Police refute rumour that the cremation of 15-year-old Chan Yin-lam was done hastily to conceal evidence

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12th September 2020 – (Hong Kong) The 15-year-old teenage girl, a student from Hong Kong Design Institute, Chan Yin-lam was found dead in the sea in Yow Tong in September last year. The cause of death has been the subject of public speculation.

After the inquest was held on the 11th, the coroner pointed out to the jury this morning (11th) that it is impossible to support the verdict that Chan died of illegal killing or suicide under the standard of reasonable doubt. Therefore, the jury only needs to consider whether the deceased died in an accident or whether the cause of death was in doubt. The jury consisting of 2 men and 3 women took a recess from the court at 1.15 pm yesterday to deliberate on a decision. The jury later decided on an open verdict unanimously as the cause of her death could not be determined and the cause of death could not be determined due to the advance state of decomposition of the body.

After the ruling, there was some public feedback as to the police’s statement last that Chan’s death was ” not suspicious” at the time of the incident last year, and police were criticised for failure to unlock her phone. However, the police said today (12th) that they had made various efforts, including watching nearly 3,000 hours of closed-circuit television footage. They also clarified that Chan’s cremation was authorised by the coroner. The police posted a message on Facebook this afternoon to express their deep condolences to the family of the deceased again and hope that the family can recover as soon as possible. The post pointed out that the police understand the public’s concern about the case and have been actively investigating from multiple angles. In response to rumours that the cremation process was done hastily in order to conceal evidence, and some people questioned the identity of the deceased’s relatives, the police clarified that the rumours were malicious and inconsistent with the facts, and emphasised that the handling of the deceased’s remains was authorised by the coroner and there was no unauthorised cremation.

The police reiterated that they will carefully study the verdict issued by the Coroner’s Court later to determine appropriate follow-up actions. Regarding the hearing of Chan’s death, the police had taken statements from over 30 relatives, friends, classmates and other relevant witnesses of the incident, and examined more than 400 CCTV footage located on the campus and more than 30 CCTV footage elsewhere. The total recording time exceeded 2,900 hours. In addition, the police also hired private psychiatric expert to make an expert report and to trace the medical records of the deceased, and hired experts to conduct DNA testing for Chan and her mother.

In fact, the judge in this case thanked the police and the case supervisor for investigating the case. The Coroner of the case pointed out to the jury yesterday that it is impossible for the evidence in court to support the verdict that Chan died of illegal killing or suicide under the standard of unreasonable doubt. Therefore, the jury only needed to consider whether the deceased died accidentally or the cause of death was doubtful. There was no witness or direct evidence reflecting on what happened.

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