt that someone having premeditated an attack against Chow was highly unlikely, that even if the attacker had been very familiar with the placement of the cameras, they would not know when the cameras would turn, unless there were accomplices monitoring the CCTVs and informing the assailant of the movements, but to have avoided the cameras and waged an attack was extremely unlikely. Cheng stressed that according to the CCTV footages, there was no evidence supporting the theory that Chow was attacked.

A member of the jury asked whether it was possible that Chow had been shoved off 3/F from behind, and Chow felt that under this circumstance, Chow might have struggled, causing abrasions on his body. However, he could not exclude such a possibility, though Chow would have been hard to shove over the short wall, and the CCTV did not show anyone nearby at that time.

From the CCTV at Kwong Sun House, a dark shadow believed to be Chow fell at the car park over 0.9 seconds. The footage was played frame by frame in court today, and what appeared to be Chow’s limbs moving was seen, but Cheng could not confirm this because he said that there was a possibility that it was the result of the trace images of the clip due to the compression used.

- Expert Witness Explains Crucial Flaws in Police’s Calibration of CCTV Timings -

Yesterday, Cheng told the court that the police’s attempt to calibrate the time of the various CCTV footages collected in connection with the current case was flawed. Today, he said that the calibration done by the police was “not very accurate”, “flawed”, that “I would have done it better”, but stressed that it would not affect his analysis and conclusions drawn.

In court yesterday, Cheng testified that according to the calibration done by the police, the same image taken by the cameras at Beverly Garden and at the car park had a 13-second time gap, leading him to conclude that there was a problem with the calibration. Barrister Flora Cheng Suk-yee representing the Chow family asked Cheng today if the calibration results were provided to him by Senior Police Constable Ngai Kwun-kit, and after Cheng reviewed the attachment of Ngai’s witness testimony, he concluded that the timings were provided by Ngai.

Cheng said that if he had done the calibration, he would have “done it better”, because he would use the Hong Kong Observatory’s time next to the CCTV footage to compare simultaneously, and film the comparison to record the time difference. He believed that the police did not use this method to calibrate, and possibly only relied on manual visual inspection, “otherwise they would have been able to share a record with me”, hence the police’s calibration was “not too accurate” and “flawed”.

However, Cheng himself also didn’t do a calibration, and told the court that it was best to do the calibration on the same day, since the longer the time passes, the more time gap there would be, and CCTV systems also refresh once every few days.

Nevertheless, Cheng stressed that the calibration results of the police would not impact his analysis or conclusions drawn from them, since there would only be a difference if two different systems were compared side by side, such as if comparing between the footages taken by the cameras of Beverly Garden and the car park. If the same system’s footages were used, then it would not affect the outcome.

Coroner Ko expected all testimonies to be completed by 4 Jan next year, and the magistrate’s closing statement would be made on 6 Jan.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423
Morning, 8 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825261711024543
14 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830054970545217
Morning, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830558253828222
Afternoon, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830613760489338
16 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831356790415035
17 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831891923694855
18 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2832581766959204
19 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2833294216887959
29 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2840491226168258)

 https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E6%8E%A8%E6%B8%AC%E5%A2%AE%E6%A8%93%E5%8E%9F%E5%9B%A0-%E6%94%BF%E5%BA%9C%E5%8C%96%E9%A9%97%E5%B8%AB-%E4%B8%8D%E6%8E%92%E9%99%A4%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E8%AA%A4%E6%9C%83%E7%9F%AE%E7%89%86%E5%BE%8C%E6%9C%89%E8%A1%8C%E4%BA%BA%E8%B7%AF/ 
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https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079874
***

31 Dec/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Expert Infers Chow Fell Accidentally to Land Head-first, Unlikely Attacked & Thrown from a Height

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov last year, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. Today, the Coroner summoned expert witness, specialist doctor in orthopaedics and traumatology, Dr James Kong Kam-fu. Kong told the court that he inferred that Chow had fallen accidentally, and did not jump down or get thrown from a height, because both those possibilities would have resulted in injuries to the limbs, and only the possibility of having fallen accidentally would have resulted in landing with his head hitting the ground. Moreover, Kong said that the fastest reaction time for humans were between 0.5-0.7 seconds, and that since Chow only had a 0.93-second fall, by the time he realised he was falling it could have taken him 0.7 seconds, leaving merely 0.23 seconds for him to reaction, but it was too short of a time. Kong further added that under normal circumstances, there would be a time difference between cognition and reaction. Finally, Kong deduced that Chow had tried to hurdle over the wall by placing his weight on his left arm, and then landing with his head and on his right side.

- If Chow Jumped off or Was Thrown down, Would Have Landed on Limbs: Expert Witness -

Expert Witness Dr Kong took to the witness stand, and brought a real skull model to facilitate his explanation. In June this year, Kong received Chow’s medical and autopsy reports, and learned that Chow had fallen from a height of 4.3m, at a horizontal distance of 1.3m away from the short wall. He found that Chow’s injuries were mainly to the right side of his body, including right skull fracture, right pelvic fracture, and abrasions on his right arm and leg, while his left brain also suffered contre-coup injury. Samples taken of Chow’s nails did not reveal DNA from any other person.

Dr Kong analysed the three possible causes of Chow’s fall from a height, being jumping off, falling off, and being tossed off. If Chow was prepared and jumped from a height, he would have had a run-up and then leapt, causing a higher speed of jump and usually landing on the limbs, leading to a higher chance of leg injuries upon touch-down. As for the location of the land, there would be a greater distance between the landing spot and the short wall.

If Chow had accidentally fallen off, then there would have been a higher chance of head injury. Kong explained that if the height of the fall was 7m or less, there was a 90% chance of causing head injury. Moreover, there would not be a run-up to the fall, so the distance of the landing spot to the short wall would have been closer.

As for the possibility of Chow having been tossed from a height, with two persons, one holding his arms with the other holding his legs as they tossed him, he would have landed farther away from the wall, with a smaller chance of head injury, and more likely to have had injuries on his limbs.

From the medical standpoint, Kong inferred from the reports that Chow had accidentally fallen down and landed hitting his head, “Just like dropping down a watermelon and it getting smashed, such a forceful impact would have caused a skull fracture,” but Kong added that it was a completely 180-degree sideways fall, and not falling upside-down.

