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【Ko Chung-ming: Wounds of Hong Kong】—Raymond Yeung

08 Jun

【Ko Chung-ming: Wounds of Hong Kong】—Raymond Yeung

Raymond Yeung  30 years old    high school teacher 

 

On June 12th of 2019, Raymond Yeung attended a protest against the amendment of the extradition law in Admiralty. At 3 p.m, a confrontation broke out between the police and the protesters. The police fired 240 tear gas bombs, deadly rubber bullets, and bean bag rounds to disperse tens of thousands of protesters. Yeung was outside the Government Headquarters, standing in front of the police’s line of defense. He kept watching their actions when he was hit in the face by a police projectile. He would never have thought it would be the last thing he ever saw with his right eye. 


 

This event marked the start of endless police violence. Raymond Yeung was the first eye injury victim of police brutality. “It felt like someone hit my eye very hard.” Yeung described. He only had 2.5% sight remaining in his right eye, which is medically considered blind. His surgery was a failure. Since the wound was too big, nothing could have been done. There is no difference in his eye in terms of appearance, but everything he sees is blurry, with only the edge left clear. “It’s very irritating. I’d rather cover it up when I’m at work,” said Yeung. Yeung’s injury caused him great difficulty with his daily work, but he was eager to return two weeks after his injury. “My colleagues volunteered to grade my students’ exam papers for me. Giving them the extra workload made me feel bad. I am a liberal studies teacher, where students need guidance from teachers on IES (Independent Enquiry Study). So, I needed to return to work for the benefit of my students.” 

 

Yeung was charged with rioting and could be sentenced with up to ten years in prison. “If one commits a crime, their teaching license can be revoked.” The event of June 12th was only the beginning of police violence. Since then, the riots have intensified, and citizens have been continually attacked by the police. For instance, students have been shot into their chests and kidneys during other riots. On the evening of August 11th, a young woman was shot in the eye in Tsim Sha Tsui with a bean bag round. This incident made Yeung feel very guilty. “If I had voiced my complaints, her injury might have been avoided,” said Yeung. 

 

Nowadays, even if a “Letter of No Objection” is obtained for protests in Hong Kong, it always ends up with people being attacked by the police. The protest on June 12th was originally a legal and approved protest that later became labeled a “riot” by Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Even so, it didn’t stop Yeung from attending protests. “If you commit another crime during bail, you’d be imprisoned immediately. I felt better after refusing to renew bail.” If the police don’t promptly prosecute the case, they will release the person unconditionally.  

 

Yeung teaches at the Diocesan Girls’ School, which is a traditional prestigious school in Hong Kong. Principal Stella Lau was a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee. Her political view is extremely conservative and pro-Beijing. Fortunately for him, the school didn’t pressure Yeung about his arrest. “Everyone is kinda ‘watching’. Nobody dares to mess with me and everyone pretends as nothing happened,” said Yeung.  

 

Not all teachers are that lucky. Since the start of all the protests, at least 80 teachers were arrested. As of November of 2019, the Education Bureau had received 123 complaints against these teachers for the use of “hate speech,” “provocative behavior,” and “inappropriate teaching materials.” Two of these teachers have been suspended. The Education Bureau claimed that if a school doesn’t cooperate with the investigation, it has the right to cancel the professional qualification of the principal. 

 

“The government and the Education Bureau continue to spread ‘White Terror’, hoping that teachers will not have a political stance. All I wanted to say is, teachers must stand their ground politically. Students need teachers who can think logically and individually.” Yeung gave a speech at a teaching rally on January 3rd in 2020. “Students would not respect the teachers who would only say ‘I don’t know’ when encountering political problems and police violence. As teachers, we need to express our opinions to let students and our society aware that we do stand with our political stance.” Yeung filed a complaint and a request for compensation for the police’s illegal violence against him. He also requested the court to order the actions of the police to be illegal. 

 

Photography:Ko Chung Ming 高仲明 
Text:Choi Wai Man 蔡慧敏 
Translation:Joanna Ng  (Switch language on top left corner)


About the series▾

Ko Chung-ming is a local Hong Kong photographer, having an over 20-year of experience in the field, he specializes in shooting photo-stories, in-depth coverage. His work 《Wounds of Hong Kong 港傷》 entered theSony World Photography Awards 2020 – Professional Group last three.

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”Scars and bruises may fade, but we must remember what caused them.  

Ko states that the purpose of《Wounds of Hong Kong》is to record police brutality, and provided an in-depth interview story with each Hong Kong people who engaged in the movement. Amnesty International Hong Kong picked 10 stories out of 24, presenting to the public.

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