Hong Kong Urges Confidentiality on Lamma Ferry Tragedy Report

Hong Kong’s Transport & Housing Bureau has urged legislators to consider signing a confidentiality agreement for access to a redacted investigation report on the Marine Department in relation to the Lamma Island ferry tragedy which claimed 39 lives in 2012.

According to the bureau, the government has the duty to ensure confidential information in the report will not be leaked, so as not to prejudice any pending or possible criminal proceedings or disciplinary actions in relation to the tragedy.

As all the contents of the report are confidential, the bureau has earlier invited all legislative council members to sign a confidentiality agreement after which they could access the redacted report at a designated venue from June 15 to July 14.

The agreement would require lawmakers to read the report in person and not disclose the content to anyone else. They should not take notes, copy or reproduce any part of the report by any means.

Members who have signed the undertaking are allowed to discuss the report at meetings of the council, panels or committees which are conducted in camera and not open to the public.

They may also discuss the report at meetings attended only by members who have signed the undertaking and in such circumstances that ensure confidential information will not be disclosed.

39 people died when the Sea Smooth ferry collided with Lamma IV ferry off the Lamma Island.

Back in February, Lai Sai-ming, the captain of the Sea Smooth ferry, was sentenced to eight years in prison on the charges of manslaughter and endangering the safety of others at sea.

Chow Chi-wai, the captain of the Lamma IV, was sentenced to nine months in prison after the jury found him guilty of endangering the safety of others at sea. He was cleared of the manslaughter charges.

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