Criminal investigation against former SMG head closed

Fong Soi Kun

An investigation into the supposed link between the negligence of Fong Soi Kun, former head of the Meteorological and Geophysical Service Bureau (SMG), and the deaths recorded during the passage of Typhoon Hato in 2017 has been closed without charges being pressed against Fong.

Lawyer Hong Weng Kuan, a former unsuccessful candidate to the Legislative Assembly, had filed a lawsuit with the Public Prosecution Office (MP) against Fong. Hong claimed that Fong committed homicide by negligence on August 23, 2017, when Typhoon Hato hit Macau. The typhoon killed 10 people and injured hundreds, also causing millions of patacas in damage.

According to media reports, the MP could not draw a connection between Fong’s action – or inaction – during the time of the typhoon and the 10 casualties that resulted from it. The Office has therefore decided to close the case.

Even though the investigation was filed end of May this year, Hong has the right to file an appeal against the decision. If he chooses to do so, the case will go to the Criminal Prosecution Court. In that case, Fong may be summoned by the judge to testify.

The general public was not satisfied with Fong’s performance during the typhoon. Fong submitted his resignation the day after the typhoon, which was accepted by the Chief Executive on the same day.

A subsequent investigation conducted by the government revealed that Fong was making decisions and giving orders from home, prior to Typhoon Hato as well as during it. In light of this revelation, the Chief Executive suspended Fong from pension rights for four years, worth an approximate of MOP4 million.

Fong appealed the Chief Executive’s decision in the courts, which ruled in favor of him. A subsequent appeal was filed to the Court of Second Instance by the CE, who lost this second appeal before an ultimate appeal, which is still in judicial review. Staff reporter

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