HK protests: student who suffered fatal injuries in car park fall last year was alone at the time of accident, court hears

03-Dec-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A Hong Kong university student who suffered fatal injuries near an anti-government demonstration site last year was alone in a multistorey car park shortly before he fell from one floor there to another, a policeman involved in the investigation told an inquest on Tuesday.

The Coroner’s Court also heard that on the night Alex Chow Tsz-lok was found lying unconscious on the second floor of the car park, two people had attempted to jump over a short concrete wall on the verge of the building’s third floor, but stopped at the last moment.

Investigators played in the court security footage of the Sheung Tak Estate car park in Tseung Kwan O in the small hours of November 4, 2019, showing Chow’s movement inside the building before the fall, as well as the moments when the two unidentified men attempted to jump off the building.

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Chow, a 22-year-old student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, died in hospital four days later. It remains unclear how he fell, as no security camera was able to capture his actions right before the mishap.

In the previous proceedings, the court heard firefighters found Chow on a path on the second floor on the northeast end of the car park at 1.06am, five minutes after he was last caught on security cameras.

During that period, police officers were dispersing protesters at a nearby demonstration site by firing tear gas rounds and other anti-riot ammunition. Five rounds of tear gas were targeted at the car park.

Pavements were built on the four sides of the car park’s second floor, separated from the parking spaces by short concrete walls. Several residents caught on camera that night were seen climbing over the wall to reach the pavements, instead of getting around it.

The car park’s third floor, however, had a different layout, with taller concrete walls on all sides and no pavements behind the walls.

Security footage showed Chow leaving his residence at Beverly Garden at 23.54pm the previous day, and entering the car park’s second floor via a footbridge at 12.25am.

He was seen roaming around the car park between 12.39am and 1am, looking around and tapping his smartphone. He then briefly returned to the adjacent Beverly Garden, before moving back to the car park at 1.01am.

Chow was last spotted by a camera installed at the car park’s pedestrian entrance on the second floor at 1.01.39am, when he was apparently walking to the third floor along the vehicle lane.

Detective Senior Constable Ngai Kwun-kit, who was tasked with reviewing security footage and sorting out the orders of events that night, said Chow might have fallen from the third floor at around 1.01.47am, when a camera on the lower floor spotted an abnormal change in the light around the area where Chow was found.

The officer concluded that Chow was alone on the third floor of the building during the eight seconds in question. He also did not find anyone pursuing Chow inside the car park that night.

Coroner Ko Wai-hung told the five-member jury: “We estimate the time of the fall to be between 1.01am and 1.06am.”

Meanwhile, a camera on the third floor revealed that at 12.53am that night, a man in a blue shirt had attempted to jump over the concrete wall on the northwest end of the car park, but stopped when he found there was no place to stand beyond the barrier.

Then at 1.59am, a white-clad man jumped over the wall from a similar position and was about to fall, but managed to hold on to it and climbed up.

Investigators have been unable to contact the two men concerned.

The inquest, slated for 25 days, will continue on Wednesday.


Category: Hong Kong

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