Inquest begins into death of Hong Kong taxi driver who was put in headlock by police


Hong Kong’s Coroner’s Court has began examining whether police used reasonable force in putting a 65-year-old taxi driver in a headlock during his arrest a month before he died of complications from a neck injury.

Security footage played in court showed Chan Fai-wong was lifted from the ground into a police van on November 11, 2012 with a plain-clothes officer’s arm around his neck, while another uniformed officer carried both of his legs.

The driver reported experiencing neck pain and fatigue a day after he was sent to hospital, and died on December 12, 2012.

An autopsy found his underlying heart disease impaired his cardiopulmonary function, which together with his neck injury that left him bedridden, caused him to contract bronchitis that eventually killed him.

Widow of Hong Kong man who died during fitness class sues gym chain Fitness First

On the first of a 10-day inquest that began on Tuesday, Chan’s eldest daughter, Chan Ying-hong, questioned how he could have been so injured while her mother cried and retired from court after watching the video.

Coroner Ada Yim Shun-yee said the five jurors will have to consider whether police had applied reasonable force during the arrest and determine what had caused Chan’s neck injury.

They will also have to think about why the neck injury was only discovered the day after, and if that was Chan’s cause of death, she said.

Senior public prosecutor Derek Wong Chun-hin said in opening his case that it was an orthopedic’s expert opinion that Chan’s injury was caused during his struggle with the police while he was carried into the van.

The court heard Chan had been arrested minutes earlier after he was accused of assaulting a Japanese passenger during a dispute over taxi fares outside a toll station at the Kowloon side of the West Harbour Tunnel.

Closed-circuit television footage seized from the station showed the Japanese man got out of the car and tapped the bonnet, before Chan chased after him. The two men fell to the ground after a tunnel staff member tried to separate them but failed.

A toll station staff member recalled hearing a “boom” when the three men fell to the ground, and saw that Chan’s fingers were bleeding when he returned to his car.

Police constable Ma Chun-hong said he arrested Chan for assault after the Japanese passenger complained the driver had hit him in the head and put an arm around his neck.

The officer testified that Chan resisted the arrest and refused to board the police van after he was handcuffed.

Hong Kong police lose three officers in one day in separate events involving overseas crash, collapse while on duty and fall from housing block

But he claimed that Chan did not complain about any pain when he agreed to an officer’s suggestion to be sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

An MRI scan revealed that Chan’s cervical vertebrae had been dislocated.

Chan’s daughter recalled that he had complained about being assaulted by police when officers finally notified the family two days after he was admitted to hospital.

She testified to visiting multiple police officers demanding an investigation into her father’s complaint, but was told that they would not look into the matter.

Instead, an officer accompanied her to visit Chan and informed them that police had closed case on the complaint lodged by his Japanese passenger.

The inquest continues.

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2018.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

   

Next In Regional

Uptick in Covid-19 cases should be expected over the next few days with more self-testing being done, deputy Health DG
AstraZeneca second dose doesn't raise risk of rare blood clots
Covid-19: Record daily high of 17,405 cases bring total to 1,061,476
Mustapa: Lack of integrity in institutions impacts economic growth
SME's contribution to GDP down 7.3% in 2020
Nine new communication towers help improve internet access in Sabah
June exports surge past RM105b, boost from trade with China, US
Covid-19: Over 26 million vaccine doses received from govt procurement, foreign contributions, says Khairy
Esszone curfew to be extended to Aug 13, says Sabah police chief
Olympic host Tokyo hits record 2,848 COVID-19 cases, seeks more hospital beds

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers