THE Labour Department is helping the parents of a student who died after inhaling toxic fumes to claim compensation from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Richard Leung Wai-cheuk, 25, was a research assistant with an allowance of $10,000 a month. His parents yesterday met department officials in an effort to clarify his eligibility for compensation under labour laws. The university maintained that Mr Leung was not an employee and therefore had no right to the maximum labour compensation of $1.26 million. Senior labour officer, Patrick Chow Cheung-fat, said the final decision would be made in the courts and officials would help the parents seek legal aid. Mr Chow said the department would collect information related to the case, including documents from the university. 'We have explained to the parents steps required for filing a claim for compensation in court. The case will be referred to the Legal Aid Department not later than next Tuesday,' he said. A spokesman for the university, Cheng King, would not comment on the parents' intention to bring the case to court but said Mr Leung's status as a student remained unchanged. 'He was getting a university grant for his service. That's not employment within the university. The situation would be the same with any other university in Hong Kong,' he said. Mr Cheng said a special group within the university's Student Affairs Office had been in contact with the parents and would help them as much as possible.