Friday, March 25, 2016

The Monkey Dynasty

This story was written by Sze Long Cheung, a P4 student with a brilliant imagination.

Beijing fell. One by one, the citizens of the city fled, screaming and kicking at the furry monkey warriors. And after some time they made the journey down to Shanghai.

“Emperor Yang! Beijing has fallen and they are marching towards Shanghai!” The guard explained to the emperor.

“Chi Yang! Haven’t I told you a million times before to not bother me? Next time, I’ll have you beheaded!”

Chi Yang sighed. That emperor was always like this. But he wasn’t going to give up yet. Fiercely and firmly, he faced the emperor.

“Emperor! If you don’t listen to me and get rid of those fuzzy furballs, then this dynasty will come to a terrible end!”

Oops. That was a bad move. The emperor looked like he was going to explode out of the window.

“CHIII YANGGG! How dare you tell me my kingdom will come to an end just because of those useless furballs! I should have your head stuck on a pike in front of the palace! Guards! Throw him in the dungeons!”

The guards wrestled him to the ground! “Stop!” he giggled. They didn’t know that he was ticklish? Eventually he lost consciousness.

Chi Yang regained consciousness to find himself imprisoned in a dark, humid place. He gazed around the gloomy cell. The guards who imprisoned him stood next to the rusty metal bars, cackling wildly. “The emperor’s gonna behead him. We can steal all his money!” They laughed.

“If only his majesty will let us,” another teased.

Chi Yang watched sadly. All he wanted was for the kingdom to survive. But now, he was just an old prisoner, waiting to be executed. He stuck his filthy hands into his pockets. He felt something. Something really crumpled. He slowly took it out. What on earth was it? But what he only saw was a note. As he unfolded it, a hologram appeared on top of the note. It showed the monkeys celebrating their victory over Beijing. But there was one monkey happier than all the others. As he peered closely, he saw a tiny little crown with the words ‘The Monkey King.’

Chi Yang was filled with fury. With a hand, he swooped across the hologram, trying to punch the celebrity monkey. Suddenly, his hand disappeared into the hologram! And before he knew it, Chi Yang found himself in a magical vortex of stars...

After what seemed like a billion years, the vortex stopped spinning. Chi Yang found himself on a piece of dry land, with only nothing, nothing and nothing. He looked down at his clothes. At least they were there. But that was all he had. His ragged, torn clothes. Out of nowhere, he remembered the note. Was it still there? He stuffed his hands into his pockets. And there it was, unharmed but soaking wet. Wet!? Well, maybe the vortex caused it. Or the stars. Or the imaginary rain. I guess I’ll never know, he thought.

Unfolding the note, he spotted a sign. It read: “Welcome to Monkeygolia. All may go in, but few will come out!”

Chi Yang shivered. He knew what this meant. He racked his brain to remember this. In 1352, he was studying riddles and codes. He found a coffee-stained scroll in Monkeygolia with this exact saying (A perfect pair!) and its meaning. People must respect the monkey king, help him and complete an impossible challenge. “Noooooo!!!! Chi Yang cried. He would never help the furballs conquer his own home. Holding the note firmer, he marched down the way of the Monkey kingdom.

Half through his journey to the north disaster struck. Suddenly 18 monkeys equipped with expensive armour Attacked Chi Yang! Frightened, he froze like a cooked duck, Unwilling to fight.

“You come with me!” Squeaked the first monkey, that seemed to be the leader of the pesky group. The rest of the monkeys nodded.

Chi Yang unfroze. If they took him to the city, he could secretly destroy it!

“Okay,” agreed Chi Yang. “Just don’t eat me!”

The head monkey shot him a look. “Who made you think we will eat you, the servant? Ha ha ha!”

Chi Yang sighed. “I’ll come with you.”

Surprisingly, the monkey’s attention was not on Chi Yang but on a newspaper shop!

They crowded around the shop to get one for five shiny, golden Monkepounds.

Chi Yang secretly peered over the monkeys heads to see what on earth was so monkey-attractive when he knew he shouldn’t be. The headlines flashed: Monkey Kingdom conquers Shanghai! Chinese emperor flees toward Shen Zhen!

He wanted to scream. He wanted to cry. He wanted to kick the emperor for not listening to his warning. Still, he pretended not to notice so the furballs so that they wouldn’t realise his plan to kill the monkey king. What a tragedy!    
It was only 10 Kilometers till Chi Yang reached the still-celebrating Monkey City. But the journey was not going well. The pesky annoying monkeys teased, frightened, and kicked Chi Yang. He didn’t even get a short chance to pull out the note. Poor Chi Yang! And what a bunch of monkeys! Still, Chi Yang fought dehydration, hunger, and EQ problems. But he didn’t give up.

“Fight to the end,” Chi Yang thought. “Make a difference. You are the one who will end this Monkey-Human War!”

As the thoughts raced around his mind, he laid upon the carpet as the monkeys escorted him into the palace.

The moment Chi Yang was in the fortress city, he sobbed secretly. “I’m afraid,” he whispered to himself. And there was no more time to think or say more. An enormous golden gong sat right in front of him but Chi Yang could only stare at it, amazed. Just then, a monkey marched in front of the gigantic gong. That gong was a hundred times the size of the monkey. Unbelievably, the monkey smashed the gong with all its might, and out came a distracting, super loud gong sound which alerted the whole city. The citizens of the city, however, were not as smart as the next city. The citizens sprinted around screaming: “Fire drill! Lockdown! Brace yourselves!”

Even the guards themselves were not the smartest monkey on the block. They tried to calm them down, but individually! It would take them hours! On the other hand, smart Chi Yang found the opportunity to escape. As fast as a light, he sprinted across the city, crossing shops and lakes. With his fear, he forgot that he wanted to assassinate the king! Wow!

The guards turned. When they saw Chi Yang fleeing the city, they ran after him, yelling: “Get him!” When Chi Yang was running for his dear life, he noticed that a ray of light shone from the note. He unfolded it and up came the hologram of the dungeon. Just then, a weary monkey leapt towards him.

Would Chi Yang escape in time to live?  

Chi Yang tumbles down to the dungeon. He was reaching out for the note when something caught his eye. The dungeon was open, the guards were dead. Chi Yang panicked. What caused this? He trembled. As he tip-toed outside, his heart beat a million miles a minute.
He had a look outside. The monkeys were there, celebrating the defeat of China. Chi Yang couldn’t bear to look at the greedy monkeys. He just stayed in the dungeon; and thus ended the illustrious Ming Dynasty.   

Saturday, December 19, 2015

One of my best students, Jayden Yiu, presented me with these two poems. I'm delighted to post them on my Blog.

