Wu rejects prison video offer for father's funeral

Top News | Maisy Mok 6 May 2021

In a move criticized as inhumane, prison officials have refused to allow the Democratic Party's former chairman, Wu Chi-wai, to attend his father's funeral.

Instead, the Correctional Services Department offered to allow Wu to watch the funeral online via video call.

But the proposal was rejected by his family, saying it was disrespectful to the deceased.

Wu has remained in custody since January when a West Kowloon court revoked his bail after police seized a BNO passport from his home that violated bail conditions.

He now faces three separate trials, including a national security charge for his involvement in the pro-democracy primaries.

The department said yesterday it rejected Wu's leave of absence application to attend his father's funeral to protect the safety of Wu, correctional officers and the public.

It had taken into account security factors, including offenses committed by Wu, security risks, escort route and location safety.

"The date, time and location of the funeral have been extensively reported on social media platforms recently and there were calls on the internet for showing support at the scene on the day of the funeral," the department said.

It said it offered its deepest condolences to Wu and decided to allow him to consider taking part in the funeral through "visual means."

The statement was in response to Apple Daily's report that Wu would only be allowed to use the video chatting service Zoom for the funeral, which will be held tomorrow. Wu rejected the arrangement, pointing out that he and his family find it disrespectful to the deceased, a spokesman for Wu said.

"In regards to the department suggesting to send Correctional Services Department staff to attend the funeral and use electronic equipment to let Wu pay respects to the remains of his father, Wu and his family could not bear with such disrespect to the deceased father," it said.

The spokesman added that being unable to see his father for the last time before he died, Wu feels disheartened.

The department should not be overly worried about Wu applying for the leave of absence as it was a reasonable request, given that he is the only son of his family, he added.

Another former chairman of the Democratic Party, Albert Ho Chun-yan, said Wu and his family rejected the department's suggestion as they did not want police, CSD staff and the press to be present at the funeral.

They just wanted to conduct the funeral quietly, he added.

Ho criticized the rejection of Wu attending the funeral in person as inhumane and politically driven.

A former social welfare sector lawmaker, Shiu Ka-chun, agreed that the department's rejection was politically driven, adding that it had experience in and regulations for arranging people in custody to attend funerals outside and avoiding prisoner to escape.

Democratic Party chairman Lo Kin-hei said the party will be in touch with the department in the hope it will reconsider allowing Wu to pay his respects to his father.

maisy.mok@singtaonewscorp.com



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