Paramedics arrived late at HK car park where student was gravely injured in fall, witness tells inquest

25-Nov-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:51 AM Print This Post

Paramedics were late in arriving at the multistorey car park where a university student had sustained fatal injuries near a protest in Hong Kong last year, a witness suggested at an inquest on Monday.

Tseung Kwan O resident Ricky Mung Wai-kit said medical workers from the Fire Services Department arrived at the Sheung Tak Estate car park nearly half an hour after he found an unconscious Alex Chow Tsz-lok lying face-down on the building’s second floor in the early hours of November 4, 2019.

Chow, a 22-year-old university student, suffered serious head injuries in a fall and later died in hospital.

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The Coroner’s Court heard on Monday that Mung spotted the student at around 1.03am, shortly after a policeman fired a tear gas round into the same level at the other end of the car park in a bid to disperse protesters who were hurling glass bottles and traffic cones at officers.

Mung said he was chatting with other residents on a nearby footbridge when a teenager ran past him desperately calling for help.

He and other residents went to search the car park and found Chow lying on a pavement close to the railings on the second storey.

“[Chow] had fallen flat on the ground… with his knees slightly bent,” Mung said, describing his initial impression of the scene. “He had put his hands beneath his waist and thighs, in a position that gave me the impression he had tried to stand up.”

Photos and videos taken by Mung showed that Chow was first tended to by two firefighters shortly after he was discovered, and that several first aid volunteers came to offer assistance about 10 minutes later.

Mung recalled more than 20 riot police officers conducting a sweep of the car park subsequently walked past, with some coming forward and yelling at the crowd surrounding the student.

Mung shouted back: “Save the person first!” The officers, he said, soon left.

Paramedics from the Fire Services Department only arrived at 1.29am, according to the timestamp on one of Mung’s videos.

When Mung and other residents at the scene questioned the medical technicians’ perceived late arrival, a firefighter treating Chow said the paramedics had in fact been summoned to the scene for unspecified “other duties”, which were not revealed in Monday’s hearing.

Mung acknowledged he did not call police after finding Chow, as he had believed the situation was already under the control of the firefighters who were first to respond. The court did not hear on Monday who called police about Chow, or when a report was made.

Mung also testified that he did not see anyone chasing others or hear any strange sounds inside the car park prior to finding Chow. He also did not notice any pungent smell, such as that of tear gas, in the area where Chow was found.

Chow, a Year Three computer science student at the University of Science and Technology, died in hospital on November 8 last year due to severe head injuries. It remains unclear how and why he fell from one floor to another, as CCTV footage at the car park did not fully capture his movements that night.

Mung said outside the court that he had volunteered to give evidence in court after Chow’s father, Chow Tak-ming, issued a public appeal urging witnesses to provide extra clues to the investigation.

The elder Chow made a further appeal on Monday, calling for people who had been in the car park or its vicinity to offer more information to the inquest.

The inquest, slated to last 25 days, will continue on Tuesday.


Category: Hong Kong

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