Going Home

I walk down the street
as the rain pours down
My clothes are all wet
as it was raining like
the world would drown

I ran without an umbrella with everyone staring at
I ran fast and crazy
like an insane warrior

Why does it have to
rain when I go walking
on the street
I would rather eat an entire farm of
purple, distgusting beets!!!!

The Exams and Beyond...

I squiggle and squirm
when I hear “exam”
All that studying
makes my brain jam

My classmates can still
go out and play like a boss
on a throne
But what can I do
when I’m sitting on my chair
facing my textbook and all alone

Everyone hates exams
and so do I
Why did someone invent
a stupid thing like this
Why? WHY? WHY!?!?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Love is the Best Present

This is a short poem written by one of my best students, Adrian, who is part of my creative writing class. I was delighted when he presented it to me during the lesson.

"Love is the Best Present"

You are rich people

Fly more and see

how many people are poor and have bad lives

Go, give and help the poor.

Love is the best present.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Magic Frog

Stewart Sloan

Simon was meandering home from work. It’d been a long day, the transportation was packed and he was in no rush to get home so he could listen to his Mother-in-Law telling him about how her other sons, Sons and Daughters -in-Law were earning so much more than he was and living in much bigger, better apartments. Her name was Leung and she was mother to three daughters and two sons.

He stopped off at a convenience store and bought himself two cans of beer. Taking them into a nearby park, found a secluded spot, well away from prying eyes where he could enjoy them in relative peace before going home.

Simon Leung worked as a senior accountant in a marketing firm and the work was mundane, unchallenging and to be honest, down right boring. However, it paid the mortgage and put food on the table and his wife, Lily, didn’t share his Mother-in-Law’s feelings. She was happy with their lot and felt bad about her mother’s constant nagging. She made it up to him for putting up with her mother by being a loving and attentive wife.

Simon relaxed, resting his back against a tree and sipping on the first of his cold, cool beers. His shirt would show signs of where he had been but at this point in time he didn’t care. He finished the first one and set the empty tin down, opened up the second and it was then he noticed the old lady standing in front of him. She was obviously poor, judging at least by the state of her clothes and hair. She was looking down at him intently and Simon felt in his pockets for lose change. She was obviously going to beg for some money.

Simon rose to his feet, his beer can in his hand and reached into his pocket for some coins. When he looked up the old lady was smiling at him.

“Hello, Simon.” She said. Simon peered at her face, searching for a memory. She obviously knew him, but he couldn’t remember having seen her before.

“Of course you don’t remember me,” she said.”But I remember you!”

“Who are you?” Simon asked politely, still wracking his brains as to who this person might be.

“Never mind.” She said. “The important thing is that I know who you are and I know what you need!”

Before he could think of anything to say, the old lady stretched our her hand and offered him something. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to take it, but, if it got rid of her then what was the harm? He took the item in his left hand without looking at it. The old lady smiled, and turned to go.

“Wait!” Said Simon. “Who are you and how do you know my name?”

But she was gone, walking quickly for such an old lady, and was soon out of sight amongst the trees.

Simon looked down at the object in his hand and saw that it was a rubber frog. Why on Earth would anyone give him a rubber frog. He wondered if it would croaked if he squeezed it, so he tried. There was no sound, nothing. He tossed it into the bushes and finished his beer and decided that it was time to face his Mother-in-Law. He threw both of the empties in the nearest bin and set off. He suddenly remembered that his wife had asked him to buy some lemons for her mother. To forget them would be to incur more derision than necessary so he headed in the direction of the wet market.

After a few moments he came to the shopping centre, under which the wet market was located. It was then that he saw a neighbour. It was a gentleman by the name of Chan who lived a few doors down from him. They had been known to spend a happy hour sitting in the park with a can of beer or two.

“Chan!” Simon called out, expecting a greeting in reply. It was entirely possible that they might end up have a beer together. Mr. Chan heard the greeting and looked about himself. He looked in Simon’s direction and Simon waved to catch his eye. Strangely, there was no look of recognition on Chan’s face. It was as if he was looking straight through Simon without seeing him.

How strange, thought Simon. Perhaps his eyes are getting bad. Chan was usually such a friendly guy. Simon shrugged it off and carried on. The matter of Chan’s eyesight reminded him, he needed a new prescription himself. The constant use of computer screens to create spreadsheets was tiring his eyes as well.

He stopped outside his favourite optical shop and it was there that it all started. There were two other shoppers, one on either side of him, and he could see them clearly, reflected in the shop window. But, where was he? He was standing slightly behind the man on his right and moved forward so that his elbow brushed against his. The man looked down, but didn’t say anything.
He brushed his arm as if to get rid of a fly. Simon made sure there was no one behind him and stepped back. No. He had no reflection in the shop window. He could see everything else, people walking past, but he could not see himself!

A thought crashed into his mind. The frog! He had to find the frog! In a panic he rushed back to the park and the tree he had been sitting under when the old woman approached him. He scrabbled through the bushes and, thank the gods! There was the frog!

He clutched it to his chest as if it were made of gold and peered down at it. He looked around to see if anyone was walking in his direction. There was a couple but they were some distance away. Tentatively, he pressed the frog. He didn’t feel anything happen. Standing there he waited until the couple were closer and as they walked passed he said, “Good evening.” They turned to look at him and nodded, unsure of who he was and why he would greet them. He was visible again.

Simon held the frog in his hand and a combination of fear and excitement rose in his chest.

. . . .

Simon rushed home. He was so excited it wasn’t until he was turning the key in the door that he realised he had forgotten the lemons for his Mother-in-Law. He was also 45 minutes later than usual.

He knew his wife wasn’t going to question him but her mother was another matter. There was the usual diatribe about how much better her other family members treated her. None of them would forget to buy fresh lemons for an old lady. Simon bore the rebuke in silence, as did his wife. The thought occurred to him, as it had many times in the past as to, if her other sons treat her so much better, why she didn’t live with one of them. Simon knew the answer. They wouldn’t have her.

Simon retrieved part of a truce by going to a supermarket after dinner and buying the lemons. She was quick to point out that they were not as fresh as the ones from the wet market but then, Simon knew that if he had gone out to a farm and picked them straight from a tree they still wouldn’t be good enough.

. . . .

Over the next few days Simon didn’t use the frog. It never left his side but, as tempted as he was to experiment, he bided his time. Then one day, the frog in his pocket, he went into the gents, made sure that no one else was there, and standing in front of the mirror squeezed the frog. His image in the mirror vanished. Immediately he squeezed it again and he was back. A plan was forming in his mind but he had to test it thoroughly.

