It’s easy to criticise your opponents, much more difficult to go against your own comrades in defence of the defenceless. It takes real courage for Henry Wong Pak-yu, a hardcore localist who won a seat on Yuen Long District Council as part of the election landslide in November by anti-government activists, to speak up for the family of Chan Yin-lam. The 15-year-old’s body was found floating at sea last year during the height of the anti-government protests. This week, as an inquest began to determine the cause of death amid countless conspiracy theories, her family has been dragged in. Many protesters have cast doubt on the identity of the mother, who has been harassed, along with other family members. Some claim the real mother is already dead. An online campaign this week circulated the photo of a body, which some claim is that of the mother from late last year. It has been launched in response to the inquest at the Coroner’s Court into Chan’s death. The family’s old wounds have been reopened even as the harassment continues. Mother says Hong Kong girl, 15, found dead in sea ‘took her own life’ Rather bravely, Wong has released a long public statement on Facebook saying he knew the family of the dead person in the photo and that it was a man in his 30s. In fact, they were his neighbours at Tin Heng Estate, in Tin Shui Wai, which is now his constituency in the district. He said the event took place last November and that he accompanied the family to the mortuary to identify the body. After the controversy broke out this week, he said he had taken a signed statement from a mortuary officer who was involved in processing the body and could certify the man’s identity. Wong pleaded for both families to be left alone, as they have already lost loved ones. He then repeated three times in his statement that the body in the photo was not Chan’s mother. Predictably, new discussion threads have appeared in “yellow” sites such as lihkg.com, claiming Wong is lying, that his political loyalty has shifted and he might have been a government agent all along. I find that level of paranoia and unreality disturbing. We need more people like Wong on both sides.