AN inmate demanding beer at the Shek Kwu Chau drug treatment centre was beaten to death during a fight arising from his request, the High Court heard yesterday. New inmate Lo Kwong-chi, 49, died of multiple injuries after being savagely attacked by fellow patients while lying defenceless on the ground. Jointly charged with his murder are Chu Van Tuan, 25, Chu Yat-ping, 37, Ng Kwok-cheong, 40, Mui Cheong-hing, 28, Tang Yiu-kwong, 37, and Law Yui-shing, 25. They have all pleaded not guilty. Opening the Crown's case, prosecutor Paul Madigan told the jury and Mr Justice Barnett that Shek Kwu Chau Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre was run by the Society for Aid and Rehabilitation for Drug Abusers. The centre was made up of three houses - Fai House, Yiu House and Chun House - each with about 20 to 30 inmates and supervisors. Only those connected with the centre are allowed to land on the island west of Cheung Chau off Lantau's Chi Ma Wan peninsula. Mr Madigan said the incident began just before midnight on September 10 when Lo, an inmate of Fai House, decided he wanted some beer. But new inmates were not allowed to drink beer, only soft drinks and water, so he sent another inmate, Lee Sai-hung, to get some for him from a friend in Yiu House. This friend, however, refused to comply. This made Lo extremely angry and he went to ''reason'' with the man, the court heard. However, said Mr Madigan, another inmate, Chu Yat-ping, interfered and an argument developed between him and Lo which culminated in a fist fight outside Yiu House. After the fight, Lo returned to Fai House, but he was still very upset, the court heard. Soon, he said, a number of Fai House inmates gathered around Lo and a heated discussion developed about exacting revenge on Chu Yat-ping. The house supervisors tried to calm things down but suddenly, said counsel, a group rushed out of Fai House armed with home-made weapons such as table legs, hoes and spades, and went to bang on the door of Yiu House. The court heard that this led to a fight between all three houses, with the Chun House group appearing to side with Yiu House. The Fai House group scattered, and Lo fell down defenceless and was savagely attacked by several people. He was left on the ground bleeding and was taken to a hospital where he was certified dead on arrival, the court heard. After their arrest, said counsel, several of the defendants made statements to the police admitting they were at the scene at the time of the attack. It was the Crown's case that the six defendants were among the group who attacked Lo, causing his fatal injuries, said Mr Madigan. The hearing continues.