That evening when all the other staff had left he tried an experiment. Going back to the toilet he took his desk stapler and placed it on the sink below the mirror. He squeezed the frog and his image disappeared from the mirror. Then he picked up the stapler and saw it suspended in the air before him in the mirror. Then he placed it in his shirt pocket and saw it disappear. Any object that was part of him, his clothes, a bag he was carrying, would become invisible. A thousand possibilities opened up before him and he squeezed the frog, bringing back his reflection in the mirror. He studied his face in that reflection and wondered if he was really capable of the evil he was contemplating.

. . . .

Over the next few days simon spent some time looking in novelty shops around Tsim Sha Tsui. The vast majority of them sold sex toys and while some of the items were certainly interesting they were not what he was looking for. The problem was, he was not absolutely sure what exactly he was looking for. He would recognise it when he saw it, of that he was sure.

Simon was not in a rush. He was still preparing his plan, the ultimate crime, and, as it is said, revenge is a dish best eaten cold. Once he was ready he would act, but it wouldn’t be in the heat of passion. His revenge would be cold, premeditated and precise.

He wasn’t sure how many shops he had been to. He eventually found what he was looking for in a novelty shop in Mong Kok in a centre that was mostly electronics on the ground floor, fashion on the second and sex toys on the third. It was a face mask resembling that of a mutated zombie. There was even blood and gore around the creature’s mouth. It was made of soft latex and rolled up neatly into a pouch. He could put it on and remove it in seconds. The first part of his plan was complete.

Over the next few weeks he asked his wife about her shopping trips. What time did she normally go, what did she buy. He told her he was concerned about how much she had to carry home, especially when her mother made no effort to help her. At the same time Simon was careful to be kind and attentive to the old woman. She responded, slowly, and for the present it looked as if a truce had been declared. She actually became solicitous about his lunch and asked her daughter to start preparing suitable lunch boxes so that he didn’t have to eat the unhealthy rubbish from the fast food shops.

Simon had moments of doubt. Could he really go through with what he was planning? The frog never left his side. On one occasion he was tempted to throw it away where it could never be found. He also wondered who the old lady was, how she had known his name and why she had chosen him to give the frog to.

Then one night his Mother-in Law had been particularly vitriolic. She had spent the day with one of her other daughters who treated her to dim sum. Simon had never done that for her. She went on and on about how beautiful their house was and how respectful that side of the family was. Why, she wanted to know, wasn't Simon as caring and respectful as they were. It was at that point that Simon made up his mind to proceed with the plan. He’d had enough of the hateful old woman's attitude. The sudden change in her mother’s behaviour badly upset Simon's wife and that night, in the privacy of their bedroom, Lily wept silently in his arms. His wife's distress made Simon all the more determined to go through with his plan.

. . . .

Simon chose the day carefully. He found out that Lily had to visit her doctor for a regular check up. Her mother would be at home by herself. It would be perfect. But he had to make an excuse to get out of his office for a few hours. Of course, he had leave accrued and it was easy for him to tell his boss that he wanted to accompany his wife to the doctor. What he wouldn’t
tell his boss was that he had to make a quick visit home first.

After the staff had left and the office was quiet, Simon practiced with the mask and the frog. He stood in front of the toilet mirror wearing the mask, went invisible and then pressed the frog. The image he presented would be terrifying to anyone that wasn’t expecting it, especially an old woman.

He then spent several days in self examination. Could he really do the crime he was contemplating? Could he live with himself and how could he live with Lily, knowing that he was responsible for killing her mother?

Then a window of opportunity presented itself. The entire office was invited for a seminar and it would be easy for Simon to sneak out for an hour without being noticed. These seminars were incredibly boring and everyone took advantage of them to take care of some personal business. Even if he was missed it would be assumed that he was just taking care of something. The important thing was to be there at the beginning and the end.

It was a Wednesday, Lily would go out to do her shopping at half past ten, Simon, invisible, would be waiting outside the apartment when she left.

The day came……..

The seminar started, introductions were made. Simon stood proud and introduced himself. He even made of show of knocking over a glass of water so that everyone would notice his presence. Then when the time was right he slipped out.

The journey back to the apartment building was quick and Simon slipped behind some bushes to press the frog. Once invisible he took the mask out of the holder and slipped it over head. He would have liked to have done it when he was visible but time was of the essence and he had to be sure of being in and out before Lily came home.

He stood by the security door and waiting for her to leave the building. Before the door could close he squeezed in. If he had brushed the door no one would notice, the breeze would have blown it. He waited, invisible, in the lift lobby for the lift to come down. There were several people waiting and the lifts were small. He didn’t want to give it all away by brushing against someone so he waited until the there was no one going up, got into the lift and pressed the button. So far it was all going to plan.

Outside the door of his apartment, he took the mask from his pocket and placed it over his head. He had done this many times in the privacy of the toilet near his office. He knew every bump and grove of the mask. When he was sure in it on properly he slipped the key into the door and opened it. He head his Mother-in-Law call out for Lily.

“Have you forgotten something?” She asked. And then she saw the front door close all by itself.

Simon watched her carefully. All thoughts, all hesitation as to whether he should go through with this vanished. The old bitch was scared and Simon fed off her fear like an animal feeding off the carcass of a victim.

The old woman stood there wringing her hands; unsure of what was happening. Once again she called out for her daughter. “Lily, are you here?”

Simon remained quiet and the urge to snigger was almost overwhelming.

He watched as his Mother-in-Law turned back to her bedroom. This was getting better by the minute he thought.

As the old woman entered her room she reached behind her to close the door and it was at that moment Simon grasped the door, holding it firmly open. The old woman spun about, quickly for her age as Simon pressed the frog and in one terrifying instant he became visible.

He watched as the old woman’s eyes widen in shock. The hateful old woman, clutched her chest and sank to her knees, her mouth working soundlessly, her face a grimace of pain. The heart attack Simon had hoped to achieve had become a reality.

He looked down at his Mother-in-Law as she lay on the ground. Clutching her chest, gasping, painfully, for air, as death overtook her.

When he was sure she was gone he made his way out of the apartment. Sadly, it would be the painful job of Lily to find the old woman, call emergency services and then call him. Simon had to be sure he was in a position to answer her call with the right amount of surprise, shock and horror. He had to get back to the seminar as quickly as possible so that he would be in the right place for witnesses to see his reaction to the news.

Simon waited until the lift arrived by its own accord and got in. He didn’t want to draw attention to himself, even in his state of invisibility. Once again on the ground floor he waited for someone to open the security door so that he could sneak out behind them.