- 0.7 seconds of Perception Reaction Time, Insufficient Time to React to Fall -

Kong calculated that Chow’s fall from 4.3m height would have taken 0.93 seconds, at a speed of 20miles/hr. Human’s fastest reaction times were 0.5-0.7 seconds, hence during Chow’s 0.93-second fall, he could have realised that he had fallen after 0.7 seconds, leaving only 0.23 seconds to reaction. Even if Chow had realised his fall sooner, at only 0.5 seconds into the fall, he would have only 0.43 seconds left, but the fall was just too brief. Kong added that under normal circumstances, there would even be perception delay, causing a gap between one’s cognition of a fall and being able to make a reaction. In addition, others’ attention could have been diverted, and thus could require an extra 1-2 seconds to react.

- Deduced that Chow Tried to Hurdle over Wall by Putting Weight on Left Hand -

The court viewed a video of a man who attempted to hurdle over the short wall after Chow had fallen from a height at the car park. The clip showed the man having put his weight on his left hand and jumping over with both legs, but he eventually realised that there was no sidewalk on the other side of the wall and grabbed the wall with both hands before climbing back onto the car lane. Dr Kong guessed that if the man had failed to stop mid-way and fallen down, his injuries would have been identical to those of Chow; he thus deduced that Chow had also put his weight on his left hand as he tried to climb over the wall, then landed on the right side of his head.

As for the posture that Chow had landed, his right side was touching the ground, his back was to the short wall. The jury asked for more details about the way he had landed, but Kong had difficulty giving a clear and easy to understand explanation, hence Coroner David Ko Wai-hung suggested to demonstrate using a plush doll, and offered a teddy bear from his office for the purpose. Dr Kong then used the bear to show the court various postures of falling down, then finally concluded that there was a higher chance that Chow had put his weight on his left hand as he tried to hurdle across the wall.

- Would Self-defend If Attacked, but No Foreign DNA Found in Chow’s Nails -

When asked whether Chow could have fallen after being attacked, Kong felt that Chow would have had injuries after being attacked on the head, and would have needed a heavy blow to have knocked Chow out before throwing him from a height. Kong felt that Chow’s injuries were the result of one impact; moreover, Chow’s nails did not contain others’ DNA, because if he had been attacked, he would have grabbed onto the assailant out of self-defence, thus leaving the assailant’s DNA in his nails. However, Kong could not rule out the possibility that Chow had been pushed off from behind, as the injuries as a result of being pushed down might not have been different from falling off, hence the two possibilities could not be distinguished.

As for whether Chow could have been attacked with rods and weapons, Kong said that Chow would have had blood clots in his head if that was the case, and the injuries would be different from what they observed. The forensic pathologies previously told the court that Chow had bruises in the palms of his hands, and today, Kong told the court that the location of the bruises might not be where he had been hurt, and it was possible that the bruising came from another place of injury but had spread to the palms.

Barrister Flora Cheng Suk-yee, representing Chow’s family, asked Kong that he had mentioned in his report that from the CCTV video at Kwong Sun House, the dark falling shadow suspected to be Chow’s fall captured on tape, seemed to show a head-first fall, while both legs were higher in the air, but an expert witness from the Government Laboratory’s Scene of Crime & Quality Management Section said that the clip had noise due to compression and could not see the location of the limbs clearly, Kong replied, “Although the video had bad resolution, one could still make out basically that the fall was head-first.”

Moreover, a civilian witness Mr Mong previously told the court that he had seen two red handprints on the short wall on 3/F of the car park. Kong clarified that the handprints were not made with blood, because blood would oxidise, so they should appear darker, and the bloodstains would not have been as complete in marking a print of the entire palms.

- Magistrate’s Closing Statement on 6 Jan, Jury’s Deliberation Thereafter -

After the testimony from Dr Kong, Coroner Ko said that only a fingerprint expert and a toxicologist would take to the stand. The case would be reconvened on 4 Jan, and all testimonies were expected to be completed in the morning that day. Closing statements from the lawyers would be arranged on 5 Jan, followed by that of Coroner Ko. The jury would then be allowed to deliberate on the evidence and testimonies heard.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423
Morning, 8 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825261711024543
14 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830054970545217
Morning, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830558253828222
Afternoon, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830613760489338
16 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831356790415035
17 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831891923694855
18 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2832581766959204
19 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2833294216887959
29 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2840491226168258
30 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2841208549429859)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079930
https://hkfeature.com/%e6%b3%95%e5%ba%ad%e6%97%a5%e8%aa%8c/4226/2020/
***

4 Jan 2021/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest No Evidence Suggesting Tear Gas Affecting Chow, No Fingerprints Obtained from Wall Where Chow Fell

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov 2019, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. Today was the final day that the inquest heard testimonies from witnesses, and the court summoned a total of 3 witnesses to the stand today, including a clinical toxicology as expert witness, as well as two police officers from the Identification Bureau. Clinical toxicologist Dr Tse Man-li reviewed the medical records compiled by doctors at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and the CCTV footage to conclude that there was no trace of medication or poison that could have led to Chow’s death, and there was no evidence captured on CCTV indicating that Chow or other citizens at the car park had been affected by any smoke, hence there was no evidence suggesting that Chow had fallen from a height due to tear gas. The two officers responsible for forensic evidence collection at the scene noted that there weren’t any fingerprints obtained from the 3/F short wall due to its uneven surface, and that they did not make any attempt to take fingerprints from the door of the 3/F fire exit next to the short wall.

- No Proof of Death by Medication or Poison, No Evidence Suggesting Impact by Tear Gas -

Medical expert witness Dr Tse Man-li is a clinical toxicologist and is also the Centre in-charge of the Hong Kong Poison Control Network. Based on the medical report filed by QEH’s A&E department Dr Ray Leung and that of the neurosurgeon, neither report mentioned that Chow had been exposed to tear gas. Tse explained that human eyes, ears, mouth, and nose were all very sensitive to tear gas, such that even if tear gas concentration was too low to be detected by machines or be identified in a laboratory test, humans would still react to tear gas. According to Tse, if tear gas particles had remained on Chow’s body, then the healthcare staff taking care of him would have been stimulated and would have had reactions such as stinging in the eyes, nasal congestion, and a runny nose; none of the healthcare workers reported such reactions. Furthermore, Tse added that the healthcare workers would have been in closest contact with Chow during resuscitation, but for them to have failed to detect tear gas on his body was next to impossible. Unless Chow’s clothing had been removed or he had been washed, it would have been very difficult for tear gas particles to go unnoticed.

