Jail race guide row 'led by Big Spender'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 December, 1998, 12:00am

'Big Spender' Cheung Tze-keung masterminded a 1995 prisoners' protest against a ban on racing papers in jails, it was claimed yesterday.

The protest brought a temporary High Court victory against the Correctional Services Department.

Sources said Cheung carried out and may even have funded the action after serving three years in Stanley Prison before winning his appeal against robbery and bribery convictions in 1995.

On learning that prisoners were banned from reading racing sections in newspapers they subscribed to with their own money, Cheung suggested after being freed that they should write protest letters to legislators.

Lawmakers James To Kun-sun, deputy chairman of the security panel, and Emily Lau Wai-hing received dozens of letters from Stanley inmates.

The dispute escalated when prisoner Chim Shing-chung succeeded in having the ban ruled unlawful by a High Court judge in a November 1995 test case.

But in August 1996, the Court of Appeal rejected the High Court decision.

Documentaries featuring prisoners who have attempted suicide will be made as part of a plan to combat stress among new inmates.

Several prisoners who tried to hang themselves but were rescued by wardens have agreed to take part in the programmes planned by the Correctional Services Department.

The films will be shown to new arrivals in an effort to help them adjust to prison life.

This year, seven prisoners have killed themselves and 80 have tried to. Last year, the figures were four and 70.