Man acquitted of drug trafficking sues Hong Kong police for more than HK$3.9m over ‘planted evidence’
Writ says computer technician Lam Wai-ip, 51, who was detained for over a year, had no pockets on him the day police claimed they found drugs in his pockets
A 51-year-old computer technician accused of drug trafficking and detained for more than a year before being acquitted, is suing the police for more than HK$3.9 million over evidence he claims, they planted on him, a writ shows.
In 2014, Lam Wai-ip and his then girlfriend were arrested after police claimed they found three bags containing 55.27 grams of solid crystalline methamphetamine hydrochloride – or ice – in the right front pocket of Lam’s trousers when they searched him outside his Sau Mau Ping home.
But the sports trousers Lam wore on the day, May 15, did not have a single pocket, the writ said.
Lam was detained in Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre and later put on trial at the High Court.
He was unanimously found not guilty by a jury, and was awarded legal costs after the presiding judge ruled that Lam did not even bring suspicion upon himself, according to the writ.
The writ also stated that police “intended to injure” Lam and “caused loss and harm” to him.
The court document addressed the Secretary for Justice as the defendant on behalf of the police commissioner, claiming more than HK$3.9 million in damages for causing the plaintiff a great deal of emotional stress and loss from the police’s “oppressive and outrageous” behaviour.
Lam’s girlfriend left him after the incident.
The writ added: “The criminal proceedings were instituted and carried on maliciously causing the plaintiff to be wrongly detained for 468 days and suffer monetary loss.”
The maximum sentence for trafficking a dangerous drug is life imprisonment.
The writ said that Lam and his family – especially his 80-year-old mother – suffered great anxiety and mental disturbance from the possibility that he could be imprisoned for up to 10 years had he been convicted.
According to the writ, police officers also found HK$14,910 on Lam, and allegedly threatened to arrest his girlfriend in a bid to force an admission out of him on the day.
But at that time, he was wearing a pair of trousers which already had its pockets removed and sewn shut.
Lam claimed that the police action had caused him to feel embarrassed in front of his neighbour. His girlfriend, whom he had planned to marry, also left him after being arrested and detained for more than two months.
Lam lost his job, and his personal belongings were thrown away by his landlord by the time he was released, the writ said.
A police spokesman said they would look into the matter.