In addition, Tse pointed out that Chow’s toxicology reports, including tests done on samples of his body fluids, urine, stomach contents, nasal cavity, tracheal swab, and even lung samples did not show the presence of CS and CN that are commonly found in tear gas, and there were also no traces of pepper spray and capsaicin. Tse noted that when the tear gas is shot, the CS would be heated and then release cyanide, but there was no non-medical cyanide found on Chow’s body, and there was no clinical symptom of low blood pressure. On a side note, Tse pointed out that the amount of CS required in order to kill someone would be equivalent to about 1,000 to 10,000 rounds of tear gas.

Tse shared that if humans came into contact with tear gas, reactions could be observed from external symptoms such as swelling of the ocular mucous membrane, vomiting, and shortness of breath. If contact with a large dose of tear gas is made, then there may be red hives on the skin. The medical reports of Chow did not mention Chow exhibiting any of the symptoms.

- Tear Gas Disperses w/in 100-130m in Semi-enclosed Space -

As for whether there could be disparate impact on people depending on the distance between the gas and the individuals, Tse said that the physical proximity of an individual to tear gas was positively correlated with the impact of tear gas on the individual, but actual circumstances would require consideration of other factors, such as the relative degree of enclosure of a space and direction of wind. Chow was 130m away from where tear gas was launched at the time. Tse explained that in an open area, tear gas would be dispersed over a 50m area. In a semi-enclosed space, he asserted that tear gas would disperse over an area of 100-130m. Exact impact would also depend on the direction of the wind, and if the tear gas was approaching the individual.

The Coroner’s Officer asked whether the CS or CN used in tear gas could impair one’s consciousness or cognition, Tse responded that tear gas’s impact on an individual in a semi-enclosed area was relatively small. Unless there was a high concentration of tear gas in an enclosed space, then an individual would lose consciousness after prolonged exposure. However, it would not result in impact on an individual’s muscular power, and also not affect an individual’s mobility.

Moreover, Tse added that besides affecting an individual biologically, tear gas was also used as a visual warning and make psychological impact, such that when an individual sees the smoke, they would leave. Tse said that he had seen an elderly person feeling frightened upon seeing tear gas.

- Citizens Standing around Looked at Ease, No One Rushing to Wash Eyes or Rush away -

The court played a CCTV recording, during which Tse pointed out that he did not see any suggestions that Chow’s behaviours had been affected by tear gas. Moreover, the bystanders on the footbridge connecting Beverly Garden with Sheung Tak Car Park looked at ease, did not rush to go away or wash their eyes, hence no impact was seen. There was one lady who covered her nose with her hand, but Tse felt that the lady had such an action because someone nearby was smoking.

A member of the jury asked whether it was possible that Chow was especially sensitive to tear gas, since if an individual was so sensitive to tear gas to the point of finding it difficult to walk, then it would have been even more difficult to jump. Tse stressed that the wind direction provided by the Hong Kong Observatory at that time was not a reliable estimate, and the CCTV footage showed that the wind was weak at the time. In news footage, the tear gas was also seen to rise, and Tse pointed out that the car park was ventilated, such that even if tear gas had entered the car park, it would have been difficult to spread 100m.

- Officers Fail to Obtain Fingerprints from Short Wall Where Chow Fell -

Investigation Bureau Senior Police Constable Yuen Chi-hung (translit.) told the court he had proceed to the car park the day after Chow’s fall from a height in 2019 to obtain fingerprints from the 3/F short wall and the top of the short wall where Chow was had fallen. Next to the short wall was a white wall, and Yuen also tried to obtain fingerprints from the wall, but no prints could be obtained. Yuen explained to the court that since the short wall had an uneven surface causing dust to collect in nooks and crevices, it made fingerprinting extremely difficult. He had tried to use an even more sensitive type of fingerprint powder, but he still could not find any fingerprints.

Yuen felt that since the wall was so dusty, if someone had in fact put their hand on the surface, it could result in a marking left in the dust, but there was only a small chance of that happening, because the wall surface was uneven, making it difficult to leave a trace that would be obvious and observable. If the wall was smooth as a glass surface, then it would have been possible to see handprints.

The court then heard that Yuen did not take any DNA swabs during the forensic investigation because he could not identify Chow’s actual final target location, there being an absence of bloodstains or shoe prints on the wall, he did not have an obvious area outlined for him to take a DNA swab with a cotton tip in the entire suspected area. Upon pressing by Barrister Flora Cheng Suk-yee representing Chow’s family, Yuen admitted that he did not take fingerprints from the fire doors next to the short wall.

Senior Inspector of the Investigation Bureau Lai Chen-man (translit.) explained to the court that once a person touches an object, then their fingerprints would be transferred to the object via their sweat residue, but it would be affected by a number of factors, such as the movement of the hand, insufficient surface area contact, lack of sweat residue, overlapping fingerprints, or the material of the object could make fingerprinting particularly challenging. Lai pointed out that fingerprinting from uneven, rough, and dusty surfaces was difficult, and there was a possibility that the hand would lift away some of the dust.

When asked if there could have been a dust handprint left behind, Lai said that “dust is white” [sic], so perhaps a handprint would not be left behind, and that there would be a bigger chance to leave a handprint in dark dust.

Coroner David Ko Wai-hung said that all witnesses had completed their testimonies, and that statements would be made by stakeholders, including Barrister Flora Cheng Suk-yee representing Chow’s family, Samson Hung representing the police, as well as the representative of the Fire Services Department.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423
Morning, 8 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825261711024543
14 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830054970545217
Morning, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830558253828222
Afternoon, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830613760489338
16 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831356790415035
17 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831891923694855
18 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2832581766959204
19 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2833294216887959
29 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2840491226168258
30 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2841208549429859
31 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2842671502616897)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079982
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1079987 
https://www.thestandnews.com/court/%E5%91%A8%E6%A2%93%E6%A8%82%E6%AD%BB%E5%9B%A0%E7%A0%94%E8%A8%8A-%E6%AF%92%E7%90%86%E5%B0%88%E5%AE%B6-%E5%AE%8C%E5%85%A8%E7%84%A1%E8%AD%89%E6%93%9A%E9%A1%AF%E7%A4%BA%E5%9B%A0%E5%82%AC%E6%B7%9A%E5%BD%88%E5%A2%AE%E6%A8%93/
***

5 Jan/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest #longread Chow Family Lawyer Questions Validity of Expert Witnesses’ Testimonies, HKPF Lawyer Points Fingers at Protesters & Property Mgt Co

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov 2019, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. Following the completion of the all the witnesses’ testimonies in court yesterday, the legal representatives of the Chow Family, the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF), and the Fire Services Department (FSD) made their closing statements today.