Still invisible he took off the mask, rolled it up and dropped it in a rubbish bin. He would never need it again.

The he walked into a park area, found a quiet spot so that he wouldn’t frighten anyone by suddenly appearing and pressed the frog. He had no way of knowing if he was visible until he got to a reflective surface but, having done it so many times in the past, he had no doubt about what would happen.

And then he heard the child scream. And the adult standing next to the child saying, “Why do you wear such a stupid mask where children are playing?”

Other adults shouted at him and asked him the same question.

What was the problem, Simon thought.

Then he pulled out his phone and saw his reflection in its screen.

The zombie stared back at him!

He ran his hands over his face, feeling every bump and crevice. He felt around his throat and the back of his head for the edges of the mask, there was nothing, it had fused with his own face. How could that be possible. He remembered taking off a mask, rolling it up and throwing it into a rubbish bin. He had to get it, had to find it. He turned and ran, heedless of the comments and curses of the people around him. He found the rubbish bin and to his horror there was an old woman rummaging through it. She actually had the mask in her hands. She had unrolled it and even from where he was standing he could see that it was his face. He ran at the old woman, who, seeing this face dropped the mask and ran for her life.

Simon picked up the mask and smoothed it out. It was his face. Heedless of the people around him he pushed it over his head and once again looked at the screen of his phone. He was back, but the mask was wrinkled and didn’t fit properly. He had to get away, to think and figure out how this had happened. He put his hand in his pocket and pressed the frog.

Simon had no idea of what transpired over the next few hours. The next time he looked at his watch it was late afternoon. He went into a public toilet, made sure that sure that no one was there and pressed the frog. The relief he felt almost weakened his knees. He was back. He felt around the edge of his face and the back of his head. It was not a mask, it was his face. He was back.

Simon went to the nearest convenience store and bought himself two cans of beer and went to a nearby park. Sitting underneath a tree he took out his mobile phone and once again checked his face in the screen. The reflection was his own. It was then that he noticed all the missed calls, seven from Lily, several from his colleagues.

He opened the first can and drank deeply and it was not until he had drunk half of the can that he looked up to find the old woman looking down at him.

“Yes, you’re back,” she said. “How do you feel now.” She asked.

“What have you done to me,” he asked weakly. “The mask, the horror is still beneath my face.”

“Yes, because you used the gift for evil. Now that evil is part of you.”

“How can I remove it, get rid of it,” he asked.

“I think you know.” She said. “You have done evil, now you must undo it.”

“How?” He asked, even as the answer became clear to him.

The old woman smiled and held out her hand. Simon felt in his pocket and, careful not to squeeze the accursed frog, handed it to her.

He didn’t notice her walking away. He picked up his mobile phone from where it lay in the grass beside him and dialled emergency services. He heard the voice ask him if he wanted the police, ambulance or fire services. And then, as if from a million miles away, he head his own voice say,

“Police……..I want to report a murder.”

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Darkness in the Tree

Part One

Detective Sergeant Leung was not a happy man. He had fought long and hard to be transferred to the Criminal Investigate Division, the CID, and he had just received the info that he was to head up a three man team to investigate missing persons in the Tai Po area. Missing persons were the responsibility of the relevant station, not the CID. He went for the meeting scheduled with his boss, a Chief Inspector who had, so far, spent most of his tenure as head of E-Section behind his desk issuing orders. Leung knocked on the door and received an immediate ‘enter’. He opened the door to wafts of cigarette smoke and found Detective Chief Inspector Wong sitting beneath the ‘No Smoking in Government Offices’ sign puffing away on a Marlborough.

“Leung, take a seat”. Leung took a breath of relatively unpolluted air before entering the office and closed the door behind him.

“You are probably wondering why CID is investigating missing persons, eh?”

Before Leung could answer Wong carried on. He had little time for the opinions of his subordinates anyway.

“As of yesterday three persons, two females and one male, have gone missing in Tai Po within the week”.

“People go missing in Tai Po every day of the week,” offered Leung. He was met with a withering glare that silenced him. He would not speak again unless spoken to.

“The link between the three is that they were all know to have enjoyed walking in the park area that runs along the Lam Tsuen River. And then, today, another link came up. A boy handed in a wallet, the type that joggers strap around their arms to carry their IDs and cell phones. It belonged to one of the missing persons”. Leung was quick to note that Wong had not used the word, ‘victims’. “When we realised the link we asked Tai Po to send the boy here so that you could interview him”. He handed Leung a file containing whatever information they had on the victims, missing persons, Leung corrected himself.

“The boy will be here at ten. I told the desk to send him to you”. He was interrupted by his desk phone. He answered it and spoke briefly before turning back to Leung. “That’s him. He’s waiting at the front desk. Go and talk to him”.

Leung met the boy, a secondary school student of around 17 at the front desk and took him to an interview room. The desk had also given him the wallet wrapped in a plastic evidence bag.

He offered the boy, Andy Lo, a soft drink, and asked him how he had come to find the wallet. The boy related quickly and simply that he had been walking through the park and found the wallet. He had immediately taken it to the Tai Po Police Station. Although he didn’t say so Leung knew that it was a good excuse to miss lessons.

“Where exactly did you find it?” Asked Leung, producing a road map of the area that showed in brief detail the path that ran through the park. Andy Lo studied it for a moment and pointed to a spot about half way through the park.

“Are you willing to come with us and show us exactly where you found it?” Asked Leung.

“If the owner doesn’t claim it within three months I get to keep it, don’t I?” Asked the boy. Obviously a fine upstanding citizen thought Leung. There was an Octopus Card and a hundred dollars in the wallet. There was no sign of a cell phone and Andy Lo wasn’t volunteering any information on this issue. By law, any unclaimed item would be returned to the finder after 90 days.

Leung assured him that it would be returned to him and left the room to organise a car and round up the other members of the team. Within ten minutes they were on the way to Tai Po.


The CID car dropped them off at the upmarket housing complex that lay next to the entrance to the park and Leung, two of his team and the boy, Andy Lo, walked across the footbridge into the green oasis that the park offered to the residents of the area. Leung asked Andy to show them exactly where he had found the wallet. Within a few moments they had reached the spot and Andy looked at the bushes on the right hand side of the foot path. He paused for a moment and then pointed to a spot between two bushes.

“There,” he said, “It was right there”.

“And when exactly was this?” Asked Leung.

“Yesterday, around 8:45, I guess”. The boy answered. Leung made sure that one of the team, a Detective Constable by the name of Wong was recording it all on his small camcorder.

