Security camera footage showing the moment a university student fell to his death inside a Hong Kong car park as a protest took place nearby has been discovered by an inquest looking into last year’s incident.The previously unseen footage, which was described on Friday by Coroner Ko Wai-hung as “very crucial”, was the first identified visual of the moment Alex Chow Tsz-lok fell from a multistorey car park in Sheung Tak Estate, in Tseung Kwan O, on the morning of November 4, 2019.Its discovery could help the court assess the accuracy of previous testimony about the time and location of the incident, as well as influence forensic experts’ analyses in the evidence to follow.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The video clip, which was taken from a surveillance camera installed at Kwong Ming Court, a housing estate next to the car park, showed a black shadow descending from the building. But it was not clear enough to show the events preceding the fall.“It appears that the black shadow in the footage is Tsz-lok,” Ko said.Chow, 22, who studied at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, suffered extensive skull fractures, as well as bruises and swelling to his body after the fall. He died in hospital four days later.Previous security footage at the car park last showed Chow walking towards the building’s third floor at 1:01.39am, when police officers were dispersing anti-government protesters at a nearby demonstration, but was unable to show the moment of the fall.A police detective responsible for reviewing security footage earlier testified he found no useful materials from Kwong Ming Court.But on Thursday, Ko revealed the discovery of the footage at the residential complex, which could largely shake up the course of the court inquiry. Student who died in car park fall unlikely to have lost balance, inquest toldThe new footage gave the time of the fall as 12:51.37am, but Ko said that record was “obviously not the real time”, adding he had directed forensic experts to ascertain the precise time and landing point of the fall based on the footage.Chow’s father, Chow Tak-ming, said outside court the new footage represented “one huge step towards the truth”.He said he did not expect a breakthrough in the investigation from security footage initially discarded by police, but declined to comment on whether investigators had been negligent.“Frankly speaking, at this moment, it does not matter who is right and who is wrong, and whether anybody has not done their job properly,” Chow said. “I am actually happy to learn about the coroner’s discovery, which may be one huge step towards the truth.”He issued another public appeal, calling for residents at Kwong Ming Court who had knowledge about the fall to help the investigation.Meanwhile, the coroner revealed that a separate security video, also discovered on Thursday, suggested government paramedics who previously testified had been wrong about the time they took Chow to hospital.He stopped short of detailing what was in that footage, but said he had invited the director of fire services to hire legal representatives to attend the proceedings.He adjourned the proceedings to next Tuesday to allow time for police to investigate further. He added that the inquest, originally slated for 25 days, might overrun in light of the latest developments.More from South China Morning Post: * Hong Kong student who suffered fatal injuries in car park fall near protest site last year was unlikely to have lost balance, inquest hears * Hong Kong court could turn to virtual reality to help inquest jury uncover truth behind student’s death, source saysThis article Hong Kong protests: new security camera footage shows moment student fell to his death from car park first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
A diplomatic war of words between Australia and China over a graphic tweet seemed to finally cool on Thursday as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison struck a much more conciliatory tone. Morrison's change in approach came even after he was thwarted in getting his views out directly to Chinese people over the messaging app WeChat, after the Chinese company deleted his post on the grounds it could distort historical events and confuse the public. China has angrily rejected Morrison's complaints, but its foreign ministry on Thursday declined to comment further on the controversy.
The female director of City Funeral Singapore, 38-year-old Alverna Cher, has been charged with culpable homicide over the death of her ex-boyfriend.
Julen Lopetegui may not have been successful at his previous club Real Madrid, but he can be satisfied in reviving current club Sevilla.
