Fireman tells of disrupted carpark rescue

Top News | Mandy Zheng 25 Nov 2020

Firemen had to walk to rescue University of Science and Technology student Chow Tsz-lok because their fire engine failed to reach the Tseung Kwan O car park he fell from due to protests, the Coroner's Court heard.

Chow, then 22, died from brain injuries four days after he fell from the third to the second floor at Sheung Tak Estate car park in the early hours of November 4 last year, as police clashed with protesters nearby.

Po Lam Fire Station senior fireman Lai Wai-kit testified before coroner Ko Wai-hung yesterday as the inquest entered its seventh day.

Lai said at 12.43am on the day of Chow's fall, two fire engines headed to the car park after a fire alarm went off. But he and four colleagues had to remove roadblocks on their way, and their truck was forced to take a detour near the entrance of Sheung Tak Estate, where protesters and riot police were in a standoff.

The truck stopped at the Po Hong Road bus station, which was about a 10-minute walk from the car park, and the firemen then proceeded on foot.

Barrister Samson Hung Kin-ming asked if protesters blocked the fire engine from parking, to which Lai responded: "I don't think they did it on purpose."

Hung asked, "But objectively speaking, did they get in your way?," to which Lai replied in the affirmative.

When firemen finally arrived at the car park, Lai said while they were inspecting the building, they saw a man on the second-floor shouting: "Someone fell off the building!"

The man then led the way to Chow, who was lying face down with dried blood on his nose, mouth and ears. There was also blood on the ground.

Lai asked the injured person, "Sir, what happened? What's your name?" But Chow did not answer, although he was breathing and there was a slight movement in his hands and feet.

Lai found no obvious injuries or bone fractures in Chow's body before flipping him over to help him breathe and putting an oxygen mask on him.

He added that some riot police approached them but did not interrupt.

The inquest continues today.

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