I feared for my life, says officer

Policeman who shot dead gangster after chopping attack tells inquest of drama

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 August, 2013, 5:07am

A traffic policeman said yesterday he was acting in self-defence when he shot dead a gangster on a busy Kowloon street during a brutal chopping attack.

Yip Ling-fai was testifying at an inquest into the death of Kwok Wing-kei, 36, in Castle Peak Road in May last year.

Kwok was part of a gang that hacked at a man with knives and was killed by a single shot to his back, the court heard.

Yip, who joined the police force in 2006, said that he was patrolling on the morning of May 11 when he saw a car parked on the road.

Three or four masked men got out and started slashing at another man identified as Wong Kwong-kai, nicknamed "Fat Kai".

Yip said he shouted several times for the gang to stop the attack but they ignored him.

As Kwok was about to get back into the car after the attack "he turned around slightly, with the knife in his right hand", Yip said.

The policeman said he was standing one metre behind Kwok and opened fire because he feared for his life.

"I felt my life was at risk," Yip said. "My warnings were all in vain."

He was still aiming his gun at Kwok, waiting for help from his colleagues, after the man fell to the ground.

Wong was slashed several times on his limbs and spent more than 20 days in hospital, the court heard.

He was leaving Tai Po King Restaurant with his friends when Kwok and the other gangsters launched the assault, he said.

"I don't know the deceased," Wong said. "I don't know why he attacked me."

Tsoi Yik-mau, one of Wong's friends who was at the scene, told the court: "[Kwok] raised the knife and turned right, with an intention to chop the policeman."

Kwok's father, Kwok Chor-chiu, asked why his son was shot in the back. The court heard that police officers were trained to shoot at the trunk of their target, instead of the limbs.

Yip said the police force had no instructions barring officers from opening fire when they stood behind their targets.

Officers received shooting training every three months and were tested every year.

The inquest continues today before Coroner June Cheung Tin-ngan.