Families of victims of the Lamma ferry disaster have applied to Hong Kong’s High Court for a Coroner’s Court inquest into the 2012 tragedy.

The application was filed on Monday by Leung Shuk-ling, Chiu Ping-chuen, and Tsui Chi-shing, whose loved ones were among the 39 people who died when a ferry taking people to watch the National Day fireworks capsized after colliding with a boat off Lamma Island on October 1, 2012.

The Lamma Island ferry collision.

The speed with which the vessel sank raised questions about the ferry company’s potential negligence and mishandling of the incident.

Leung, following an application to the Judiciary, obtained a 2,200-page report that looked into the deaths in March last year, which contained testimonies that exposed the poor accountability of those who may have played a role in the tragedy.

Last December, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said it was “not appropriate” to make public a separate internal report conducted by the Transport and Housing Bureau, as it contained “a lot of personal data.”

High Court. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Leung, who lost her 23-year-old brother in the collision, told the Witness in an interview published on Monday that she hoped the new administration, which will be sworn in on July 1, will bring some change to the incident.

“I already have nothing to lose, I have already lost the thing that was most valuable and most painful, that’s why [I] don’t mind continuing,” Leung told the Witness.

While the Coroner’ Court decided against an inquest in November 2020, according to the Coroners Ordinance, the Court of First Instance has the power to order an inquest if it is satisfied that “a coroner has failed to hold an inquest which ought to be held,” upon the application of a “properly interested person” or the justice secretary.

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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.