Hong Kong Coroner’s Court ruled the death of a homeless man while in the custody of the Correctional Services Department (CSD) to be a case of suicide on Friday.
Five jurors unanimously found the deceased committed suicide. According to the forensic report, the deceased “intermittently strangled himself with his trousers.” The causes of death are in the order of neck pressurisation, self-strangulation and coronary atherosclerotic heart disease. In directing the jury, Coroner Raymund Chow stated that the evidence only pointed to suicide. If the jury did not find beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased committed suicide, then the jury could only conclude an open verdict.
The jury suggested that only four officers in the admission wards are inadequate. The jury also indicated that the CSD should consider adding assistants to the current admission wards in the Psychiatric Centre. Additionally, the jury suggested that the CSD ensure that the officers inspect the wards in person every 15 minutes instead of merely observing video surveillance. Lastly, the jury suggested that the CSD should also install extra monitors for better observation of video surveillance. Former social welfare legislator Shiu Ka-chun was disappointed by the ruling as the court found no one was accountable for the lack of human resources and the poor video surveillance quality in the CSD.
In February 2020, eight police officers allegedly assaulted homeless people, including the deceased, and damaged their properties. Local news outlet inmedia.hk also reported that the officers allegedly falsely accused the deceased of possession of drugs. The charge was later dropped in May. Currently, the officers are being charged with “doing an act or a series of acts tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice.” The trial is scheduled for January 2024.
The deceased was later charged with possession of drugs again in September 2020. He was kept in Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre for his previous self-destructive behaviour during detentions. The deceased was found dead in a protection cell later on October 9, 2020.