Memorial service for Hong Kong student Chow Tsz-lok draws thousands

Memorial service for Hong Kong student Chow Tsz-lok draws thousands

People from all walks of life mourned the 22-year-old, who died a month ago after falling from a car park in unexplained circumstances near a police operation

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A long queue forms outside the memorial hall with people wanting to pay their respects to Chow Tsz-lok.
Photo: SCMP/ Sam Tsang

Thousands of Hongkongers attended a memorial service on Thursday for Chow Tsz-lok, a 22-year-old Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) student, who died a month ago after falling from a car park in unexplained circumstances near a police operation.

Chow died in hospital on November 8 after suffering a severe brain injury. His funeral will be held on Friday.

The student was reported to have fallen from the third floor to the second floor of a car park in Tseung Kwan O on November 4, near the site of a protest and police clearance operation.

On Thursday evening, Chow’s family held a public Christian service at Po Fook Memorial Hall in Tai Wai.

Before nightfall, a long queue had formed outside the hall with people wanting to pay their respects to Chow. They included secondary school pupils, university students, workers and some dressed all in black and wearing masks.

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Although the service was scheduled to end at 8pm, the doors were kept open because of the large turnout.

A black-clad man in his 20s, who did not want to be named, said he had been active in the ongoing anti-government protests, and that he wanted to pay respect to Chow and others he believed had lost their lives during the movement.

“The investigation must go on, regardless of what the truth is [about Chow’s death],” he said.
Hundreds protested in Central, mourning for Chow Tsz-lok, on the day he died last month.
Photo: SCMP / Nora Tam

A 45-year-old housewife, surnamed Ng, brought white flowers to the hall.

“I have children too and seeing Chow’s death being filled with uncertainties pains my heart,” Ng said, adding she was not sure the Coroner’s Court inquest would shine a light on the student’s fall.

Kelvin Leung Ming-hin, vice-president of the university’s student union, said he hoped people would not forget about Chow and the circumstances surrounding his death.

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Leung also said he hoped Chow’s family could eventually recover from the loss.

There were dozens of wreaths from family, friends, HKUST staff and alumni, as well as from local politicians including Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu.

Inside the hall, attendants laid white flowers in front of Chow’s portrait, as a video slide show of the young man’s photos was played on a screen. The video showed Chow as a child, young student and sportsman.

HKUST president Wei Shyy, dean of engineering Tim Cheng Kwang-ting and school council chairman Andrew Liao Cheung-sing attended the service but did not speak to the media, nor did Chow’s family. Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and singer Denise Ho Wan-sze, a pro-democracy activist, were also there.

The exact circumstances of Chow’s fall remain unclear, but many blame police, who were at the time conducting clearance operations nearby against protesters trying to disrupt an officer’s wedding.

Some also alleged police delayed medical help for Chow, who was only put into an ambulance about 30 minutes after he was found. The force said no officers entered the car park in that time.

Chow’s death sparked both peaceful and violent protests involving clashes with police.

Link Reit, which runs the car park, released security camera footage from inside the facility but the clips did not capture the fall.

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