Lawmakers to be given access to Lamma report

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 May, 2014, 4:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 May, 2014, 4:02am

Lawmakers will be allowed to read a redacted version of the Marine Department's internal investigation report into the Lamma ferry tragedy - provided they sign a confidentiality agreement, the Transport and Housing Bureau says.

In a document submitted to the Legislative Council yesterday, the bureau said "sufficient copies" of the report would be left with the Legco Secretariat for a certain period of time, which it did not specify. Lawmakers would be able to read the report "in a secure venue" after signing a confidentiality agreement. They would not be able to make copies of the report and any discussion in Legco would be closed-door.

The move comes after Legco's economic development panel passed a motion last month demanding that lawmakers be allowed to view the report under a confidentiality agreement.

A summary of the 430-page report, which accuses 17 officials up to directorate level of misconduct, was released last month.

The report also pinpointed "serious systematic failings" across the department, saying internal communication was weak and records poorly kept.

The collision between two passenger vessels off Lamma Island on October 1, 2012, claimed 39 lives. Victims' families have demanded the report be released in full, but the government says that would jeopardise criminal and disciplinary proceedings.

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung on Thursday advised the relatives to take civil action to view the full report.

The bureau said it would give lawmakers access to the report as it respected the function of Legco. Certain parts of the report would be redacted "in order to comply with the mandatory requirements under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance" and other legal requirements, it said.

Lawmaker James To Kun-sun said he would seek clarification of what would be made available before he signed any agreement.

The bureau said if the families decided to try civil proceedings to see the report, it would be made available to them and the lawmakers at about the same time.

Yuen said on Thursday that Marine Department officials implicated in the tragedy could face prosecution in six months.