A 37-year-old man is in intensive care after sustaining severe injuries while serving a month-long sentence at the Tong Fuk Correctional Institution on Lantau. The father of the man has made a report to the police, alleging suspicious circumstances, but the Correctional Services Department has denied any abnormality.

The man, surnamed Tsang, is currently unconscious. A press conference on the incident was held by Legislative Council member Cheng Chung-tai on Tuesday. The father of Tsang said that, according to the doctors, Tsang appeared to have been hit with a hard object, causing two of his ribs to break and severe bleeding in his kidney.

prisoner injuries
The man is now in ICU. Photo: Chung-Tai Cheng 鄭松泰 via Facebook.

According to a statement issued by the Correctional Services Department, the man had complained of abdominal pain at a dining hall at 6:35pm on Sunday. A correctional officer instantly arranged for him to receive a medical examination at the centre hospital. The resident medical officer found the man to be sustaining abdominal distension and conducted a physical examination.

The man was then transferred to the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital by helicopter, during which he remained conscious. His condition then deteriorated and the medical staff applied emergency resuscitation upon his arrival at the hospital. His relatives were notified of the situation.

cheng chung tai press con
Cheng Chung-tai and the father of Tsang at the press conference. Photo: Chung-Tai Cheng 鄭松泰 via Facebook.

The father said that the officer could have broken his ribs during the resuscitation, but there was no reason why his liver would sustain injury. He believed his son had been beaten up. Cheng also said that he believed the injuries were a result of the use of excessive force by correctional services officers and called for a police investigation. Following the press conference, Tsang’s father made a report at the Wan Chai Police Station, accompanied by Cheng.

The department said that the man told the resident medical officer that he had not been assaulted, and “no signs of physical assault were revealed during the examination.” It also said that relevant closed-circuit television footage had been reviewed and the preliminary enquiry revealed no abnormality.

Cheng Yuk-leung, Chairman (Junior Section) of the Correctional Services Officers’ Association, was critical of there being a “sentencing without trial,” adding that many front line officers felt displeased with the smear, Apple Daily reported.

Correction 05/01: A previous version of this article stated that there was severe bleeding in his liver. It was in fact his kidney that sustained injuries.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.