Coroner said not suicide; who killed Vietnamese male Le Van Muoi in Hong Kong prison?
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
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This is important and serious. I have yet to see any English source for this news, so I've translated the article from Apple Daily. How's the mods let's this stay up.
The homeless person, Le Van Muoi Le Van Muoi, who was assaulted by the police in Sham Shui Po early this year, was found dead in his prison cell on 9th October after being arrested for possession of drugs.
Staffs from Correctional Service Department (CSD) claimed that Muoi committed suicide by hanging himself using his long pants. However, just like the numerous "not suspicious" deaths in the past year, the case is very problematic.
Muoi's death came very suddenly.
Timothy Lam, the priest who was assisting Muoi explained that he had no signs of suicide when he went to visit him earlier. When Lam tried to claim Muoi's body with 3 other family members, they were met with 3 police and 4 CSD staffs. He then called legislative councilor, Shiu Ka Chun to the scene. In a normal case, there would be police to assist the claiming process, but usually, there won't be this many police officers. During the claiming process, they were even asked to go to the police station to record statements at one point.
Lam also explained that the pathologist in charge of the autopsy told him that Muoi did not commit suicide.
This claim is further supported by one of the CSD staffs that Muoi was held in a highly guarded cell with CCTV and is unlikely that he killed himself. Shiu further explained that at the time of Muoi's death, the prisons have yet to change their clothings to winter clothings. This means that Muoi wouldn't have had long pants in the first place.
In an interview with Apple Daily, Lam explained that Muoi looked peaceful in his death. However, the pathologist in charge of the autopsy told him that Muoi, 2 days before he died, had weird behaviours, including pushing his congee away. However, Lam explained that the behaviour does not prove that Muoi had any psychological problems.
The pathologist explained that Muoi's cause of death is suffocation by long pants, not suicide.
A CSD staff at the scene also confirmed that the room had CCTV to monitor the situation and that a staff will patrol it every 15 minutes. On the scene, the CSD staffs have changed their saying and now only claim that Muoi tied a pair of long pants to his head.
However, the police on the scene insisted that the case is "not suspicious".
Regarding being asked to record a statement at the police station, Lam explained when they were doing the paperwork at the counter, two police interrogated them, despite so, they did it in a nice manner in general. He believes that they are from the Tuen Mun police station criminal investigation team. After that, 4 other CSD staffs arrived, looking more worrisome, but they only observed and did not interrogate. The police initially claimed that they need Lam to record a statement at the police station, but then changed their stance after he completed the body claiming process, explaining that the statement is done and he only had to sign it.
However, Lam found that the police had edited the statement by adding in phrases describing Muoi such as "being not satisfied with life" and "has self harmed in the prison cell".
Lam explained that he had never said it and he does not agree that Muoi was suicidal.
Although Muoi was introverted, he was nice and had a lot of experience in prison, "he had also been sleeping on the streets for years, he is tough and overcome any kind of difficulties and that is why none of those who know him believes that he would kill himself. However Lam restated that it is important to wait for the coroner's verdict, he hopes that the court will play the CCTV of the prison.
In another interview, Shiu explained that Lam and the 3 family members arrived the place at 8:45am. When he arrived the scene, there were 3 police and 4 CSD staffs. The police's used different excuses such as "background check" in an attempt to lure them back to the police station. The group was only allowed to actually claim the body at 10:30am.
Shiu explained that normally, only a pathologist and a police would be at the scene to take simple information and it is rare to have so many people. The process normally does not delay or intervene with the claiming process.
Shiu questions the intentions of the police and CSD staffs.
References: Apple Daily