“All right, Andy, you wait over there please. Let’s take a look around, see if we can find anything. The sweepers will have been through here at least twice since the wallet was found so look hard”.

A few walkers went past and Leung identified himself as a police officer and asked them to keep to the other side of the foot path. If there was anything to find he didn’t want it disturbed. The detectives crouched down and carefully examined an area two metres before and after the spot where the wallet had been found and it was after a few moments that Wong called him over.

“Take a look, Boss”. He pointed to a leaf on a small tree just about a metre from the edge of the foot path. Leung peered at it. Thank the gods it had not rained overnight, and the sweepers only worked on the foot path. Leung took out his mobile phone and called for a forensics team. He sent one of his men back to the car for the evidence kit and cordon tape. The walkers and joggers were not going to be happy. The area was now a crime scene and no one was going to go through it until after the forensics team had finished their examination. Andy Lo would have to wait for a long time to claim the wallet.

The leaf and those surrounding it was covered in dried blood pieces of what appeared to be flesh.


Leung waited until the forensics team had arrived and left Wong in charge. He and other DC returned to CID in Police Headquarters to await the report and put together everything they had on the case so far, the three victims, he felt he could now officially classify them as such, and see if there were any similarities. He also had to interview the persons making the missing person reports to see if anything could be gleaned from them such as the approximate time they had gone missing and if anyone knew for sure that they had gone to the park that day.

Calls were made and two of the three people concerned agreed to come in. The third was wheelchair bound and Leung arranged for a DC and a WPC to go and take a statement from her.

There was not a great deal he could do now until wait until the reports and information started coming in. And then he got the news about a fourth possible victim who had gone missing over a month ago, supposedly in the same area.

Leung called in one of his men and instructed him to compile a list of disappearances in the same area. At the same time he asked the officer to find out when the Tai Po Park had been officially opened. The results were not comforting.

According to official records and past police reports the park was officially opened 20 years ago and since then there had been 27 reports of missing persons, 17 of them had been connected one way or another with the park. At the same time word came down from DCI Wong that they were to carry out a bait operation. That entailed sending in a female police officer dressed as a jogger that would hopefully flush out the killer, or killers. She would, of course, be well protected and Leung asked to be placed in charge of the operation.

The next day the preparations began. Ten metres away from the scene there was a water control point. It was a small concrete structure just over a metre high on which they could mount an infrared camera. Technicians from the Technical Services Division arrived in plain clothes so as not to raise to much suspicion and worked quickly and efficiently to install it The control post would be set up at the park office 30 metres in the opposite direction. It was further away than he would have liked but there was no other suitable location and no way to conceal four to five officers and the monitors required for surveillance. There, Leung and his team would monitor the cameras and be ready to move instantly should anything untoward happen.

The Woman Police Officer chosen as the bait was Angie Yung, affectionately known to her colleagues as ‘Angelina’ after the famous actress because of her way of tying her hair in a pony tail. And also because of her rather prominent breasts which were the envy of her lady colleagues and a subject of locker room conversation among her male colleagues. While officially posted to PHQ she had applied for transfer to the CID and the Detective Training Course. The paper work was still going through but she had been interviewed and the transfer was only awaiting the completion of the paperwork.

Late in the afternoon of the day chosen for the operation Angie was wired with a transmitter. Due to the habit of joggers and walkers to carry iPods or similar the microphone and earphones would not raise any suspicion. Leung did the sound check himself. He had been on sting operations before and had been the bait himself, so he knew how it felt to be up the sharp end. Then it was only a matter of waiting for night fall and hoping for a quick result.


It was 7:45 and full dark. The street lamps were on but there were still areas of shadow that could conceal a potential assailant. Anyone entering the park was photographed and numbers were taken to ensure that anyone entering also left. However, they were other ways in which to enter the area. Leung and Angie went over the plan one more time and for the seventh time he checked the reception of her transmitter. Then it was time to go. The plan was for Angie to jog up to the end of the path and then walk back slowly, as if she had injured an ankle. It was twenty minutes later that the officers in the control room received word from Angie that she had reached the end of the path and was starting back. The plan was for her to pause at the point where the victim’s wallet had been found and make it look as if she was checking her ankle.

The walk back up to that point was a test of her nerves. Angie was a brave woman and had shown her mettle in several instances, but tonight every shadow was a potential hiding point and walking slowly was more frightening than the jog in the opposite direction. To make matters worse the street lamps started flickering. She whispered this to Leung who cursed under his breath. There was no way he could do anything about having them checked at that moment in time. Then she was there. She stopped and as per the plan started flexing her ankle. A noise in the bushes startled her and she made a prearranged signal to let the officers know that she had heard something. Leung and the others were ready to go but had their eyes glued to the infrared monitor. Apart from Angie there was nothing to be seen.

She stood up and looked about her, listening intently for any noise. Apart from distant traffic noises there was nothing. Then something touched her shoulder and she spun round and went into a fighting pose. It was a branch, dangling down from the tree above her, strange that she hadn’t noticed it before. There was nothing else. She was physically exhausted now from the tension and ready to call if all off. She stood up and looked in the direction of the control room and suddenly something reached under her right arm, snaked across her body and around her back. She gasped as she was hauled bodily into the air, whatever had grabbed her crushed her breasts painfully against her chest. She sensed that she was several feet off the ground and pulled at the branch crushing her. Vines wrapped themselves around her face and across her mouth which she opened involuntarily, gasping for air. Then she was face to face with something. Her consciousness was fading rapidly but she knew it was evil. It was like a storm cloud, dark and malevolent, and she knew it was laughing.

Leung and his team watched in numb shock as Angie was lifted off her feet by something unseen and ran out of the control centre, weapons drawn. They raced to the spot where Angie had disappeared and used high-powered flashlights to peer up into the tree above them. There was nothing. No sign of Angie.

Leung called out, hoping for an answer when Angie’s body landed amongst them, and around them. She had been severed in half and in the instant that Leung saw her he realised that there was massive tissue loss in her upper torso.


Leung sat in his desk in E-Section, PHQ, staring into middle space. He had been sitting like that for hours judging by the lightening sky. He glanced at the wall clock and saw that it was just after 6:00 a.m.

On their return to PHQ the team had made statements. Angie’s remains had been delivered to the morgue and the duty coroner had been called. DCI Wong had made an appearance and made conciliatory noises before leaving as early as was politely possible. Leung had gone to his desk and sat there, going over and over in his mind what had happened. Reliving the moment when Angie’s mutilated body had fallen to the ground

He was still sitting there when DCI Wong returned at 9:15. For once Wong was not his usual sarcastic self. He asked about the other members of the team. DC Wong, Leung told him, was in shock and had been sedated at Queen Mary Hospital. The others had appointments with the Force psychologist, as had Leung himself. But he had other plans for the day as well.