- Chow Family Lawyer Reminds Jury to Refrain from Taking Hints from Non-factual Inferences and Hypotheses -

Barrister Flora Cheng Suk-yee representing Alex Chow’s family pointed out that the inquest summoned a total of 48 witnesses and reviewed 142 pieces of evidence. She noted that the jury members actively participated in the inquest, and reminded them to maintain an open-mind and only make a judgment based on facts to derive at Chow’s cause of death. Guesses and assumptions based on anything but facts should not happen, and jury members should also not have a pre-set stance on the matter.

Cheng noted that the first witness summoned was Alex Chow’s father, and from his recount of his son’s life, his studies, and interactions with his family, one could understand that Alex had been a hardworking and proactive person who loved sports and was well-liked by his friends. With his family, Alex also maintained good relations. On the day of the incident, although Alex did not disclose where he was going, his family trusted him, and his father had also kept in contact with him. Alex actually told his father to close the windows, from which it could be deduced that things in the family had been normal before Alex headed out.

As for the possibility that Alex had gotten into an altercation with someone, Cheng pointed out that Alex had left home to walk from Beverly Garden to Sheung Tak Car Park, and had done so with his phone in his hand while he was alone. Later he also confirmed his whereabouts with his friends on Telegram, including his claim that he was “in the peanut gallery at the car park”, responding to a friend’s message that his home was not an idea place to spot view the action, and that he was “bringing some items to someone”. However, Cheng said that there was no evidence that showed Alex having gotten into a serious altercation with anyone.

- Chow Family’s Lawyer Alleges Forensic Expert Limited by Info Provided by Police -

Barrister Cheng reminded the jury to pay special attention to the testimony of a forensic expert, Senior Chemist Cheng Yuk-ki, saying that he mentioned that he “had been invited by the police to conduct a forensic analysis of all the information collected by the police”, hence his investigation “was not with restraints, and was limited by the information provided by the police”, including the incorrectly calibrated time provided by the police. Under examination, forensic expert Cheng had confirmed that he had known at the time he received the report that the calibrated times of officer Ngai Kwun-kit (translit.) were incorrect, and that he had “fairly pointed out the dispute over the calibrating of time, that doing it himself would have been better.” Finally, Cheng had gone on his own to use the same CCTV system of the car park to calibrate the timings of the clips.

Forensic expert Cheng had also seen a clip of a white-clad man climbing over the short wall and thus formed an initial impression that Alex Chow had experienced a similar episode and investigated the case from this angle, but Barrister Cheng pointed out that this impression should not be applied onto Alex Chow. As for the “missing 8 seconds” purported by expert Cheng that Alex Chow had been away from the camera, he could not sufficiently explain why Chow was filmed standing at the top of the slope of 3/F of the car park, but a falling dark shadow was captured by the CCTV at Kwong Sun House 8 seconds later; expert Cheng did not know at the start of his investigation that there was CCTV footage from Kwong Sun House.

- Short Wall Reaches 2/3 Alex Chow’s Height, Difficult to “Fall Accidentally” -

In addition, Barrister Cheng felt that expert Cheng had been influenced by the perceptions of officer Ngai during his investigation, that to support the officer’s allegation that Alex Chow had fallen from a height accidentally, expert Cheng proposed 6 views. However, Barrister Cheng pointed out several points of dispute, including the statement that 2/F and 3/F of the car park had similar design, making it easy for someone to get confused between the two floors. However, Barrister Cheng pointed out that the short wall on 3/F was 1.2m high, but Alex Chow was 1.75 tall, meaning that the wall reached 2/3 of his height. When Alex Chow approached the wall, his centre of gravity would have been below the top of the wall, and certainly not likely to have “accidentally fallen off.”

At the time of the incident, the upper part of the short wall on 3/F was pink, the lower half being grey, and only months after the incident was the wall painted white all over. Expert Cheng only went to film the scene months after the incident, and pointed out that the short wall and the walls in the background were both white, leading one to be confused, but Barrister Cheng stressed that what Alex Chow saw on the day of the incident were walls of different colours, and she questioned whether confusion would have arisen under such circumstance. Moreover, the short wall was 20cm thick, and not a hurdle that one could easily climb over.

Furthermore, Barrister Cheng questioned expert Cheng’s views as daring hypotheses lacking factual support. He had seen Alex Chow appearing on the 2/F laneway from the CCTV footage, then reaching the sidewalk shortly after, hence he inferred that Chow had climbed over the short wall on 2/F to reach the sidewalk. However, Barrister Cheng pointed out that “this was a daring hypothesis”, since the CCTVs did not capture such an event happening.

Moreover, expert Cheng had tried to piece together the video images from the car park’s cameras, but Barrister Cheng pointed out that the cameras were selected randomly, and there were gaps in the times shown, along with blind spots at the car park. In closing, she pointed out to the jury, “There are gaps both large and small in the testimony, would it be safe to accept the opinions and views that expert witness Cheng wishes you to believe?” She also explained that expert Cheng was only an expert witness and not a factual witness, such that if his views were problematic or lacking scientific basis, the jury could choose to not accept his views.
 

- Orthopaedics Specialist’s Draws on Literature but Lacks Factual Support -

Barrister Cheng also pointed out that another expert witness, specialist doctor in orthopaedics and traumatology, Dr James Kong Kam-fu, described at the start of his report that “the police asking me to make comments is a tremendous challenge.” She could not understand why Dr Kong would approach the analysis from jumping, falling, or being thrown from a height. Moreover, Barrister Cheng pointed out that Kong only broadly referenced academic literature, analysed purely from physics and made many assumptions, but lacked critical and fundamental evidential support, thus “eagerly leading everyone to only consider a single perspective.”

She also questioned the hypothesis that Chow was thrown from a height, “none of the legal teams said that there were assailants, and Dr Kong was invited by the police to provide an expert opinion, (I) don’t know why he would need to provide this view.” She added that Chow’s family had wanted more people to stand witness to help provide more facts about the incident so that a more informed judgment could be made.

- Orthopaedics Doctor Makes Bold Statements Different from Other Expert Witnesses -

Dr Kong told the court that from the CCTV clip, he had seen the dark shadow alleged to be Alex Chow falling to be falling head-first, which Barrister Cheng said was different from other witnesses’ views. Forensic expert Cheng actually said that since there was noise in the CCTV clip due to compression, even he would not dare to comment on the posture of the shadow during the fall, while Kong made such bold statements.

As to Kong’s claim that the red marks on the wall were paint marks, Barrister Cheng said that Kong was not a forensic investigator, so she was uncertain whether he had been influenced by his aims to take the initiative to analyse the prints. Coroner David Ko Wai-hung supplemented that he had asked the witness to analyse the prints, and that the usual protocol was to conduct the investigation according to the police’s advice. Cheng also questioned that the 0.7 seconds reaction time Kong said was required was only applicable to driving, and could not be applied to the balance or sensory system of people.

