Night of terror haunts warder

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 12:00am

Prison officer To Kam-biu told yesterday how he was coshed with metal bars by rioting inmates in what he described as his most frightening night in more than 20 years' service.

Assistant officer To, 44, who suffered injuries to his head and arm, said he was still living in the shadow of the attack 10 days after the June 4 riot at Hei Ling Chau.

'It was perhaps the most frightening night in my more than 20 years' service,' Mr To said.

Armed with a baton and shield, he said he was assigned at around 8pm with about 10 other disciplinary officers to guard the more than 100 inmates near the cell where the Vietnamese inmates were taking shelter from an attack by prisoners.

'The inmates broke our line,' he recalled. 'As I tried to run to take shelter, I saw inmates running after and attacking a police officer by throwing stones at him.

'I decided to wait for him as I was afraid that he didn't know the way to take shelter. As I waited for him I was hit on the head and arm by inmates armed with metal bars.

'I have no regrets about staying behind as I think I did the right thing. Otherwise the officer could have been injured even more seriously. If I were allowed to experience the same situation again, I'd still opt to wait for him,' Mr To said.

The father of three was taken to hospital and given five stitches for a wound to his head.

He said he was still living in the shadow of the attack. 'I went shopping with my wife at a shopping mall and saw two young people fighting each other with umbrellas. My hair stood on end for 15 seconds.'