Date
25 May 2018
CCTV footage (inset) obtained by FactWire showed two people at the scene of a blaze that broke out in the wee hours on April 2 in Yuen Long wetlands. Photos: HKEJ/Screen shot of video clip aired by FactWire
CCTV footage (inset) obtained by FactWire showed two people at the scene of a blaze that broke out in the wee hours on April 2 in Yuen Long wetlands. Photos: HKEJ/Screen shot of video clip aired by FactWire

Video surfaces of witnesses at suspected arson in wetlands area

As police struggle to establish the facts in relation to suspicious fires that broke out recently at a wetland area in the New Territories, a media outlet has secured video footage of one such incident that shows there were at least two witnesses at the scene.

Nam Sang Wai to the north of Yuen Long, an area crisscrossed by the Kam Tin River and Shan Pui River and which has high ecological value, saw three fires break out in March and one in early April.

Police launched investigations into the incidents but are yet to come up with answers or evidence with regard to the suspected arson attacks.

While authorities appeared to have made no progress on the investigations, FactWire, a Hong Kong-based investigative news agency, on Tuesday unveiled CCTV footage that suggests there were two witnesses to the wetlands fire that erupted early this month.

In the clip obtained by the non-profit media outlet, one person can be seen emerging from a village on the other side opposite to a ferry pier that caught fire in the wee hours on April 2.

The man is seen standing and watching the fire for about one minute before he turns back and leaves. The time stamp on the video clip shows the man’s presence at the scene at around 4.30 am.

Then at around 5:24 am that same morning, another person was caught by the footage, also on the same side of the river, looking at the pier fire across the river. He appeared to be talking on a phone, before he leaves about three minutes later.

Firemen did not arrive at the scene until 6:33 am. As the blaze was put out, officers saw a boat burnt down to its hull.

Police did not find any witnesses or evidence that could help pinpoint the blame for the fire.

Officers said they were unable to secure CCTV evidence as they found that security cameras in the area had not been functioning.

The cameras had not been recording anything since March 11 as their storage devices had run out of capacity, police said.

But now footage has emerged of the incident, leaving the police in an awkward situation. 

It has become apparent that some people had witnessed the fire but no one reported the matter to the police.

Questioned by the news agency, police said crime squad (3) of the Yuen Long Police District has been actively investigating the fire and that no one has been arrested so far.

It did not go into details or elaborate on the matter pertaining to security cameras.

Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong Chun-yu urged the police to provide an explanation to the public, given the discrepancy between the police’s claim of lack of CCTV evidence and the footage obtained by FactWire.

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TL/JC/RC

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