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Yu Man Hon incident

Regarding the Yu Man Hon incident, the morale of officers must not be an excuse for their wrongdoings.

I would like to respond to the speech by Mr. Chiu See Wai, the chairman of the Immigration Service Officers?Association. It was reported in the South China Morning Post on 22 September 2000, in an article titled “Unions Urge Fair Hearing?

Mr. Chiu commented on the internal investigation of Yu Man Hon incident. He was worried that the morale of officers might drop if the department seeks scapegoats to relieve public pressure.

Moreover, he warned that there should be a balance between staff errors and the lack of manpower. I can hardly agree with what Mr. Chiu said. According to him, the shortage of manpower has exerted great pressure on frontline officers. Hence, the incident is excusable.

The incident is the result of reckless decisions made by the officers. These officers lack sensitivity and competency when dealing with a mentally impaired subject. The shortage of manpower is not the main cause.

First, the officers failed to identify Yu Man Hon’s autism. During the custody, the boy lost his temper and urinated in the interview room.

The Shenzhen officers reminded the SAR officers that Yu Man Hon might have a mental problem, but the immigration officers ignored it.

These facts have shown that it is unreasonable and insensible for the officers to disregard the boy’s mental disability.

Secondly, the officer misbelieved that the boy was an illegal immigrant merely based on surface evidence. Such evidence included the brand names on his clothes, his shoes, and his response to questions regarding popular local singers.

It is common for ordinary Hong Kong people to have a bias towards mainlanders. But it is surprising that the officers judged the case with bias and prejudice. No in-depth inquiries or reasonable decisions have been made.

If it is proved that the officers have performed their duties recklessly, they must be responsible for the misconduct and the association should provide no excuse either on the grounds of official morale or manpower shortage.

Chan Wing Yue

Don’t erase history

It is said that history will be eliminated from secondary school curricula. I have also heard rumours that it will be cancelled in university education.

I strongly urge education specialists or the Education Department to think twice before they “erase history?

History provides us with a basis for reflection. I believe that we can gain a lot from studying virtues or wrongdoings of the past.

Moreover, there are still students who have a great passion for history. And if it were not provided at the university level, who would teach history to the next generation?

Name withheld by request
Kowloon City





Letters to the Editor, with the writer’s name, address and daytime contact number should be sent to: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Room 202, Humanities Building, New Asia College, or faxed to 2603-6610, or e-mailed to Letters may be edited for reasons of space, style and clarity.