Policeman dies in fall while tackling protest on bridge

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 June, 2011, 12:00am


A policeman died yesterday after falling from the roof of a covered walkway in Central as he tried to reach a chicken trader who had climbed onto an adjacent footbridge to protest against government officials.

Detective Sergeant Lau Chi-kin, 49, is believed to have slipped on a rain-soaked section of the walkway and fallen four metres onto a first-floor podium in Exchange Square. He suffered serious head and chest injuries and died in Queen Mary Hospital, surrounded by his family.

The protester, Lau Yuk-tong, 62, whose business went bust after a bird flu scare in 2008, caused rush-hour traffic chaos. Roads were closed after he climbed onto the covered walkway shortly before 9am and unfurled a banner.

His actions prompted an immediate police response, which involved the officer. The detective sergeant, a 30-year veteran of the force, was married with a 20-year-old daughter.

Central district commander Felix Law Cheuk-hung, Lau's commanding officer, said: 'He suffered serious brain injuries and chest bone fractures. We urge protesters to consider the safety of themselves and others. We would like to express sympathy towards his family.'

It was not the first time the former chicken trader had staged such a stunt. Last month he threatened to jump from Ting Kau Bridge.

His protest on the footbridge across Connaught Road Central between Jardine House and Chater House lasted almost three hours. He hung a banner blaming the food and health secretary, Dr York Chow Yat-ngok, for his sufferings. He wandered along the roof while negotiators talked to him. At times he became emotional and stood on the edge.

A rescue cushion was inflated below and three lanes on the westbound side of Connaught Road Central were closed. Traffic tailed back to North Point and Sheung Wan.

His protest finally ended at around noon when one of six firemen on the roof jumped and grabbed him. He was arrested for causing a public nuisance and later released on bail.