Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says she expects police to submit full report to coroner on death of 15-year-old girl, that has triggered violence and conspiracy theories

Tony Cheung

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has said she expected police to submit a full report to the coroner over the death of a 15-year-old girl, which has triggered conspiracy theories and attacks on the teenager’s school.

But the city’s chief executive also said on Tuesday that police had been subjected to a spate of “malicious and unfounded allegations”, as well as physical attacks, during the anti-government protests engulfing the city.

Responding last week to online rumours the girl and others could have been killed by police officers, acting chief superintendent Kelvin Kong Wing-cheung said there was nothing suspicious about the death of the teenager, who was a student at Youth College in Tseung Kwan O.

All classes at Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI), which shares a campus with the college, have been cancelled over the next three days after dozens of masked students smashed glass doors and security cameras at the site on Monday over the school’s handling of surveillance footage of the student.

Dr Leung Hing-pong, an academic director at the design institute in Tseung Kwan O, is confronted with demands to release school footage showing the movements of a girl before her death. Photo: Dickson Lee

Some protesters from the anti-government movement, sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, have demanded the release of the images from the school, saying they did not trust the police account of the incident.

Before Tuesday’s weekly meeting of her cabinet, the Executive Council, Lam was asked to comment on the death of the girl, whose body was found on September 22.

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“In the past few months, a lot of malicious and unfounded allegations were directed at police officers. That’s why clarifications have to be made continuously on the police force’s Facebook page and on the government’s Information Services Department,” she said.

“On the unfortunate death of this 15-year-old girl, even though the police’s preliminary conclusion is that there is nothing suspicious about it, my understanding is that for all unnatural deaths, the police need to come up with a full report and submit it to the coroner’s court.”

Vandals strike at HKDI on Monday over unreleased footage concerning a girl’s death, which police say was not suspicious. Photo: Dickson Lee

Lam added the court would decide whether further action would be taken based on the report and public concern about the case.

The chief executive also said more than 10 police officers were injured, as the force came under attack from hard-core protesters over the weekend.

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She condemned radical demonstrators for slashing a police officer’s neck, and using home-made bombs and petrol bombs to attack police vehicles.

“The public order of a place relies on the people to abide with the law. We also have to support our law enforcement agencies, so I appeal to you to support the police force, otherwise rioters’ actions will threaten the safety of more residents,” she said.

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Earlier this month, Lam invoked the Emergency Regulations Ordinance to impose an anti-mask law without the legislature’s prior approval.

Lam dismissed the suggestion she could invoke the ordinance again to set up a special police force to alleviate the workload of riot police.

“I would not use the ordinance unless there are very strong reasons, and to boost police’s manpower is not a strong reason,” she said.

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