Only trained people would know how to remove gun, says sergeant
Only those trained in the technique would know how to pull a revolver from a police officer's holster, the Coroner's Court was told yesterday.
Sergeant Tai Wai-leung was speaking on the second day of the inquest into the death of Constable Leung Shing-yan - found lying in blood with his service revolver and 12 bullets missing after attending a noise complaint five years ago - and three others.
Leung was Sergeant Tai's subordinate at the Lei Muk Shue police station.
According to the sergeant, only those who were trained would know that a revolver had to be pushed in before it could be pulled from a police holster.
Sergeant Tai said he had told Leung to take an early lunch break on March 14, 2001.
By coincidence, the swap left Leung free when the fateful call came in for police to investigate a noise complaint at Shek Wai Kok Estate in Tsuen Wan.
Leung was found dead on the fifth floor of Shek To House about 12.30pm that day.
'I noticed his service revolver was not in his holster pouch,' said Sergeant Tai, adding that he saw Leung lying in blood when he arrived at the scene.
'[Leung] learned anti-snatching skills at the police training school to resist snatching of the revolver from behind and from two sides,' he testified.
Sergeant Tai said that along with Leung's service revolver, which had the serial number 7215, 12 bullets and a speed-loader were missing.
'It is a big deal when we find weapons missing,' he said.
Further investigation revealed that Leung's notebook also was missing.
Sergeant Tai said he told Leung to swap lunch slots with Constable Chan Chi-kwan for convenience, adding that the instruction was reasonable and not unusual.
He said Leung had been at the police station taking a statement from an assault victim until about 10.30am.
The sergeant told him to take an earlier lunch slot, which started at 11pm, otherwise he would have had to drive a patrol car to his Shek Wai Kok Estate beat and return at 12.30pm for lunch.
'The arrangement saved a trip and was more convenient,' he told the court.
'This is a very usual practice to have our officers' meal times swapped.'
Sergeant Tai said he had known Leung for two years and found him to be a 'very good' officer, saying he was quite self-motivated and hard-working.