Death ends gangster's fight for rights

Local | Phoebe Ng Apr 21, 2017
"King of Robbers" Yip Kai-foon's legal battle for prisoners' right to medical treatment of their choice may go with him to his grave, pan-democratic lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung said.

Yip, paralyzed during a shootout with police in 1996, filed a judicial review against prison authorities, saying his rights were violated by denying him traditional Chinese medicine to treat his cancer, which claimed his life on Wednesday at age 55.

"The court has already granted leave for the case," Leung told a Commercial Radio morning talk show yesterday. "It is regrettable. We have spent years working on it, and it now feels like our efforts have been wasted."

Leung, of the Neighbourhood and Worker's Service Centre, said the case "did stand a chance" of winning, but it will now be dropped unless Yip's relatives continue to pursue it. "They can make a case to the court, saying Yip had been denied Chinese medical treatment, and that contributed to his death," Leung said.

He said Yip, pictured, used to complain about his insomnia because of pain. "He had already been taking the maximum dose of morphine," said Leung, a prisoners' rights advocate.

Leung raised the issue on multiple occasions to the Correctional Services Department and officials, but they felt they only needed to provide Western medicine under current law.

"The law excluded Chinese medicine for inmates because it was legislated before Chinese medicine was given its official status around 2000," Leung said.

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June 2017