Neighbours trapped in flats watched dramatic stand-off on live TV
Residents of Lok Ching House, where alleged gunman Li Tak-yan lived, were divided in their assessments of how police handled the incident
A resident who lived on the same floor as suspected Kowloon Bay gunman Li Tak-yan has recalled how she watched his dramatic stand-off with police, happening just a few doors away, unfold live on television after being told by officers to stay in her flat.
The 10th floor resident of Lok Ching House on the Kai Ching Estate, who gave the surname Lai, said she was not worried about her safety as she watched elite police drop stun grenades into her neighbour’s flat on television.
“It was even louder than the sound of firecrackers,” the woman said on Monday.
But another resident of the building criticised police for not providing any information to residents not living on the 10th floor, saying she had been very frightened and followed the incident on television inside her flat on the 30th floor.
“If the police had given us a set of guidelines we would have been more relieved instead of being so afraid and not knowing what to do,” she said.
The police had made phone calls to those on the 10th floor, asking them to stay inside, but not to the other floors.
A 43-year-old air-conditioner technician, Liu Kai-chung, was shot dead in the lift lobby near his home on the 21st floor of Lok Ching House in Kowloon Bay on Saturday night.
Watch: Police ask reporters to take cover after fresh gunshots heard in Hong Kong apartment tower
The shooting sparked a 12-hour drama, which ended when elite police used stun grenades and tear gas to storm Li’s flat. They found him fatally wounded with a gun by his side; he was later declared dead at a nearby hospital.
On Monday morning, officers were stationed at both the 21st floor and the 10th floor. Several chalk markings could be seen in the corridor of the 21st floor, while officers appeared to be continuing to search the suspect’s flat on the 10th floor. Three police vehicles were parked outside the entrance to Lok Ching House.
Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said the police had struck a balance between not alerting the suspect while protecting the safety of other residents.
He praised officers’ performance and the speed with which they identified the suspect in an interview with RTHK on Monday.
Correction: An earlier version of this article gave the name of the alleged gunman as Lee Tak-yan, the name released by police on Sunday. On Monday evening, police confirmed that the suspect's name is Li Tak-yan.