Contraband products worth HK$540 million (US$69.7 million) have been seized in Hong Kong waters so far this year, 230 per cent more than the entirety of 2019, a senior customs official has said.The latest figure was disclosed as customs and police officers made the biggest seizure of its kind in 12 years on Thursday, finding HK$80 million worth of goods, including iPhones, bird nests and abalone that were allegedly to be smuggled to Shenzhen by speedboat.Senior Superintendent Mark Woo Wai-kwan, head of customs’ syndicate crimes investigation bureau, said he attributed the surge to the closure of the major control points due to coronavirus travel restrictions, which has forced smugglers to use the sea route rather than cars and human couriers.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.According to Woo, customs officers have confiscated HK$540 million worth of contraband items at sea and made 217 arrests in 66 cases. In the whole of last year, they seized HK$160 million worth of goods and arrested 86 people across 55 cases.The total included Thursday’s seizure in the Sha Tau Kok frontier closed area.That haul, with a street value of HK$130 million on the mainland, included hundreds of iPhone 12s, delicacies such as abalone and bird’s nest, cosmetic products, apparel and HK$42.7 million worth of electronic goods such as computer hard discs.Bureau Assistant Superintendent Cheng Man-yuen said the consignment also included 550kg of suspected red coral, which could be used for Chinese medicine or making jewellery. He said they would check with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department as to whether it was an endangered species. Surge in value of sea-smuggling seizures linked to Covid-19 travel curbsLaw enforcers began investigating the cross-border smuggling ring after noticing unusual activity at the typhoon shelter in the border town of Sha Tau Kok about two weeks ago.Dozens of officers lay in wait in various observation posts on Wednesday night before a truck arrived at an outdoor car park in Kong Ha village at about 1am on Thursday.Three seven-seater cars later drove into the car park, where boxes of goods were loaded into the vehicles from the truck. Two of the cars were then driven to the Shun Lung Street typhoon shelter, which is about 1.8km away from the maritime boundary between Hong Kong and the mainland.Officers swooped into action as boxes of goods were being loaded from one of the two cars onto a speedboat at the typhoon shelter. Four to five workers then jumped into the boat, speeding in the direction of Shenzhen. HK$2.5 million in smuggled goods seized, but suspects escape in speedboatMore than 100 boxes of contraband goods were found in the truck and three cars, but no arrests were made at the scene.About 12 hours later, customs officers arrested three Hongkongers aged 36 to 46 in connection with the case. The men were the owners of the cars and also residents of the Sha Tau Kok frontier closed area.“It is the largest smuggling case [at sea] tackled by Hong Kong customs in the past 12 years,” Woo said. He said the biggest such case was made in 2008, when HK$200 million worth of contraband products was seized in a cargo vessel.He said the illegal smuggling operation was designed to avoid taxes that range from 20 to 100 per cent of the products’ value.The senior superintendent said the investigation was continuing and further arrests were possible.He said the department would seek help from their counterparts to track down the partner in the cross-border syndicate.This article Hong Kong’s biggest seaborne smuggling seizure in over a decade brings tally to HK$540 million for year, dwarfing 2019 total first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed nine new COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of noon on Thursday (3 December), taking the country’s total to 58,239.
The US intelligence chief on Thursday branded China as "the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II," as Washington clamped down hard on travel visas for members of the Chinese Communist Party.
Meet Arthur, an esports talent in Dota 2 who also has experience as a coach, caster, analyst and team manager!
The late Lee Kuan Yew’s lawyer Kwa Kim Li appeared in court on 3 December)to testify in the libel suit involving TOC chief editor Terry Xu.
Veteran flight attendant Julian Yau Chi-hung did not get the chance to say goodbye to his Cathay Pacific colleagues in person when he lost his job in October after almost 23 years with the airline.News of his fate arrived by email soon after the airline made a public announcement that it was axing 5,300 employees in Hong Kong and closing its Cathay Dragon brand in a restructuring to survive the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.After that round of mass retrenchments, the airline gave its remaining 8,000 flight attendants and 2,600 pilots 14 days to sign new contracts or have their services terminated. Angry staff described the new deals as insulting, with flight attendants’ wages cut by 20 to 40 per cent and for pilots, by 40 to 60 per cent.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“The saddest thing is that I really miss my colleagues and haven’t seen them for a long time because we haven’t been flying. We still haven’t had a chance to meet and say goodbye,” said Yau, 44, a former vice-chairman of the airline’s Flight Attendants Union.