Inmate at Stanley Prison hangs himself

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 3:14am

An inmate yesterday hanged himself in Stanley Prison, where administrators had been warned by a coroner's court to install windows without bars after a spate of suicides.

A jury at an inquest into five jail suicides in eight months - four of them at Stanley - in May last year recommended the Correctional Services Department to get rid of cell windows with bars, and other measures, to prevent further hanging attempts.

Cheng Ho-yin, 39, who was jailed for 58 months for burglary, hanged himself with a bed sheet from a window frame in his cell. He was certified dead after being rushed to hospital in Chai Wan.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, who is vice-chairman of Legco's security panel, slammed the department for its slow action, saying that it should be held responsible for Cheng's death.

"It is a death trap, as found by the coroner's court. The department was warned but failed fundamentally. It has been more than one year but they are still studying possible ways. It is really horrible," he said.

Another inmate, a 21-year-old man, died after hanging himself from a toilet door hinge with a bed sheet last Friday in Pak Sha Wan Correctional Institution.

A department spokeswoman expressed regret over the death of the two prisoners and said it had set up a committee to follow up the incidents. The cases had been passed to police and an inquest would be called later to examine the causes of death.

The spokeswoman said the department had started a trial of using windows without bars at the 75-year-old maximum-security prison last year, but the ventilation of the cells was affected.

"The department will continue to explore other possible ways to find the best solution," she said.