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Posts Tagged ‘Coroner’s Office’

A representative of the Philippine Consulate wrote to the Coroner’s Court recently, asking whether a decision has been made about an inquest into Vicky’s death. Since then, numerous follow up calls have not yielded any information.

As we know from our experience in helping other people who are facing the court system in Hong Kong, the process can be excruciatingly slow. A serious assualt case can take six months or more to reach the District Court. This is often due to the sheer number of cases pending, and we don’t rule out that possibility in relation to the Coroner’s Court.

However, it does does seem typical of Vicky’s case that respsonses from the authorities are very slow in coming and somewhat unhelpful when they arrive.

We will relay any further information as soon as it becomes available.

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A representative of the Philippine Consulate here in Hong Kong has finally contacted the Coroner’s Office, inquiring about whether an inquest will be held into Vicky’s disappearance and death. The Coroner is apparently still considering the case.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates when they come to hand.

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We still have no news about whether the Coroner will order an inquest into Vicky’s death. As that decision will necessarily be made without public consultation, we will only know of the outcome after the fact or if any information is leaked to the newspapers.

In the meantime, and presuming that the police have not identified a crime in their report, the following information from the Judiciary’s website indicates that an inquest “may” be held when a person dies:

  • suddenly
  • by accident
  • by violence
  • under suspicious circumstances
  • and when the dead body of a person is found in or brought into Hong Kong

The Coroner’s Ordinance of 1997 (Chapter 504 of the Laws of Hong Kong) indicates that the first 4 categories are conditional. In other words, the death can happen suddenly, or by accident, or by violence or under suspicious circumstances, as long as the body is found in or brought to Hong Kong.

At least 1 of the first 4 conditions (suspicious circumstances) is met in Vicky’s case.

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The Justice for Vicky concern group has written another letter to the Tung Chung police, copied to the Coroner’s Office. The letter, delivered by fax yesterday, 23 June, asked for or requested the consideration of information pertinent to the early stages of the police investigation into Vicky’s disappearance and death.

An important point to note is that Vicky’s sister Irene was one of the signatories to the letter. The letter asked:

  • Whether a water sample was taken to determine if Vicky died where she was found
  • As the autopsy report gives no indication, whether the police can estimate the length of time Vicky’s body was in the water before discovery
  • As Irene noticed lacerations on Vicky’s left foot that weren’t mentioned in the autopsy report, whether the police or Coroner have any photographic evidence to confirm or refute this
  • Whether members of Vicky’s family can obtain copies of any photographs of Vicky’s body taken where it was found
  • Whether Vicky’s body was found face up or down (this could indicate an error in the finding of death by drowning)
  • Whether it is possible or likely that a van could have been parked overnight in the parking lot adjacent to the ferry pier in Tung Chung
  • Whether the police were aware that the posters calling for information about Vicky’s death around the ferry pier have all been torn down
  • Why the police took into consideration the statement of an un-named decoration worker in the flat beside Vicky’s employers’ that there had been no audible disturbances in the 2 days leading up to Vicky’s disappearance but seemingly ignored a neighbour’s statement that he heard “hysterical screaming” coming from the vicinity 3 days before the woman disappeared

This last point is very significant because it highlights our concern that the police have not sufficiently considered Vicky’s environment before she disappeared.

Any reply from the police or the Coroner’s Office will be reported here.

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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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