“Cathay’s decision is saddening and disappointing. What I am worried about is that other companies will follow suit and treat their staff the way the airline has treated us. If that happens, Hong Kong’s workers will be in big trouble.”Hong Kong has an Employment Ordinance that provides for long service and severance payments and protection against unfair dismissal, but does not cover collective bargaining. It does not require employers to discuss important matters such as retrenchments with their workers or unions before going ahead to implement them.For a brief period in 1997, Hong Kong had a collective bargaining law but it was scrapped in October that year after the British returned the colony to China.As an employer, Cathay Pacific has long been willing to meet its powerful cabin crew and pilot unions to discuss everything from pay packages to rostering, with some negotiations becoming drawn out and contentious.But it did not consult the unions before announcing its restructuring and lay-offs last month, despite acknowledging that its moves had caused “great distress and anxiety” to staff.The controversy over the airline’s action followed similar rows between employers and workers across industries as Hong Kong firms struggle to stay afloat during the pandemic which has wreaked havoc on a severely battered economy. Cathay axes record 5,300 Hong Kong jobs and closes regional wing in HK$2.2 billion survival planEarlier this week, Hong Kong’s biggest pay-TV operator, i-Cable Communications, laid off 40 editorial staff in a move to survive the economic downturn and required them to leave immediately.All 10 journalists on its China desk resigned in protest after the team’s assistant editor, Linda Wong, was told to go. Five editors and 11 reporters on its Hong Kong desk also quit.The suddenness of Cathay’s lay-offs and the short notice given to surviving staff to accept new contracts have prompted academics and unionists to suggest that Hong Kong needs to enact a collective bargaining law and strengthen labour rights mechanisms.Such a law would have obliged Cathay and other employers to meet employee representatives in advance and try to agree on a plan that both sides found acceptable.So far there is no consensus in the community on the issue of introducing collective bargaining by legislationLabour DepartmentEmployers, however, remain strongly against such a law, saying moves to reduce operating costs were inevitable in the current economic conditions.The Labour Department maintained in a reply to the Post that “voluntary collective bargaining” has been working well.Message to staff: ‘Take it or leave it’Before Yau and his colleagues were retrenched, Cathay had already asked staff to take no-pay leave twice: for three weeks between March and June, and another three weeks between July and the year-end.With international air travel at a standstill, Yau worked only twice between March and October, once to Bangkok and the other time to Los Angeles. It meant a sharp decline in earnings, as flying allowances are a sizeable part of flight attendants’ wages.For years, the Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union, representing 80 per cent of cabin crew, was considered one of the most powerful unions in Hong Kong.The airline has held talks with the union every year to discuss the percentage of the annual pay rise. Such negotiations often resulted in threats of industrial action and pressure on the airline to settle the dispute to avoid flight cancellations or delays.Last week, Cathay dropped a bombshell by telling staff that it would stop negotiating with the cabin crew union over pay and work conditions, calling that an “outdated practice” no longer relevant to the modern world.The union accused the airline of disrespecting its collective bargaining power, saying Cathay was setting a bad precedent for all enterprises in the city.As Cathay is one of the biggest companies in Hong Kong and always among the first to announce annual pay adjustment, many employers refer to what it does regarding wages before deciding their own.“Cathay’s decision this time has dealt a huge blow to Hong Kong’s union movement, not just the airline’s cabin crew union,” Yau said, adding that what made him angry was the management’s unwillingness to discuss it with the unions in advance.“It effectively told the union that the decision has been made, so live with it,” he said.The new contracts slash flight attendants’ wages by 20 to 40 per cent, with the most junior cabin crew in a four-tier seniority system getting a monthly basic salary of about HK$10,000 to HK$12,000.It normally takes 10 years to be promoted to a flight purser, 15 more years to become a senior purser, and about 10 more years to become an in-flight service manager. An in-flight service manager’s base salary will be about HK$33,000 a month under the new contracts.Pilots will take a 40 to 60 per cent cut, with second officers paid a basic salary of HK$30,000 to HK$35,000 while captains get HK$72,000 to HK$105,000.Despite the Cathay unions’ threat of legal action, the airline announced last month that 98.5 per cent of pilots and 91.6 per cent of flight attendants accepted the new contracts within the sign-up period.Anderson Yiu, vice-chairman of the Flight Attendants Union, said some of those who signed up did so because they were afraid they could not find a new job easily.“Many are already looking for a new job,” he said, adding that others had realised they could no longer hope to be a flight attendant for life.Many places already have collective bargaining laws, including Taiwan, Japan, mainland China and Singapore … Hong Kong is an exceptionChris Chan, sociologist, Chinese UniversityCathay had stressed that its restructuring was essential to ensure the airline’s survival and that it tried to protect as many jobs as possible. It said earlier that the new contracts were meant to allow the airline to operate in the “extremely challenging post Covid-19 travel reality”.City’s shortest-lived labour lawFor a few weeks in 1997, Hong Kong had a collective bargaining law that sought to plug the gaps in the Employment Ordinance and safeguard workers’ rights better. The bill, proposed by unionist and then lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, was passed by the Legislative Council in June 1997, a month before Britain handed Hong Kong back to Chinese rule.Under the law, if a union represented half the staff of a company, management was obliged to talk to it before making decisions affecting the workers’ terms of employment and consult unions on pay packages.Its passage caused an uproar in the business community and Tung Chee-hwa, the city’s first chief executive after the handover, said the law could hurt Hong Kong’s competitiveness by introducing “unduly restrictive employment practices and terms and conditions”.The legislation was suspended in July 1997 and scrapped in October, making it the shortest-lived new law in the city’s history.Lee, currently general secretary of the Confederation of Trade Unions, said if the law had remained in place, Cathay would have had to bargain with its union and settle on a restructuring plan acceptable to both sides.