A pro-Beijing legislator and the head of a police union have strongly condemned netizens who mocked a Hong Kong marine police officer drowned in a clash with smugglers.

Lam Chi-wai, chair of the Junior Police Officers’ Association, said he “could not see” how people making fun of the death were “different from animals.“

Priscilla Leung. Photo: Legco Screenshot.

“The difference between humans and animals lies in humanity. I don’t know what is the reason why some people chose to say gloating words and add insult to injury, in order to seek attention in their empty and dissipated lives,” Lam wrote.

The body of Senior Inspector Lam Yuen-yee was found in the sea off Lantau island, two days after she fell overboard while on duty near the island of Sha Chau. The 37-year-old went missing after a smuggling boat collided with the police vessel, causing it to capsize.

Photo: Police screenshot and Wikicommons.

While Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other government officials and lawmakers expressed condolences to Lam Yuen-yee’s family, a few netizens mocked her.

The statement by Lam Chi-wai, chairperson of the Junior Police Officers’ Association. Photo: The Junior Police Officers’ Association.

A group calling itself HKGolden Music released a parody song entitled Do not look for what fell into the sea during the police search for Lam. The song, now removed by the group, contained lyrics including “they will float back up once you stop looking for them,” and “a few people falling into the sea is no big deal.”

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Priscilla Leung slammed the group for releasing the song, saying “the practice is chilling. The whole city must condemn and hold [them] accountable.”

While the song has since been removed by HKGolden Music, the group said it had faced “intensive political oppression.” On Tuesday it released another song titled Do not look for what has been removed.

Police relations

Relations between Hong Kong police and sections of the public worsened during the 2019 anti-extradition bill protests, as rallies often turned into violent clashes between protesters and police who were sometimes accused of brutality.

Four University of Hong Kong student leaders have been charged under the national security law with “advocating terrorism” after the student council passed a motion to express sympathy for a man who killed himself after stabbing and injuring a police officer.

The force was heavily criticised for failing to prevent a mob attack on protesters and commuters in Yuen Long two years ago.

A report by the Independent Police Complaints Council cleared the force of misconduct during the protests, saying officers generally acted within guidelines but there was “room for improvement.”

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.