Police legally shot dead Hong Kong man who rushed towards wife with paper cutter, jury says
But the inquest hears dissatisfaction expressed over how the officers handled the fatal encounter
A jury expressed dissatisfaction with how Hong Kong police handled the case of a man who had rushed towards his wife with a paper cutter and was fatally shot, an inquest heard on Friday.
But the panel returned a unanimous verdict that Ho Sai-tung was legally killed by two officers. The verdict came after four hours of deliberation following a four-day inquest.
Ho, 21, was gunned down in the wee hours of May 5, 2014, in the lift lobby of Hong Nga Court in Lam Tin. He went there to look for his wife at her friend’s residence. The Coroner’s Court was tasked with determining the cause of Ho’s death.
After returning the verdict, the jurors recommended police enhance their crisis management training, saying the death could have been avoided.
They added that police should be able to better assess the gravity of a situation to determine the most effective way to handle it.
The force should also strengthen its negotiation training in terms of how officers react and speak, with backup being arranged as appropriate.
“If a negotiator could have been arranged while the deceased held [the security guard] hostage, escalation could have been avoided,” the jury foreman said.
The court heard Ho’s wife, Wong Man-wa, fled their home with their child soon before the incident, mistakenly believing that Ho was having an affair. Wong was misled by another friend, who was earlier reprimanded by coroner Ho Chun-yiu.
As the situation escalated, Ho ended up holding a security guard hostage at knifepoint with the cutter until his wife showed up at the lift lobby.
According to the officers’ testimony, Ho appeared to be rushing towards his wife to attack her. They fired three shots at him: one hit Ho in an area above his forehead while another hit him in the neck.
The officer who fired two shots said he was able to issue a warning in the one second between firing his first and second shots.
“Don’t move, police. Or I’ll open fire,” he testified.
The officers said they had complied with the code governing officers.
An expert who testified earlier said it was not necessary for police to give a warning before shooting.