“Now is the best time to have a collective bargaining law enacted in Hong Kong. Workers need this law to protect themselves when they are most vulnerable,” he said.“This law cannot guarantee that there will not be pay cuts, but unions can press the companies to promise a pay rise once the economy recovers.”About a week after Cathay announced its restructuring and lay-offs, Sunflower Travel, a well-known agency, asked all its 300 employees to take unpaid leave until the end of February, and possibly beyond that. It did not consult its workers in advance. Cathay staff face dilemma over new contracts offering lower pay, fewer perksAssociate Professor Chris Chan King-chi, from Chinese University’s sociology department, supported introducing a collective bargaining law. He also said the statutory minimum wage of HK$37.50 per hour should be raised, and overtime payments made mandatory.“Many places already have collective bargaining laws, including Taiwan, Japan, mainland China and Singapore. Hong Kong is an exception in that it is a developed city practising capitalism, yet does not have a collective bargaining law,” he said.He pointed out that under the labour laws of the United States, for example, companies were obliged to discuss employment matters with unions regularly. Unions could also request to look at the company’s finances and, if a firm wanted to let go of staff to cut costs, the union could present its plans and negotiate.“If there is such a law in Hong Kong, there are many things Cathay can discuss with its employees. The new contracts could have been a product of such negotiations,” he said, adding that the airline could still choose to restore the terms in the old contracts once business improved.Professor Rick Glofcheski, a labour law specialist at the University of Hong Kong’s law school, said what happened at Cathay showed the weakness of the Employment Ordinance as the flight attendants and pilots had little recourse under the law.Although the unions threatened legal action, he said the challenge for them would be to prove that the airline violated the legal rights of its employees.“I am curious what the staff had in mind because to get an injunction, you have to allege that your legal rights have been violated,” he said.A collective bargaining law would compel employers to recognise unions as the bargaining units for employees, he said, and establish that both sides could discuss the conditions of terminations and reinstatement.‘Lay-offs are unavoidable’Hong Kong’s economy took a hit during the months of anti-government protests last year, and sank into recession after the pandemic struck this year. Unemployment surged to a nearly 16-year high of 6.4 per cent in the period from July to September.Asked about the rights of workers in the city, the Labour Department said the government “strives to encourage and promote voluntary collective bargaining”.“The existing practice of direct and voluntary negotiations between employers and employees at the enterprise and industry levels, underpinned by the conciliation service rendered by the Labour Department, has been working well,” it said.“So far there is no consensus in the community on the issue of introducing collective bargaining by legislation.” Workforce in turmoil at i-Cable as lay-offs, resignations hammer news departmentDanny Lau Tat-pong, honorary chairman of the Hong Kong Small and Medium Enterprises Association which represents employers in retail, finance, information technology and trading, among others, said he was against having a collective bargaining law because it would harm the way the free market operated in the city.He pointed out that these were exceptionally difficult times for businesses, with the economy in recession and many struggling to survive.“Take the Cathay Pacific restructuring, for example,” he said. “The airline didn’t fire its staff while making a lot of money. It did so because its business has been really bad. It did what it needed to do to survive. Letting go of its employees was unavoidable.”More from South China Morning Post: * Cathay axes record 5,300 Hong Kong jobs and closes regional airline in HK$2.2 billion survival plan * Workforce in turmoil at Hong Kong’s largest pay TV operator i-Cable as lay-offs, resignations hammer news departmentThis article Unions in the dark: suddenness of Cathay’s staff cuts sparks calls for collective bargaining law to protect Hong Kong workers first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Boeing shares surged Thursday after Ryanair confirmed a major order of Boeing 737 MAX jets while global stocks treaded water on mixed economic data.
Israel warned Thursday of an increased threat against its citizens abroad following Iran's call to avenge last week's assassination of its top nuclear scientist.
The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, which the company says was recently demonstrated to have 94 percent efficacy, causes the human immune system to produce potent antibodies that endure for at least three months, a study showed Thursday.
Call it a special delivery: after six years in space, Japan's Hayabusa-2 probe is heading home, but only to drop off its rare asteroid samples before starting a new mission.
The fourth season of Netflix hit "The Crown" has stirred controversy in Britain, where its treatment of the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, has been criticised for taking too much artistic licence.
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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai was remanded into custody on Thursday after being charged with fraud, the latest in a string of prosecutions brought against high-profile Beijing critics and democracy campaigners.
Former US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton as well as President-elect Joe Biden are volunteering to take a coronavirus vaccine on camera if it will help promote public confidence.
Gemma Steakhouse at National Gallery has been suspended for 20 days until 22 December over potential breaches of safe management measures.
The United States will block imports of cotton it says are harvested with "slave labor" in China's Xinjiang region, authorities have announced.