The press had gotten hold of it, despite a blackout issued by PHQ but the results were better than expected as it created a fear psychosis which kept even the news ghouls and sightseers away from the crime scene.

Being a member of the Criminal Investigation Division and a Detective Sergeant, Leung was entitled to draw any weapon, within reason, he wanted. He handed in his trusty .38 revolver, which fortunately, he had never had to use in anger and asked for a nine millimetre Glock. He would have preferred something more powerful but the .45 caliber 1911s that the force had in stock were somewhat antiquated.

Despite being asked to take official leave he returned to the park. The area had been cordoned off and police officers posted at various points along the foot path. They travelled in pairs and never let the other out of sight. They acknowledged Leung but did not speak unless spoken to. They saw the sadness and fatigue in his face. He walked the entire length of the footpath and stopped at the tree on both legs of his walk.

It was after 7:00 p.m. before he climbed back into his car and drove home.


He was woken by the ringing of his mobile at 6:45. It was DCI Wong asking him to get into PHQ as quickly as possible. Had there been a break in the case, he asked for details, but Wong had already hung up. Leung showered and dressed and arrived at Wong’s office just before nine. For once Wong was not smoking. He was in the company of two men, neither of whom Leung knew. Wong introduced them as Edwin Chan, from the office of the Secretary for Security and Professor Law from the Botanical Gardens. Sec for Sec, as the Secretary for Security was known, had taken over control of the case. It was too high profile and had been blown out of proportion by the press. Reports of a murderous, wild animal running rampant in the Tai Po area had been reported in the international press. Whoever, or whatever was responsible had to be found and stopped immediately.

Leung looked at Professor Law and Chan anticipated his question.

“Professor Law is here to advise us. You will take us both to the crime scene and let him examine the tree where WPC Yung was killed”. Leung doubted the purpose of the visit but kept his mouth shut. He arranged for a CID vehicle and the three of them set off for Tai Po.

Unbeknownst to Leung, Law had requested a mobile crane to be brought in. It was the type that electricians used to fix overhead lighting on the roads. He was to use it so that he could examine the upper branches of the tree. The officers on duty, still traveling and working in twos let them through the barriers and escorted them to the tree.

Professor Law climbed unsteadily into the mobile crane with his notebook and camera. Leung saw no reason to accompany him and stayed on the ground. Edwin Chan made a point of studying the bushes around the tree and avoided eye contact with Leung. After fifteen minutes Law climbed down out of the crane, as unsteadily as he had ascended and looked extremely happy to be back on the ground.

“Can you tell us anything of value,” asked Chan.

“Well,” said Law, “It’s a Tectona Grandis of the family Verbenaceae.” He smiled at Chan and Leung as if he had just solved the case. Leung did not think it wise to point out that there was a small plaque on the lower part of the tree that identified it as such.

“Can you tell us anything else? Asked Chan.

“Well, this particular type of tree has never been known to harm anyone, unless of course it fell over them.” He smiled at his own humour and if he was disappointed at the lack of response from Chan and Leung he hid it well. Leung had seen no point in the visit and this had just proved his point. What he didn’t see was the thing that was watching them from above.

In the next tree, on one of the upper branches crouched the Darkness. It was not at its strongest in the daylight, but was still incredibly powerful. To the human eye it resembled a static cloud of smoke or mist, varying from grey to dark grey. It had been in existence for a thousand years, created by a fool of a necromancer that thought he could control it. The necromancer soon found out to his dismay that no one could control something made of evil and elementals that could not be destroyed by any human device.

The Darkness looked down at Leung, recognising in him a potentially worthy foe, one that might give him some moments of amusement. Then it sent out a whispered command to an egret that was crouched in a nearby tree and the bird’s eyes gleamed. With a hoarse caw it rose up into the air and flew towards the sea.

The Darkness watched as Leung, Chan and Law left to return to PHQ.


Over the next five evenings, despite being ordered to stand down Leung carried out solo bait operations, offering himself to the killer. The Darkness watched him in amusement and was tempted to strike but decided that he was enjoying the game too much to end it so soon. It did however ensure that Leung was entertained with falling branches and flickering street lamps.


Leung attended the funeral of WPC Angie Yung. It was attended by the unit and of course, the Commissioner of Police, who took the time to speak with Angie’s parents and family. He assured them that he killer would be found and brought to justice.

After the funeral, Leung did not attend the customary dinner but instead returned home, changed into casual clothes and made his way to Tai Po. He decided not to use his car in case the killer had been monitoring his movements. The quickest way to get killed in this job was to underestimate your opponent.

He travelled to Tai Wo Station on the train and from there it was a ten minute walk to the beginning of the park. He showed his police ID to the officers at the barrier and walked into the park.

Nothing seemed to have changed except for the egrets, huge great migratory birds that frequented the Lam Tsuen River. It didn’t occur to him that it was unusual to see them in such numbers so far away from the water. Then he was at the tree. The crane had been removed days ago and there was nothing to indicate that it was anything other that what Chuen had said it was, a Tectona Grandis of the family Verbenaceae he read from the plaque. You didn’t need a university degree or to be a professor to be able to read a plaque.

There was a swoosh as something passed his over just feet away and he felt the flow of air. In shock Leung looked about himself and saw an egret climbing upwards. He watched as it settled in a tree near the building they had used as a control centre on the night of the bait operation. Leung eased his hand off the butt of the Glock that he had reached for unknowingly. The something touched his shoulder and he spun about in the opposite direction. This time he did draw the weapon and realised that he had not chambered a round. He racked the slide, arming the gun, but his training made him keep his finger out of the trigger guard. A branch was dangling in front of him, swaying in the wind.

The Darkness looked down at Leung, if it had a mouth it would have smiled.

Leung grasped the end of the branch and gave it a tentative tug, not really knowing what to expect. And unbeknownst to him the egret he had seen earlier flapped into the air to gain height and then started a dive, behind it another started off from a nearby tree. The Darkness had become bored of the game. Leung was busy peering up into the tree and didn’t see the egret until it was too late. All he saw was a flash of white as the bird struck him full in the chest crushing his sternum and sending bone shards into his heart. Leung fell onto his back, numbed by the force of the impact, without realising it his finger had tightened on the trigger and he fired off two rounds which alerted the officers at either end of the park. As Leung lay on his back, fighting the pain in his wounded heart the egret, its neck broken by the impact, fluttered in its death throws on his chest, the second egret landed just above it and tore out Leung’s throat in one quick movement. It had flapped away, its bill covered in gore long before the officers arrived to find Leung’s mutilated body.


