Inquest jury rules death of 14-year-old accidental

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

A coroner’s jury has ruled that the death of a 14-year-old autistic boy who fell from a Kwai Chung care home five years ago was accidental.

The boy, who had a moderate intellectual disability and autism, was found lying unconscious  in a back alley of the Hong Kiu Home in Kwai Chung shortly before 5pm on August 23, 2016.

He was rushed to Yan Chai Hospital where he was later declared dead.

A five-member jury ruled unanimously that the death was an accident and made a number of suggestions to improve safety at private homes for the disabled.

For the Hong Kiu Home in particular, the jurors said surveillance cameras should be installed, empty rooms should be locked and staff must make sure they have enough rest.

In general, the jurors said the Social Welfare Department should increase the minimum manpower requirement of such homes, and a time limit should be imposed for any staff members leaving their posts on a temporary basis.

The jurors also said a merit points system should be introduced by the department, so any homes found to have committed serious blunders will get marks deducted or even have their licenses revoked.

Among other things, the jurors said the government should provide training for staff at disability homes.