Same Old

More Manufactured Scandal from a Directionless Rag

Shock Shock Horror Horror, by Jeremy Brooks, with Creative Commons licenceWhile waiting for the Coroner’s Court to hand down its finding on Vicky Flores’ death this morning I picked up our copy of the South China Morning Post, curious to know what salacious details it might have reported this time around. And it didn’t disappoint. The following post appeared in slightly different form on A Death in Hong Kong earlier this morning. The links to the original SCMP article lead to a PDF file, so everyone can read it.

The South China Morning Post has again reported incorrectly on Vicky’s inquest. Despite the headline on page 3 of the City section today, Vicky did not ‘visit’ a ‘witch doctor’ (otherwise known as a ‘quack’) about her headaches. A friend, supposedly a ‘boyfriend’, did on her behalf, taking a picture of Vicky with him.

So much for attention to detail from the SCMP’s subeditors.

The witness mentioned in the article who made the claim that Vicky was “out of her mind” shifted uneasily in her seat when Irene, Vicky’s sister, questioned her about this, kept looking down and moved her gaze from side to side. She also raised her voice defensively when questioned about how she knew that Vicky didn’t have good relations with her family. Her claim was that Vicky told her so.

In other words, she was presenting hearsay evidence.

Another important point about the article is that it relies on the insinuation that Vicky was in debt at the time of her death. The 4 loans she was reported to have taken out were all repaid in full and on time. One of the final witness to speak was the proprietor of the business from which she took the loans, who mentioned this. The SCMP conveniently failed to follow suit.

The article’s author, Chandra Wong, should be ashamed of herself. She should also be forced to admit she didn’t even bother to attend the morning session of the inquest, when she was presumably sitting in on another trial in the same building (the report on that trial appeared beside the report on Vicky’s inquest). If she had, she would have heard the bulk of the detail of the ‘visit’ to the ‘witch doctor’ read out by Judiciary interpretor who spoke to Vicky’s supposed ‘boyfriend’ in the Philippines, and less salacious testimony presented in person by other witnesses.

Throughout this case, the SCMP has been chasing a story quite at odds with the available evidence. It will be very interested to see what it makes of the finding tomorrow. We will report that finding here as soon as it becomes available today.

Click here to read the article in full (saved as a PDF file).

There’s little more to say, except that some journalists have more gall than common sense.

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