I could have helped, Roy Kwong tells protest inquest

Former Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong told the Coroner’s Court on Friday that he regretted not being allowed to speak to a protester before he fell to his death in 2019, saying he believed he would have been able to help if police had let him get involved.

Kwong said he ran to Pacific Place in Admiralty from the Legco building at around 4pm on June 15, 2019 after receiving messages from the public asking him to help 35-year-old protester, Marco Leung.

Earlier that day, Leung, dressed in a yellow raincoat, had unfurled an anti-government banner on a construction platform on the fourth floor of the shopping mall and refused to leave the site.

Kwong said that after he arrived at the scene, he immediately asked a police officer there to let him enter the site and talk to Leung.

He said the officer came back after a while and told him they couldn’t agree to his request, as their negotiation team was on the way.

Kwong said he had stayed in the area from around 5pm to 9pm to observe the situation, but had not been allowed to speak to Leung despite making repeated requests.

The former legislator told the court that as a long-time district councillor and social worker, he had successfully helped persuade people not to commit suicide during similar crises in the past, adding that he had often played the role of a mediator to de-escalate tensions during the 2019 protests.

He said with his experience he believed he would have been of help, had he been allowed to step in.

When asked by coroner’s officer Timmy Yip whether he thought it was reasonable for the police not to let him intervene, Kwong said he couldn’t tell, but added that it was a pity.

During the hearing, Kwong became emotional as he recounted the moment he realised Leung had fallen, saying he collapsed and broke into tears.

He said he immediately went to the hospital to check on Leung, and soon found out that he had died.

The ex-lawmaker said he saw Leung’s mother at the funeral, and she comforted him by saying “you already did very well.”

Kwong said the incident had left him with a “big wound”.

Coroner David Ko thanked Kwong for attending the inquest at short notice, saying he understood that it could be hard for people to talk about their grief, but sometimes people expressing their feelings can “untie the knots in their hearts”.

Ko added that he hoped the inquest could avoid similar incidents from happening again.

Earlier in Friday’s hearing, Sean Lin, a senior police negotiator told the court that the police consider a number of factors when deciding whether to let someone intervene in a crisis situation, such as whether the person has expertise in crisis negotiation, and whether they know the subject.

He said he believed it had been reasonable for the police to refuse people’s requests to talk to Leung that day.

The inquest is set to continue on Monday.