Quadriplegic thinks about how to kill himself every day

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 August, 2009, 12:00am

'People die every day. When will it be my turn?' That is the question wheelchair-bound Choi Wan-fung has asked himself each day for the past 16 years.

The 57-year-old quadriplegic spends most of his time lying in bed, watching the world from his windows and counting the birds flying across the sky.

'I pray every day,' he said. 'I pray that I can kill myself with the strength I have left.'

Mr Choi knows that euthanasia is illegal in Hong Kong, but would still like to meet Australian euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke while he is in town.

'Those who oppose euthanasia are stupid,' Mr Choi said. 'They think they are being humane, but if they had suffered as I have, they would probably be more eager to die than I am.'

Mr Choi fell down an escalator in a shopping centre in Heng Fa Chuen in December 1993, leaving him paralysed in all four limbs.

He has been living in a small public-housing flat in Tsui Lok Estate, Chai Wan, with a domestic helper to care for him. His mother died four years ago and his two brothers had not visited him for many years, he said.

'There was still some fun in life when my mum was alive. Now I have neither friends nor family, but only endless pain in every part of my body. So what's the point of living?'

Over the past decade, Mr Choi's condition has worsened. His right hand, which could pick up chopsticks years ago, now cannot hold a glass of water. And his legs and hipbones have become seriously deformed, making it uncomfortable to sit up.

'It's so painful. When I'm in my wheelchair my body is burning. It's like sitting in hot oil. Today, I went to the bank. It's just a short trip, but it nearly killed me,' he said.

For Mr Choi, the only way to end all the suffering is to end his life. 'I think about how to kill myself every day. But it would not be easy with my disability.'