Inquest likely on maid's death

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 April, 2008, 12:00am

A coronial inquest was 'very likely' to be held into the death of a domestic helper found drowned off Tung Chung pier earlier this month, police indicated last night at a meeting of Discovery Bay owners' committee representatives.

Sources said the meeting was told the case had already been transferred to the coroner's office and it would now be for a judge to decide whether to conduct an inquest.

The meeting was told police had so far interviewed 30 people, including Filipinos and local residents, and spoken by phone to relatives of 31-year-old Vicky Flores in Batangas in the Philippines.

Flores' body was found off Tung Chung pier on April 11. She had been seen running away from her employers' home barefooted and dressed in pyjamas on April 7.

Almost 30 officers, including members of criminal investigation units, had been deployed to the 'continuing investigations', sources said.

Lantau District Commander Chu Fun-wing told the meeting he was personally monitoring the case - including related online chat rooms that had sprung up - and was being assisted by a senior crime officer.

He said that since appealing for witnesses to come forward, police had received 'very good information' about Flores leaving Discovery Bay and going to Tung Chung on the night she was last seen alive.

He repeated that police had still not found any suspicious circumstances around Flores' death.

Earlier yesterday the woman's sister, Irene Flores-Reguis, and a friend collected her belongings from her employers' home in Seabee Lane.

Flores was seen trying to board an airport bus at Tung Chung Development Pier at about 9.15pm, about an hour after running from her home. The driver turned her away because she did not have the fare.

A coalition of concerned people last night discussed progress in their campaign to 'seek justice' for Flores, the youngest of eight children who came to Hong Kong 12 years ago vowing to improve their families' lives.

A migrant women's rights group called on the Philippine legislature to force the consulate in Hong Kong to actively investigate Flores' death and the alleged suicides of two other helpers in a month.

Police have classified the case as 'dead body found' with no suspicious circumstances. 'Postmortem results showed the cause of death was drowning with no superficial injuries being found,' police said.