Kong had mistakenly pointed out previously that the white-clad man who almost climbed over the short wall could have resulted in similar injuries as Alex Chow, but Cheng pointed out that this statement was “trying hard to make everyone believe that Alex Chow made the same movements”, but he failed to demonstrate using the plush doll in court how when Alex Chow’s head was pointing westward yet land with his head facing eastward. Moreover, Kong’s demonstration could only follow the route taken by the white-clad man, which Cheng felt lacked objectivity.

Lastly, Cheng expressed gratitude towards the firefighters and ambulancemen of the Fire Services Department (FSD) on behalf of Alex Chow’s parents, “Mr and Mrs Chow thank the firefighters and ambulancemen for their wholehearted assistance to Alex.”

- FSD’s Lawyer Claims Speediest Arrival to Call with Ardent Effort -

Barrister Michael Lok Hui-yin representing the FSD expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased on his closing statements, and that he felt terrible for Chow’s passing several days after his admission to the hospital. Moreover, Lok pointed out that ambulance A344 had been obstructed by a stalled vehicle at Kwong Ying House on the night of the incident, and unfortunately, the ambulanceman could not find a suitable detour, but they still managed to arrive at the scene per the 12-minute service promise. He added that the service promise was the FSD’s promise to all citizens, but would still depend on the actual circumstances and safety conditions at the time to arrive to calls as quickly as possible. Moreover, Lok noted that the firefighters and ambulancemen had done all that they could to rescue Ale Chow.

- HKPF’s Lawyer: Refrain from Having Preconceptions due to Political Stances -

Barrister Samson Hung, legal representative of the police force, pointed out that Alex Chow’s fall from height incident received much attention in society, leading to various theories over the course of events. He said that the jury were “judges of facts”, and that they should not have preconceptions out of personal preferences or political positions that could affect their judgment. As for the testimonies provided by the various witnesses, he stated that the witnesses were not all from one particular government unit, that they were all assisting to find the truth, hence the eagerness of their testimonies should not bear on the permissibility of their views. As for the calibration error by the police on the CCTV clips, Hung felt that it would not bear on the authenticity of what had been captured on tape, and he also stressed that none of the legal representatives doubted that the clips had been edited or altered in any way.

- No Rescue Efforts from Police because “No Time to Wait to Catch Criminals” -

As for a critical concern whether the police had obstructed or interfered with the rescue efforts, Hung said that some even asked “if the police had stood just watching, not helping to save a life”, he said that the firemen, ambulancemen, volunteer first-aiders, and even citizens all confirmed that the police did not obstruct the rescue. Moreover, they did not request for the police’s assistance because they thought it wasn’t necessary or that the police would not be of any help in the process.

Hung also referenced the explanation provided by Senior Inspector Wong Ka-lun, commander of Kowloon East Emergency Unit Platoon 4 at the time, as saying that he had dispatched a team member to take a look at what was happening, but out of “higher level concern”, which Hung stressed that police had “ no time to wait to catch criminals hiding in the car park”, out of fear that Chow and others could be harmed. Hung explained, “This is only each party doing its own duties, but some would disagree with the role played by the police in the protests,” and that a first-aider told the court that they had heard a citizen telling the officers to leave.

He questioned, “What’s the problem with volunteer first-aiders administering first-aid, and the police being in charge of catching criminals? Why would this division draw dispute?” He further pointed out that when the police did not examine the traces on the wall or taken fingerprints from the emergency fire exit for testing, again there were questions, “So if the police did not go after the criminals, would there be others laying blame on the police for missing such an opportunity to apprehend criminals? Are there double-standards at work here?” Hung pointed out that it had been more than a year since the incident, but no one had ever pointed out how the police could have been of assistance, hence there were voices in society criticising the police as “weak and powerless”.

As for why the police did not help to remove the roadblocks, Hung said that the firemen could clear the roadblocks in 1-2 seconds, “Would having the officers go and clear the roadblocks to count as them having fulfilled their duties?”

- Protesters Obstructed Roads, Kwong Ying House Property Mgt Co the Culprit to Blame -

Hung pointed the finger at the protesters for blocking the intersection that day, making the FSD vehicles unable to pass through, “They saw the fire vehicles but did not leave the intersection,” and said that he was not trying to pass political or ethical judgements, but was only making statements on irrefutable facts.

He also mentioned that the stalled vehicles outside Kwong Ying House of Kwong Ming Court being the main cause the ambulance could not reach the scene via the most direct route, hence he felt that if there was blame to be placed in the delay of treatment, “the main culprit would be the property management company of Kwong Ying House, and they have no excuse whatsoever.” Hung claimed that the police did not derelict their duties, but had continued to receive criticisms. He wondered whether it was like how one of the first-aiders’ subjective thoughts that the police should provide assistance, leading to many people feeling like the police had not done enough.

- Being Shot or Ducking Tear Gas All Just Rumours and Guesses; We’re not Omniscient:  HKPF Lawyer -

As for a claim that Chow had been shot or had fallen from a height when he tried to duck from tear gas, Hung felt that there could only be one truth, and he couldn’t understand why there could be two, so he concluded such claims to be fabricated and rumours that got spread around; even the medical reports did not support such claims and rumours. Hung also slammed the claim that smoke from tear gas had impaired vision was like the blind leading the blind. There was a short wall of 1.2m height, even if one had lost their balance, it would not be easy to fall off. He also mentioned that Chow’s father said that they would usually only pass through 2/F of the car park, hence there was a chance that Chow would be unfamiliar with 3/F.

As for the “missing 8 seconds’ during which Chow was not captured on CCTV, Hung said that “We’re not omniscient”, hence we don’t know what happened during that time. He also repeatedly asked the jury to review whether the incident was the result of an accident, that if they felt the possibility of accident to be larger than all other possibilities, they could judge that it was an accident. Finally, he concluded that based on the evidence and testimonies, Alex Chow had most likely accidentally fallen while trying to climb over the short wall.

