‘Just tell me why my father died.’ Daughter of dead security guard lashes out at Hong Kong government for ignoring his family in their time of grief
Ng Shung-hei killed while on duty at Sha Tin Water Treatment Works five days ago, but family say they have been ignored by his employers
The family of security guard Ng Shung-hei, who was stabbed to death while on duty last Sunday, have accused the government of not offering them any support after his death.
On Friday, members of the 59-year-old water treatment plant employee’s family said no government officials had called to express their condolences, let alone offering any help.
“It’s been five days [since Ng’s death],” his daughter, Ng Sin-ying said. “I’ve called government departments and lots of organisations, but all I’ve got is to ‘wait for further arrangement’.”
She added that she had contacted the Labour Department and the Water Supplies Department several times.
According to the victim’s son-in-law, Chan Kwok-lung, the Labour Department has been telling him that as the victim’s employer had not yet reported the case to it, there was nothing it could do.
“The Labour Department certainly has the responsibility to investigate whether it can be classified as a case of work casualty,” said Chan Kam-hong, chief director of the Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims. “I find the department’s response to the family ridiculous.”
According to police the victim was allegedly stabbed to death by a colleague after they had an argument. The suspect, who was later charged with one count of murder, appeared in Sha Tin Court on Tuesday. The case has been adjourned to October 30.
The two family members said the victim worked for Federal Guards Limited, which provides security services for water treatment plants for the Water Supplies Department.
They said Ng had been stationed at Tai Po Tau Water Treatment Works for three years, and was only transferred to Sha Tin Water Treatment Works a week before his death.
On Friday, Chan Kwok-lung said the Water Supplies Department, which outsourced the security works to that company, had called to tell them that the victim’s employer was already in contact with the Labour Department.
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“[The Water Supplies Department] told me to go to the Labour Department by myself, and claimed that my father-in-law’s case was none of their business because he was working for an outsourced service contractor,” Chan Kwok-lung said.
Ng Sin-ying said the department was shirking its responsibility.
“They just want to evade our queries,” she said. “All I want is an explanation of what happened that day.”
A spokesman for the Labour Department said it had contacted the family “immediately” after learning about the incident to provide help in matters concerning employees’ compensation and other areas.
The department added it had reminded the victim’s employer of its liability concerning workers who die in work accidents.
On Friday afternoon, the Water Supplies Department held a two-hour meeting with the victim’s family members, staff from the Association of the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims, and a representative of Federal Guards Limited, according to association head Chan Kam-hong.
Chan said the employer failed to give any details of the alleged murder, only telling them that police were investigating the case. Also, the company offered HK$5,001 compensation to the family, with no further support or arrangement provided.
“Of course family members refused to accept [the compensation]. It shows no sincerity,” Chan said.
He added that the Water Supplies Department told family members it would pay close attention and follow-up on the case.
Ng Sin-ying confirmed that they would not accept the compensation offered by Federal Guards Limited, saying that the company was still failing to fulfil its responsibilities.
The representative of the company who attended the meeting said he understood that family members were “unsatisfied” with the employer's proposal of financial support, admitting that the amount was “not ideal”.
"We understand that the deceased is the breadwinner of his family, but HK$5,001 is so far what the company's board of directors has agreed to provide," the representative, who declined to be named, said.
He added that Federal Guards was waiting for the Labour Department to proceed with the case, together with the insurance company that the company hires.
The Federal Guards Limited could not be reached for comment.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article said the victim worked for Federal Management Services Limited. This has been amended to Federal Guards Limited.