Case not closed: Concern group for late blind footballer turns to Ombudsman in search for justice

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Those seeking justice for late blind footballer, Terry Lam Wing-shun (林榮順), have decided that government departments will be pushed into action only if the Ombudsman joins the game.

(Photo provided by Lam Wing-shun Concern Group)


Members of Lam Wing-shun Concern Group (林榮順關注小組), accompanied by Labour Party’s Fernando Cheung (張超雄), filed a complaint to the Ombudsman against the Home Affairs Bureau and the Food and Health Bureau on Monday (March 21) over alleged maladministration in handling the still mysterious death of blind footballer Terry Lam Wing-shun. (see HT’s previous coverage here and here).

It has been more than a year now since the tragic death of Terry on January 6, 2015, after representing Hong Kong in the first Hong Kong Open 5-a-Side Blind Football Tournament on December 16 and 17, where he scored the only goal for the team, during the final game.

The Hong Kong Blind Sports Federation (HKBSF), the tournament’s organiser, stands accused of attempting to relieve itself of any responsibility over Terry’s death. The Concern Group has been trying to liaise with the government to put pressure on HKBSF to reveal the truth through the release of a video of head injury that lead to his death. The response from HKBSF and government departments concerned has so far been discouraging.

“We had approached the Legislative Council Public Complaint office for help, met with the government’s Commissioner for Sports and liaised directly with the Home Affairs Bureau. The efforts haven’t had much success,” Jason Ho, a member of the Concern Group, says.

The group criticised the Home Affairs Bureau for showing reluctance to intervene, as the latter insists on claiming that the HKBSF falls outside its remit despite the HKBSF being one of the charitable bodies listed under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance that enjoys tax exemption.

The group also challenged the Home Affairs Bureau’s registration mechanism for sports organisations. “Some organisations, like the HKBSF, can call themselves ‘sports federations’ despite not registering with the Home Affairs Bureau. This malpractice is creating confusion among the public and potential sponsors,” Mr Ho says.

The Food and Health Bureau is also on the Concern Group’s radar. According to the group, HKBSF has as of yet to keep its promise to take on the hospital expenses and burial fees for Terry’s family. Nor did the Food and Health Bureau respond to its call to arrange a proper columbarium for Terry in honour of his contribution to Hong Kong’s sports sector.

The Concern Group is restating their requests to urge the HKBSF to take on the responsibility and apologise to Terry’s family.

The video tapes

At the meantime, attempts to pressure the HKBSF into handing the video tapes of Terry’s final matches to his family is showing more positive signs.

“Terry’s family already obtained the video tapes of the matches with Malaysia and India while we are still pressuring [HKBSF] for that of the other two matches with Thailand and mainland China. We are looking into the tapes in search of any new clue that may reveal the events that led up to Terry’s death. With the tapes as a memento of Terry, we hope his family can get past the tremendous sadness,” Mr Ho adds. “If the complaint to the Ombudsman is not working out, we will resort to liaising with the Home Affairs Bureau and the Secretary for Home Affairs while planning for protests.”