Hong Kong kitchen worker in fatal street fight acquitted of manslaughter

Jury finds accused not guilty; judge tells Lam Kwok-keung, 45, to ‘control your emotions’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 12:05pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 12:07pm

A kitchen worker accused of putting a drunk man in a chokehold and punching his head in a fatal street fight was acquitted by a High Court jury on Wednesday.

Lam Kwok-keung, 35, had earlier pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

The seven-member jury acquitted him unanimously of that charge and also found him not guilty of wounding by a 5-2 vote.

Mr Justice Patrick Li Hon-leung said the incident was unfortunate and tragic.

“You have to control your emotions,” the judge told Lam.

The court earlier heard that Lam quarrelled with Poon Chi-chiu outside a restaurant on Tsat Tsz Mui Road, North Point, on October 13, 2014.

Kitchen worker allegedly hit man on head in fatal Hong Kong street fight, court told

The kitchen worker allegedly punched Poon in the head five times before the man fell to the ground. He died nine days later. Video footage of the incident filmed by a passer-by and played during the trial showed Poon’s head hitting the ground.

Taxi driver Tsang Chiu-chun testified on the first day of the trial that he had heard the two men engaged in name-calling.

“Hit me if you dare,” the cabbie said he heard Poon say.

Tsang then saw Lam put his arm around the other man’s neck and punch his head. Poon then fell, with the back of his head hitting the road, the court heard.

“[Poon] seemed to have lost consciousness after he fell,” the taxi driver said.

Lam then left in a car with a companion, Tsang said.