A police constable is likely to face prosecution after he was found to have unlawfully killed a taxi driver during an arrest nearly six years ago.
In 3-2 vote by five jurors after a six-hour-long deliberation, the Coroner’s Court on Wednesday ruled that Chan Fai-wong, then 64, was the victim of an unlawful killing by police constable Lam Wai-wing, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Asked for comments about the ruling, Chan’s wife only managed to say, “Thank you.” It would have been Chan’s 71st birthday on Wednesday.
The court heard earlier that Chan was arrested in November 2012 after he allegedly assaulted a Japanese tourist during a fare dispute at the Western Harbour Tunnel Toll Plaza.
Lam was one of the responding officers at the scene to deal with the incident.
CCTV footage shows a police officer wrapping his arm around Chan’s neck as the taxi driver was dragged on a police van.
Chan was later brought to the hospital and was found suffering from cervical dislocation and paralysis. He died in the hospital a month after receiving treatment.
The court said the police force should strengthen training for officers on how to arrest and handle suspects, install surveillance cameras with sound-recording functions on their vehicles, notify the suspect’s family immediately after an arrest unless the suspect refuses, and notify as soon as possible medical staff of any potential injuries a suspect may have suffered during an arrest.
It is understood that the Regional Crime Unit of Kowloon West will follow up on the case, submit evidence and testimonies to the Department of Justice, and seek its advice.
If the department decides to prosecute Lam, the constable may face arrest and suspension from work.
Calling the case of unlawful killing rare, Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, deputy chairman of the Legislative Council’s security panel, said there is a chance that Lam will be formally prosecuted.
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