Inquest fails to determine cause of Hong Kong student’s death in 2019 protest


An inquest jury on Saturday has failed to determine the cause of death of student Alex Chow who fell inside a car park in November 2019 at the height of the protest demonstrations in Hong Kong.

The 22-year old’s death has heightened tensions between the city’s police force and demonstrators as pro-democracy rallies swept across the financial hub in 2019 in protest against an anti-extradition law with China.

The five-member jury at the coroner’s court returned an open verdict, voting four to one, after a 29-day inquiry into the case of Chow who died from head injuries following a fall from the third floor to the second floor of a car park near a protest.

“I want to tell my son that we have tried our best. Let’s see if the truth will be revealed in the future,” the student’s father, Mr. Chow Tak-ming, told reporters outside the court.

In delivering an open verdict, the jury determined that it could not pinpoint whether his death was an unlawful killing or an accident.

The events leading to his fall remain unclear and disputed. There were no witnesses or clear surveillance footage of the incident.

Hong Kong was upended by more than seven months of pro-democracy protests in 2019 over moves by Beijing to tighten its grip on the city, and clashes escalated after Chow’s death in November of that year.

Chow’s death – the first student fatality of the demonstrations – had further stirred protesters’ anger towards the city’s police as they alleged he was forced to jump because of tear gas rounds fired by officers during a clearance operation.

In late June last year, Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in response to the 2019 protests, targeting acts it deems to be secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. (Source: The Straits Times)