The Darkness watched Leung die from its point near the top of the tree, it felt the rush of energy flow into it as it did every time it caused the death of a living being. It had seen many men die over the centuries and would be sure to see many more. It sent whispered blessings to the egrets that had done its bidding and decided that it had had enough of Tai Po Park for now. There were other pickings to be had elsewhere, and other Leungs to torment.

Part Two

Edwin Chan, from the office of the Secretary for Security was not a happy man. He had fought long and hard to be transferred to the Department of the Secretary for Security and and he had just been told that he would be responsible for clearing up the business in Tai Po and to make sure that the fallout from the press coverage was kept to a minimum. Murders in Tai Po, and for that matter, police officers that fall out of trees and get killed by low flying birds were absolutely not the responsibility of Sec for Sec! He glared at his desk phones, one of which was a direct line to Sec for Sec and reached into his jacket pocket for another Tylenol. He knew that extended use of these pills would sooner or later, probably sooner, melt down what remained of his liver, but in order to get through the day he had to deal with the blinding headaches that had become a daily event ever since this business started. He popped the pill, swallowed it dry and leaned back in his chair, hoping for a few moments of peace to allow the medication to take affect.

He looked through the list of calls received that his secretary, Amy had handed him. Three were from a man named Huang, Huang Li Man to be precise. Obviously a Singaporean by the spelling of the name. Why they couldn’t just use the pin yin spelling that Hong Kongers used was beyond him.

Not more than five seconds had gone by when one of the phones shrilled.

Chan grabbed for it, at least it wasn’t the direct link to Sec for Sec, but the news was just as bad.

“Ah Sir,” said Amy. “Ms. Lau called, the boss wants you to see you now”.

Ms. Lau was Sec for Sec’s Personal Assistant and therefore the next best thing to the Goddess of Hell. Her every command was to be obeyed implicitly and immediately!

Chan groaned something into the phone and stood up. He was not looking forward to the next fifteen minutes.

He knew it was going to fifteen minutes and not more because Sec for Sec divided his day into 15 minute intervals. Some for him to be brought up to date on what was happening in Hong Kong, some for global events and some to be enjoyed by berating his subordinates; a pastime he thoroughly enjoyed.

Alphonse Lo, (silly bloody name, thought Chan) was one of the few department heads that still held a western first name. Ever since the handover it had become fashionable for department heads to do away with Christian first names and adopt the more traditional Chinese names. Lo was a career civil servant. During the British administration he had sworn absolute loyalty to the Crown and then at the time of the handover, sworn the same absolute loyalty to Beijing.

Ms. Lau kept him waiting for the mandatory three minutes before allowing him into the hallowed halls that contained Alphonse Lo’s office. You could house three Kowloon City families in here, thought Chan, as he entered the door, which he did every time he entered the door.

Alphonse Lo always pretended to be busy, it was his way of ensuring respect from his underlings. He motioned to a chair in front of his desk, spent another two minutes pretending to pour over some papers and then looked up at Chan.

“So, Chan. what news on this business in Tai Po?”

Actually, there was nothing new but Chan wasn’t going to admit that to his boss.

“Sir”, he began. “I’m working closely with the police to ensure that the culprit, or culprits are brought to justice within the shortest possible time. As of this morning I am still awaiting a call from DCI Wong”.

“I’m one step ahead of you Chan,” Smirked Lo. “There’s been an arrest”!

Lo enjoyed Chan’s look of consternation for a moment before explaining.

“They’ve arrested some bugger by the name of Huang Li Man at the scene of the murders. A Singaporean, by the ID he was carrying. They’ve taken him to Tai Po nick (Chan had to stop himself from grimacing, Lo enjoyed his command of English colloquialism and continually referred to police stations as ‘nicks’). Get there quick and find out who the bugger is”. Chan remembered the name from looking at his list of calls just moments ago and wondered what the connection was.

Chan was not sure whether to be pleased or annoyed but if it gave him an excuse to get out of Lo’s presence then it had to be good.

Amy had called ahead so the O.I.C. at the Tai Po Police Station had been expecting him. He was taken to the interview room where Mr. Huang was being held. There was an officer, a Police Constable, in the room with him, but they weren’t talking, the PC was there to keep an eye on him. Huang stood up as Chan entered the room and Chan immediately noticed that he was wearing a traditional Chinese robe. He offered his hand to Chan who ignored it and sat down opposite him at the table.

Unperturbed, Huang resumed his seat and introduced himself. Chan bought himself some time by going through the single sheet of paper in the file he had been given. There wasn’t much, his name, nationality and profession - researcher into ancient eastern customs - all the makings of a nutter thought Chan whose headache suddenly returned.

“Mr……Huang,” Chan took some time pronouncing the name, there was no need to be rude, at this point. “What were you doing in a closed crime scene?”

“I’m sorry,” said Huang. “May I ask your name and rank”. Chan realised he had forgotten to introduce himself. His first instinct was to offer his hand but he managed to suppress the gesture. He wanted this man to know he meant business. Chan introduced himself and mentioned that he was from the officer of the Secretary for Security.

“Then you are the man I have been trying to contact”, said Huang, smiling broadly.

“Mr. Huang, I don’t think you realise the trouble you are in. You have been taken into custody for entering a closed crime scene and there are reasons to believe that you did so with ill-intent”.

“I can assured you,” said Huang, “that this is not the case. In fact, I am here to offer you my assistance to halt the killer you are seeking”.

‘Halt the killer,’ Huang had said, why didn’t he say, ‘catch the killer’, thought Chan.

Chan couldn’t conceal his interest. “And what exactly do you know about ‘the killer’?” He asked the PC to get the OIC to join them right away. He turned back to Huang and asked him to wait. Any information he had regarding this case should be given in the company of a trained police officer. Moments later, the OIC, Superintendent Lai and a DCI from PHQ were in attendance. They sat quietly at the corner, present and listening, but not taking part in the questioning. When they were settled Chan asked Huang to continue.

“I think I should introduce myself first. My name is Huang Li Man, I am originally from Wu Han Province but I was taken to Singapore as a child by my parents. My profession is…..well, let’s go into that later…………”.

He continued, “I have been following this killer, for several years now. I first became aware of it in 2007 when there was a series of murders in Terengganu in Malaysia. It was there that I started my research. The next scene was Kluang, also in Malaysia. Then there were several in Singapore before it moved on to Sandakan in Sabah, East Malaysia. These killings all took place within a very short space of time, say 19 months. Then the trail went cold. The thing, it appears, had gone to ground”.

