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Archive for May, 2008

The Filipino Globe article that we recently criticised for adding to the ‘occult-link’ accusations surrounding Vicky’s disappearance and death is available online. Given that we mention in it the letter on our Thorough Investigation? page, it seems only fair that we link to the full article as well.

To access the Globe‘s May issue you will need a Flash player installed in your browser, which is fairly common. The article begins on the front page and concludes on page two. The toolbar at the top of the Flash player will allow you to zoom into the page, and switch between pages.

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We thank everyone who has left comments here, especially in the last few days. Our policy is to allow all comments regardless of whether they agree or disagree with anything we have posted. Please feel free to write about the situation, or criticise our coverage if you feel that is warranted.

Blog administrator Mike Poole answers specific questions by email if he has any information to give, but he currently has no information that hasn’t already been posted here.

As a group, including the Discovery Bay residents named in earlier posts, Vicky’s sister Irene, her aunt Edith, Bethune House and the Mission for Filipino Migrant Workers, we feel it important to provide coverage of every significant thing we do in relation to Vicky’s disappearance and death. Hence, the recent inclusion of the letter to the police Chief Inspector on a separate page.

That page, and the letter itself, also reflect our growing belief in the need to discuss wider issues associated not only with migrant worker deaths in Hong Kong, but also with the conditions of employment and general attitudes toward domestic helpers here. As James Rice mentioned at the Rally for Vicky in Admiralty on 27 April, a recently revised electronic version of his handbook on migrant worker rights will be posted here soon.

When we have less to post about Vicky’s case, the blog will be opened to multiple authors for broader coverage or rights-related issues.

Our concern is that people like Vicky be treated fairly under the law, in life as in death. Unfortunately, our recent experience has shown that there is still much inequality in the pursuit of justice in Hong Kong.

We realise that our position will not please all readers, but the Internet is a very democratic arena. Please feel free to register your displeasure or support as a comment. If you fundamentally disagree with us, blogging software is free to use.

The more that these issues are discussed, the better.

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Vicky’s sister Irene has almost finalised her tasks in the Philippines and has informed us that she will be returning to Hong Kong next week. While she is here she will follow up the police investigation, initiate the recovery of outstanding salary and long-service payments from Vicky’s former employers, and seek the release of the toxicology test results.

Any significant news in relation to these activities will be reported here as it becomes available.

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As promised yesterday, our letter to the Tung Chung police objecting to their handling of Vicky’s case is now online, in a separate page. You can access it through the link here or the tab at the top of this page entitled ‘A Thorough Investigation?’

The letter contains details of the police investigation that some people might not be familiar with. Over the next few days we will index it with a simple menu at the beginning so readers can easily go to specific parts, if they wish.

In the meantime, we urge everyone who is concerned about Vicky’s disappearance and death, and the ensuing police investigation, to read the letter in full.

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The police investigation into Vicky’s disappearance and death has taken an alarming and seemingly unwarranted turn. Earlier today, the Justice for Vicky Flores concern group, Vicky’s sister Irene, Bethune House and the Mission for Filipino Migrant Workers faxed a very detailed letter of complaint to the North Lantau police.

Copies of the 10 page letter were forwarded to the Coroner’s Office and the government Ombudsman.

The letter outlines our reaction to the meeting between police representatives, Irene and her supporters at the Lantau District Headquarters last Monday, 19 May. Although we appreciate the time and effort the police are expending on the case, the direction of their enquiries is unacceptable.

The police seem to be of the opinion that Vicky was somehow susceptible to occult beliefs, and that she could well have been erratic and irrational. They base this on little evidence, and in doing so confirm our serious concern about their capacity to conduct a thorough investigation into Vicky’s disappearance and death.

The letter also covers other aspects of the situation, such as the general state of relations between migrant workers in Discovery Bay and the police, the manner in which Vicky’s former employers are attempting to evade her outstanding salary and long-service payments, and the difficulty that Vicky’s family faced in obtaining a copy of the partial autopsy report.

A separate, hyperlinked page containing the letter in full will be added to this blog tomorrow.

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For those of you who are yet to see the print version or are living outside of Hong Kong, the Sun newspaper included a balanced and informative interview with Vicky’s sister Irene in its mid-May edition. The article quotes Irene as asking the still obvious questions:

Bakit siya natatakot? Sino’ng kinatatakutan niya? Iyon ang dapat imbestigahang mabuti . . .

[Why was she scared? Who was she running from? That’s what they need to investigate properly . . .]

We reported earlier that the police ensured Irene they were 100% committed to investigating her sister’s death. But we are now very concerned with the direction of that investigation.

Up-to-date details on the outcome of the meeting between Irene, members of the Justice for Vicky concern group and the police District Commander will be posted here tomorrow.

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Vicky’s aunt Edith reports that the autopsy conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation in the Philippines has delivered a similar finding to that conducted in Hong Kong: death by drowning. However, two minor points should be mentioned.

The Philippine authorities found a small, superficial mark on Vicky’s neck that was not reported in Hong Kong. They also estimated that the body had been in the water for 5 days, and not the 4 reported in Hong Kong.

Neither of these two findings are likely to be significant. The superficial mark is not a wound – although we will report confirmation of that as soon as we have it. The length of time in the water is problematic because it seems to place Vicky’s death a day before she was seen fleeing her employers’ house. Again, we will confirm the estimated time as soon as we can.

Perhaps even more important than these two discrepancies, the second autopsy has shown that the process doesn’t take very long. Autopsy results can be given quickly, and the Hong Kong Coroner’s Office clearly stalled in releasing the partial report here.

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