Coroner Ko postponed the inquest until Thursday (7 Jan) morning to deliver his closing statements and to give jury instructions.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423
Morning, 8 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825261711024543
14 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830054970545217
Morning, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830558253828222
Afternoon, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830613760489338
16 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831356790415035
17 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831891923694855
18 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2832581766959204
19 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2833294216887959
29 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2840491226168258
30 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2841208549429859
31 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2842671502616897
4 Jan: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2845602595657121)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1080012
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1080016
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1080021
***

9 Jan/Assorted: [UPDATED] #AlexChowInquest Open Verdict in Coroner’s Inquest, 2nd Open Verdict in Suspicious Deaths Related to Anti-ELAB Movement

22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov 2019, fell into a coma, and later succumbed to his injuries. On the 29th day of the coroner’s inquest into Chow’s death, the jury decided 4-1 that the case of Alex Chow remains an open verdict - a verdict of a coroner's jury affirming the occurrence of a suspicious death but not specifying the cause.

This is the 7th open verdict since 2015, meaning the 2 suspicious deaths in anti-ELAB movement - including Christy Chan's death - ended up in an open verdict. This came after 14 hours of discussions after 2 days of withdrawal to consider the verdict.

- Coroner reminds jury to base judgment on facts and not preconceptions or personal views -

On Thursday (7 Jan), Coroner David Ko Wai-hung summarised the evidence heard in the case and guided the jury. He reminded the jury that this case was related to a social event, and that it was normal to have opinions towards the police or the protesters, but they should not have preconceptions or presuppose that one side was at fault. A member of the jury asked whether it was possible to restore the phone call record of Chow’s phone via iCloud, and the Coroner replied that Chow didn’t have iCloud, but Chow’s mother corrected him, “I want to clarify that Alex did have iCloud.” Flora Cheng, the lawyer representing the Chow family, told the court that the police claimed to not have found Alex’s iCloud on his iPad and thus claimed that Alex did not have an iCloud account, which didn’t sound right to Chow’s mother. Cheng also said in response to the jury’s question that “if possible, then it would have been done a year ago."

Moreover, Coroner Ko pointed out that the jury must base its judgment on facts, and the choose whether to accept the witnesses’ statements. However, there was a limit to the jury’s authority, in that they did not have jurisdiction over criminal responsibility. Ko also reminded the jury not to rely on guesses, to consider the evidence presented and told to the court, and to disregard media reports.

- Coroner clarifies expert witnesses received non-selective materials, no more and no less -

During his closing remarks, Coroner Ko stated that the jury could exclude the possibility that Chow was shoved off 3/F of the car park, since “if he had leaned out far enough, he would have fallen head-first”, but there was evidence claiming that Chow had fallen sideways. At Chow’s height, his centre of gravity would have been below the top of the short wall.

Ko took the initiative to explain the procedures for seeking expert witnesses’ help in an inquest. Barrister Cheng representing the Chow family mentioned during her closing remarks that the expert witnesses including Government Laboratory Senior Chemist Dr Cheng Yuk-ki had been limited by the materials and information provided by the police. Ko said that once the Coroner’s Court received a case, it would seek the help of the police to investigate, and would maintain an open attitude, not specifying the area of investigation. Once they received the report, the Court would instruct the police to find relevant experts, and seek an independent expert via nomination to ask them for advice, then determine whether to summon them as a witness. Ko stressed that experts had their professional conduct and independence, and interested parties could also present their own hired witnesses’ opinions, so there should not be concerns of a biased stance. Moreover, Ko said that “the materials received by witnesses were non-selective, and directed by the Coroner, no more and no less, so they got the same evidence as you did.”

- Forensic Expert’s Testimony Based on Indirect Circumstantial Evidence: Coroner Ko -

The Coroner pointed out that forensic expert witness Cheng Yuk-ki’s testimony was based on indirect circumstantial evidence, and did not have direct evidence. Moreover, Ko added that “it’s a rather difficult thing to make inferences.” Among the 6 inferences made by Cheng, he mentioned that the short wall was 1.2m tall and was similar in colour with the higher walls, the Coroner agreed with Barrister Cheng that the two walls were of different colours at the time of the incident. He added that “If I had known there to be a hollow below, I would definitely not have jumped. If one knew there was danger, one would probably not jump.” Ko left it up to the jury to decide whether Chow had crossed over the wall of his own accord.

As for whether Chow had been attacked, Ko said that Dr Ray Leung claimed that Chow might have been attacked was based on medical theory, that Chow could have been attacked and then thrown off from a height, but Leung also agreed that there was no medical evidence to prove that Chow had been attacked as Chow did not have swelling in the back of his head and did not exhibit any injuries out of defence, meaning that if he had been attacked, it would have been a frontal attack.

As for the reaction time suggested by orthopaedics and traumatology specialist Dr James Kong Kam-fu of 0.7s, which could be even longer in a complex environment. Since Chow’s fall was only 0.93s, Ko wondered what could have been done in such a short time, that even if Chow had 0.23s to reaction, “What could he have done?”

Citizen Mung Wai-kit mentioned in his testimony that he had seen two red marks on the 3/F short wall at the car park, near where Chow had fallen from. At first he thought they were hand prints, but upon closer approach, he confirmed that they were paint marks. Ko said that even though the two red marks weren’t located vertically aligned with there Chow had fallen, “to be fair, (the police) did not take any samples of these two marks.”

There had also been a theory circulating that Chow had tried to escape from tear gas and thus fell from a height, Ko said that this was just hearsay, that its value to the inquest was very limited. Coroner Ko quoted clinical toxicologist Dr Tse Man-li’s testimony that there was no evidence proving Chow to have been affected by tear gas.

Some wondered why Chow’s iPhone could not be unlocked, that the police only tried the password once and then the phone was locked and showed that it needed to sync with iTunes. Ko said that sometimes Chow’s parents “might have wanted to try Alex’s birthday, guessing whether it could have been the password,” thus there had already been multiple unsuccessful attempts.

- Coroner Leads Jury to only Consider 3 Findings -

Yesterday (8 Jan), Coroner Ko led the jury prior to their deliberation that the jury could only choose one of three findings in this inquest, namely “unlawful killing”, “accident”, or “open verdict”. Ko had considered whether to provide the option of “unlawful killing”, and finally decided to offer it, but reminded the jury to only come to such conclusion in the absence of suspicion.

Ko pointed out that if the jury had other reasonable inferences, then they could not choose unlawful killing. The only way this option could be used was if someone had fixated Chow’s head on a hard surface and then used a large brick to hit his forehead, then toss him from 3/F to 2/F, and the point of impact having been identical to where he had been attacked. However, Ko said that an attack, if it had happened, would have left traces, such as blood stains, but none of the witnesses saw blood stains. Moreover, Ko pointed out to the jury members that they could consider whether it was possible to have cleaned the scene thoroughly within a very short time.

