Hearings, expected to last at least 37 days, will focus on four killings and a pistol The joint inquest that opens today into the deaths of off-duty constable Tsui Po-ko and three men whom police believe he shot dead will be one of the longest in the city's history. Given the enormous amount of evidence and the number of witnesses to be heard, it is expected to last for at least 37 days. The inquest is expected to reveal the extent of police investigation and provide witnesses' testimony on the four deaths, three of them police officers. But, as in all inquests, it will not establish criminal liability for the killings. At the end of the marathon hearing only some findings on the nature of the deaths will be delivered. Possible verdicts are that the deaths were the result of unlawful killing, lawful killing, suicide or misadventure. The court can also return an open verdict. Police say their investigations have pointed to Tsui as the killer of Constable Tsang Kwok-hang in an underpass in Tsim Sha Tsui on March 17. Constable Sin Ka-keung, who survived the shoot-out in which Tsui also died, is expected to be one of about 100 witnesses to testify at the inquest. Police have also linked Tsui to the killing of Constable Leung Shing-yan and bank security guard Zafar Iqbal Khan in 2001. Leung was shot dead and his pistol stolen on March 14 that year when he answered a bogus noise complaint at a flat in Shek Wai Kok Estate. Police believe the stolen firearm was used nine months later, when Khan was shot dead during a robbery at a Hang Seng branch in Castle Peak Road. They believe the same firearm was used in the Tsim Sha Tsui shooting on March 17. A jury of five members will be chosen this morning before the inquest officially opens. Each juror will get an allowance of HK$280 a day, which may be increased at the coroner's discretion. Normally, an inquest with a jury is held when a person dies suddenly, by accident, by violence, under suspicious circumstances or when a corpse is found in or brought into Hong Kong. An inquest can also be convened when someone dies in custody, such as in prison, or at the request of the Secretary for Justice. A famous example of an inquest held at the request of the Secretary for Justice was the one into the death of model Annie Pang Chor-ying, which was held between February and March last year. Pang's skeleton was discovered in a flat belonging to John Fang Meng-sang, brother of former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang, in 1999. She was thought to have died around mid-1995. After a month-long inquest, the jury ruled that she had died either by accident or misadventure. If the inquest starting today finds evidence of murder or manslaughter, the coroner - in this case Michael Chan Pik-kiu - must adjourn proceedings and refer the matter to the Secretary for Justice. The inquest will not be resumed until after any criminal proceedings have been completed. Mr Chan will be assisted by coroner's officer Arthur Luk Yee-shun, who is also the acting director of public prosecutions. Legal representatives can also be hired by any interested party - such as the deceased's family - to defend their interests and cross-examine witnesses during the inquest. After reaching its conclusions at the end of the inquest, the jury may also make recommendations aimed at preventing a recurrence of similar fatalities and pointing out any deficiency in existing systems. However, the government or the mentioned parties are not bound to adhere to the recommendations.