A Change of Status in the Vicky Flores Case
Sometimes success can bring a little melancholy, a pause to recall what else could have happened when everything you’ve done has really been in defence of something second best. Just over six months ago Vicky Flores disappeared from Discovery Bay here on Lantau island in Hong Kong. Her body washed up near a ferry pier on the other side of the island a few days later. From the outset it seemed that the police were not culturally competent enough to investigate the case, and were lacking in enthusiasm under any circumstance. A week passed before they bothered to interview neighbours. The death of a Filipino domestic helper in Hong Kong is not always a cause of urgent concern.
In the intermission, as the Justice for Vicky concern group has asked, agitated, accused, coordinated and waited, our primary aim has been to achieve just what the title suggests – Justice, in whatever form it may come. The police seem to have passed an open finding to the Coroner’s Court, which is hardly satisfactory but far superior to their earlier inclination towards suicide with some sort of fanciful ‘occult’ involvement.
Perhaps we can see that as a victory in itself, a small triumph of public pressure against police cases closed through automatic suggestion. The Hong Kong police, however much their public relations office might protest otherwise, are still only a few short steps away from the paramilitary the British created here. And finally, today we received news of the only avenue left open for justice to both be done and seen to be done.
A coroner’s inquest will be held into Vicky’s death next month, in mid-November.
As this will involve a fresh inquiry we’re hopeful that Vicky’s home and work life before she disappeared will be investigated – the police showed no interest there. From this point on we’ll just watch and listen, consider the process and what else we can do. We’ll attend the inquest of a woman some of us knew in passing but never really met. And why? Because we need to ensure that no death in Hong Kong goes unexplained, that no domestic helper just disappears, that no Filipino is shipped home in a box accompanied by whispers of suicide.
When the final verdict is given, even if it comforts no-one, we’ll need to know only one thing. We did all we could.