The second finding would be “accident”, which Ko said if Chow had thought there to be a sidewalk on the other side of the short wall on 3/F and had climbed over the short wall of his own accord, with his foot hitting the wall and falling off or unable to change his posture, then the jury could conclude on this finding and did not require absence of doubt.

The third finding was “open verdict”. Ko said that if the jury accepted that Chow had fallen from 3/F to 2/F of the car park, but the reason of the fall and the cause of death being unknown, and there being a lack of evidence to provide further insight into the cause, then they could choose this finding. Ko, however, said that “this would be an unideal verdict”, and would be the conclusion if no other finding was suitable.

Coroner Ko said that the three findings should be considered in sequence, first with “unlawful killing”, then “accident”, and finally “open verdict”.

As for recommendations, Ko said that the jury’s recommendations would be to prevent similar deaths from happening, but they must be feasible, and should not be criticisms or putting blame on any individuals or parties. Since a verdict had not been reached yesterday, the jury was transported to the High Court to spend the night.

- Jury Seeks Clarification and Review Video Again -

On 9 Jan, the 29th day of the inquest into Alex Chow’s death, 3F 2M jury members had deliberated the evidence in the case for nearly 12 hours before the inquest was resumed. The jury asked Coroner Ko two questions, including whether a civilian witness had mentioned that they were not aware that 3/F had a hollow on the other side of the short wall, and to clarify how the distance of 1.3m between the wall and Chow had been calculated.

Ko said that the “white hat youth” witness Chui Ka-long claimed that he had lived in the neighbourhood for a long time, so he knew that there was a hollow on the other side of the short wall on 3/F and would not cross over the wall; besides that, no one else had mentioned about this knowledge. As for the 1.3m distance was part of Dr Cheng Yuk-ki’s testimony, and he had seen the photo taken by witness Mung Wai-kit then estimated the distance between where Chow had fallen was 1.3m away from the wall. The jury also asked to review 30min of video evidence.

After 14 hours of deliberation, the 3F 2M jury decided on an open verdict in Chow’s death, making it the 2nd suspicious death of the Anti-ELAB movement that was ruled to have an open verdict.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423
Morning, 8 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825261711024543
14 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830054970545217
Morning, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830558253828222
Afternoon, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830613760489338
16 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831356790415035
17 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831891923694855
18 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2832581766959204
19 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2833294216887959
29 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2840491226168258
30 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2841208549429859
31 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2842671502616897
4 Jan: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2845602595657121
5 Jan: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2846893262194721)

https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1080063
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1080070
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1080078
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1080100
https://www.inmediahk.net/node/1080107
***

10 Jan/Assorted: #AlexChowInquest Truth Lies in Missing 8s of Video, Neighbour Complains of Missing Car Park Camera & Questions Police’s Account

On 9 Jan, after 29 days of inquest, the jury decided on an open verdict in the death of 22yo HKUST student Alex Chow Tsz-lok’s death, who had fallen from a height at Sheung Tak Car Park, Tseung Kwan O on 4 Nov 2019. After two days of withdrawal for deliberation, the jury voted 4-1 to confirm an open verdict, affirming the occurrence of a suspicious death but not specifying the cause. The jury also made 2 recommendations, including suggesting the management of the car park to update its CCTV equipment and include automatic real-time setting, and to prevent blind spots, as well as installing barriers as warnings on the wall on the 3/F.

A neighbour told Apple Daily that there was a key camera on 3/F of the camera that had never been submitted as evidence to the inquest, and he noticed in December 2020 that the camera was removed from the car park. Moreover, the neighbour had doubts towards the validity of the police’s report that the side door leading to 3/F of the car park was locked on the day of the incident.

- Filling the void in missing critical 8 seconds -

Expert witness Dr Cheng Yuk-ki, after consolidating the CCTV footages, had inferred that Chow had fallen from 3/F of the car park by his own doing, but none of the cameras actually captured the final 8 seconds before Chow fell. These 8 missing seconds were determined when Cheng calculated the time between Chow reaching 3/F from 2/F, and the time a flash of light (which Cheng presumed to be Chow’s fall) was captured. Since the CCTVs were in random motion and Cheng also calculated that there were many moments that the 3/F CCTV did not capture Chow on tape, some periods being as long as 30 seconds, so missing 8 seconds was considered normal.

In addition, there was still no direct evidence or testimony to confirm how Chow fell and the posture in which he fell. Cheng calculated that Chow had walked at a speed of 1.9m/s prior to his fall, a speed slightly faster than other walks captured on tape (1.8m/s and 1.2m/s), what made Chow walk faster in this walk?

A number of witnesses pointed out that Chow had hit the ground in a horizontal position, and his head was the first contact point with the ground. Expert witness Dr James Kong Kam-fu calculated that Chow’s fall was 0.93s, and after deducting reaction delay time, Chow had 0.23s to react, so perhaps he did not have sufficient time to adjust his posture. However, when Cheng went to the scene on a survey, he calculated that if someone was not distracted, then they would have noticed when they were 0.8m away from the short wall that there was a hollow on the other side, and there was no evidence whether Chow had known there to be a hollow before he approached the wall.

- Mystery surrounding Chow’s posture in fall and if he had been attacked -

In addition, reporters watched the CCTV clip carefully, and noted that at 01:00:16, Chow was on the footbridge going towards Beverly Garden but turned back to the car park suddenly, for unknown reasons. According to video shot by citizens at that time, more than 20 people suddenly rushed from the car park to the footbridge, and said that the police had entered the car park. Chow by this time had already returned to the car park.

Based on observations of clips from multiple CCTVs, from the time that Chow had entered a lift (23:55), he was mostly looking down at his phone, and acted differently from the group of “neighbours” who ran as soon as they encountered tear gas. Chow always seemed to remain calm and composed, walking alone, without talking with any of the “neighbours”. When he lifted his head, he would look around him, paying special attention to those who walked by him.

HK Feature’s journalist had walked from 2/F to 3/F, to where Chow was last seen on CCTV, then walked briskly over to the short wall, and the process required 8-10 seconds; thus it was inferred that if Chow had been attacked before he fell, it must have been down within a few seconds’ time. One thing to note was that there was a fire exit to the left of the short wall, and the clear glass window to the fire exit enabled one to see clearly who was walking up the slope to 3/F, such that if someone was hiding behind the fire door and saw their target passing by, they could rush forth once the target passed by the fire door and then shove the target down. One of the “blind spots” in the case was that there was no CCTV in the emergency exit.

- No CCTV in Lifts or Back Stairwell -

During the inquest, the testimony of the car park’s management company manager said that there weren’t any CCTVs installed in the lifts or back stairwell. Although there were semi-spherical objects that resembled CCTV in the lift, there was no actual camera inside. There was also no camera to capture the environment outside the car park, the sidewalk, or the emergency exits and stairwells, leading to many blind spots in the case.

- Chow’s Final Messages -

The police broke into Chow’s iPad and found that he sent messages to Telegram groups within 15 minutes of his fall. The last message sent by Chow in one group named ““Strolling (Running Late)” was sent at 00:46, the content sent being a photo of the intersection of Tong Chun Street and Tong Ming Street taken from the car park. As for the group “Airplane Guys Group, Hong Kong Nationals”, Chow’s final messages to the group was sent at 00:49, sharing that “and I’m bringing something downstairs”, “to someone”.

Chow’s father last exchanged messages around midnight, but the father noticed that Chow’s final time online had been 01:00, meaning that Chow had been in communication with others on WhatsApp before he died. However, the police failed to unlock Chow’s phone and even the software available to the police was unable to extra any information.

- Hidden Witness, Unknown Conditions on 3/F Prior to Fall -

On the first day of the inquest, Chow’s father had appealed to the public to contact him or the Coroner’s Court if they had any information to share. Although Mr Mung, who had been the first citizen to accompany the firemen to arrive at the scene, had stepped forth, as well as Chui Ka-long, who had seen Chow lying on 2/F from 3/F, provided critical testimonies to the case, there were quite a number of witnesses relevant to the case who did not step forth.

When Chui peered over the short wall on 3/F to find Chow lying on the sidewalk on 2/F, he immediately tried to run over to Chow, and came across a man in a black long-sleeved windbreaker, and Chui led the man to the short wall to show him where Chow had fallen. Chui then ran towards Beverly Garden, while the black-clad man remained on 3/F for a few seconds, then ran back to upper part of 2/F, and came across the firemen patrolling 2/F.

The second critical missing witness was “bicycle man”, who appeared on the scene at about 01:01:13. The man was seen riding a bike from 3/F to upper part of 2/F in the car park, in the direction of Beverly Garden. “Bicycle man” might have been able to describe the conditions on 3/F or who he had seen there in the time before Chow’s fall.

Also, when the court disclosed the final Telegram messages sent by Chow, Coroner Ko also appealed to members of the two groups, that they might have known the whereabouts of Chow that night, and he appealed to them to provide information, but none of them came forth.

- Varied Opinions on Injuries by Doctors -

A&E doctor Ray Leung, who had treated Chow that night, pointed out that Chow could have fallen in an unconscious state, because those injured from a fall usually would use their hands to break the fall, and that there would likely be bone fractures in the limbs, but Chow did not have any injuries on his limbs. However, Coroner Ko reminded the jury that according to forensic pathologist Dr Agnes Kwok Ka-ki had mentioned that Chow had scrapes and bruises on his limbs, and that the A&E doctor might not have paid attention to the injuries.

As for neurosurgeon Dr Calvin Mak Hoi-kwan and expert witness orthopaedic & traumatology specialist Dr James Kong Kam-fu, they both felt that Chow’s fall was very brief, that he might not have had sufficient time to adjust his posture, hence his head became the first point of contact with the ground. Expert witness forensic pathologist Beh Swan-lip also pointed out that one of the possibilities that Chow landed on his head was because Chow’s “fall was very awkward”, that Chow might not have fallen “unconsciously”.

- Missing camera from 3/F of car park -

Mac, a resident of Sheung Tak Estate, told Apple Daily that he had lived in the Estate for years and was familiar with the car park surroundings. However, after reviewing all the media reports of the inquest, there was never any mention of a critical CCTV on 3/F of the car park. Moreover, he noticed last month that the camera had been removed, so he reached out to Chow’s father.

“I always felt that such a big issue would be raised, why would anyone not notice this? Even if it was something pretending to be a CCTV camera, someone would have said something.” The missing camera was located across from the lift on 3/F of the car park, and might have captured the happenings at the lift and the nearby surroundings. Mac felt that the camera was strategically placed, “we could see whether Chow was alone, or if there were any others nearby.”

The court was told that there was no CCTV installed in the lifts, but Mac felt that the 3/F camera, even if it did not capture what happened in the case, could at least prove whether someone had been using the lift. He said that before The Link took over management of the car park, the camera in question had already been installed, and he had seen it last in October 2020, but it had gone missing in December 2020. He was not sure whether the camera was still in operation during the incident, but felt that when the police went to collective from the scene, they should have found the camera.

- Police’s statement incorrect, side door was unlocked -

During the inquest, both the police and a staff at the car park management company testified that the side door connecting Sheung Lai House and 3/F of the car park had been locked, but Mac said that this was not the case. He had passed by the scene on the day after Chow’s incident, and found that the lock on the side door to have fallen. Originally, the door would have been locked with a wooden stick or a metal chain, “(At that time) the door handle had fallen off”, and there was only an electric magnetic lock on the door, “With a tug, the door was basically opened.”

Mac had already told Chow’s father what he knew, but the information was never used in court. He felt that no matter how minute, he needed to tell Chow’s father and the public, “Maybe everyone would think that this information was useless, but when a lot of useless information was combined, they could become very useful. I’m afraid that if I didn’t say it now, no one will remember in the future that there was a camera there.”

The Link told Apple Daily that the camera that Mac mentioned belonged to The Link, but had been replaced by another CCTV system upon completion of the renovations of the car park in 2011 but was not uninstalled. It wasn’t removed until the new round of CCTV improvement project last June, and the camera was not in operation during the incident, so it had never been mentioned.

Court Case No.: CCDI 932/19

(Previous reports of Alex Chow’s coroner’s inquest:
Nov 16: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2807558392794875 
17 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2808862262664488 
Morning, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809716665912381 
Evening, 18 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2809762735907774
20 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2810900489127332
21 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2811485212402193
24 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814205775463470 
25 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2814943872056327
26 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2815776918639689
27 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2816539578563423
28 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2817450118472369
30 Nov: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2819832438234137
1 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2820348868182494
2 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2821158018101579
3 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822159994668048
4 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2822222911328423
Morning, 8 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2825261711024543
14 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830054970545217
Morning, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830558253828222
Afternoon, 15 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2830613760489338
16 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831356790415035
17 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2831891923694855
18 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2832581766959204
19 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2833294216887959
29 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2840491226168258
30 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2841208549429859
31 Dec: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2842671502616897
4 Jan: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2845602595657121
5 Jan: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2846893262194721
9 Jan: https://www.facebook.com/hkcolumn/posts/2849134371970610)

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