Huang had referred to the killer as ‘the killer’, ‘it’ and then ‘the thing’. However, before Chan could seek clarification Huang was continuing.

“About a year ago I heard about the murders in the Tai Po Park and came to Hong Kong. I’m sorry to tell you that my worst fears were realised. It is the same killer that was responsible for the deaths I mentioned earlier in Malaysia and Singapore”.

“What……..”. Chan was just about to ask, ‘what is it’, but managed to stop himself. “Who is it we are looking for, Mr. Huang?”

“No, you were correct the first time, Mr. Chan. It is indeed, not ‘who’ we are looking for, but ‘What’”.

“It is a demon, Mr. Chan. Nothing more, nothing less. A demon that has existed for over a thousand years”.

Chan looked at the OIC and the PC for help. The headache was now almost blinding him.

“Call Sui Lam”, Chan said quietly to the OIC who got up and left the room.

Sui Lam was the detention centre that specialised in handling persons suspected of being mentally unbalanced. Chan would send him there for a few days ‘for observation’. It was much more simple than arresting the man. He asked the PC to compile everything they had on Huang and let him have it before he left.

“Mr. Huang,” this time Chan did pronounce it ‘Wong’. “I am ordering you to be held for a few days for observation in a secure establishment, it is not a prison. However, you will not be allowed to leave, for your own safety, until after the observation period is completed and I receive a report on your condition. Do you wish to contact the Singapore Consulate?”

“I am not insane Mr. Chan. I can give you dates, times and places for all the murders I have investigated over the years. You can see for yourself that I am telling the truth”.

Huang asked for a pen and paper and wrote down from memory, the names of the victims and where and when they were killed. It would be an easy matter for Chan to verify the truth of his claims.

Chan told the PC to include the list in the file and left the room. He needed a coffee and a Tylenol and better yet a stiff drink. He hoped the OIC would be kind enough to invite him to the Mess.

The OIC, Superintendent Lai, a long term service officer, was indeed kind enough to invite Chan to the Mess and they enjoyed a quiet beer in the corner of the bar. Chan stared into his glass wondering if he should take another Tylenol but was afraid the policeman would notice.

“When you arrested him, did he say anything reasonably sensible?” Asked Chan.

The OIC explained that he hadn’t been there at the time so he couldn’t answer accurately. According to the report, which Chan had, but hadn’t looked at yet, he had complied with the officers and not attempted to obstruct them in any way.

They were interrupted by Chan’s mobile, it was Amy. The newspapers were asking for an update and progress. They could only be kept in the dark for so long.

Chan told her that he would be back soon and to arrange something for the reporters. He looked at his beer and felt his stomach churning. Even getting drunk didn’t really appeal to him at this moment in time.

Part Three

On arriving back at his office Chan had called in one of his assistants. He handed the man Huang’s file, asked him to make a copy, put it in a Top Secret cover and send it to Security Wing asking for a full check on the man. Criminal background, social, education, whatever they could find. Glancing through the file he saw that Huang was staying at the Luen Sung Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, a three star establishment that would not draw undue attention, Chan recalled. “Get in touch with PHQ, I want a warrant to have his room searched asap”, Chan told his man. Then it was time for the press conference.

The secret to holding a successful press conference was to tell them everything they thought they wanted to know without actually telling them anything they needed to know. Chan was an expert at this, it was his forte, so to speak. Almost a dozen reporters from various papers, local and regional attended and went away happy, but not a lot smarter.

By now it was mid afternoon and Chan had still not had lunch. He asked Amy to order a sandwich for him and hoped that he would be left in peace to eat it. The headache he had suffered most of the day had subsided and for reasons which he couldn't put his finger on, he was feeling better about the case.


The Darkness had watched the drama of Huang’s arrest and detention. Of course he recognised the mortal. It was for this reason the Darkness decided to remain in the area. Although Huang had never actually posed a threat to his existence, it was interesting that the persistence he had displayed had led him all the way to Hong Kong. The Darkness had toyed with the idea of destroying the little man years ago but for reasons unbeknownst it had spared him. The next couple of days or weeks would be a challenge to its creativity. Over the centuries it had used snakes, rats, cows and even cats to do its bidding. The use of trees and egrets were a new venture and one that it had enjoyed immensely.


Huang had been handcuffed, gently, and transported to the Sui Lam Psychiatric Centre at Castle Peak. The officers at the station and the staff of the centre had shown him nothing but kindness and respect and he realised that it would be only to his benefit to cooperate with them.

He had submitted to a blood test, no doubt to find out if he’d taken an psychotropic drugs, and answered all the questions he had been asked. He had told the truth with every question, about his recent past.

Huang had told Chan that his parents had taken him to Singapore as a child and this was certainly true. What he had neglected to say was that he was a Yau Lung Bing Lang, a demon hunter, a demon killer. Under the tutelage of his Grandfather, he had dedicated his life to seeking out those beings that threatened humanity and sending them onwards, and downwards. He could sense that the Darkness knew of his presence and that placed him in great danger. The Darkness could control the meaner things in life, the animals, the trees, but while there was no evidence to show that it had ever possessed a human there was no doubt in Huang’s mind that it was a very real possibility that it might do so.

In 1966 Mao Tse Tung’s Cultural Revolution nearly destroyed what little remained of any goodness in the country. While the Red Guards ran rampant, enforcing Mao’s rules and dictates anyone that could get out was getting out. But, it was a risky business because if you got caught there was only one sentence.

The Wong family, which consisted of the grandfather, Huang’s mother and father were able to escape and, as they had money, were fortunate enough to end up in Singapore. Huang was three years old and remembered little of the journey, his father and mother survived only a few years after their arrival and he was brought up by his grandfather.

Huang was a gifted child, but his gifts were not those that other children might envy. He saw dead people, spirits, ethereal beings that shared the world with the living. For the most part they were harmless beings. Lost souls that, for reasons of their own had decided not to move on. Huang was able to see them as clearly as he saw his neighbours and when he asked his grandfather about the funny people that floated instead of walking down the street the old man realised that Huang was different. He was unsure as to whether it was a gift or a curse and knew that in order for it to be used correctly, his grandson would have to be trained. He was given a formal education at which he excelled. His tutors were disappointed when he told them he had no intention of entering a university. By the time he had passed his final exams he was adept at seeking out the ‘unhealthier’ types of spirits and had sent several of them on their way. He had also rescued numerous spirits that sought him out, seeking a way to their rest in the afterlife.

Huang’s grandfather, his last remaining relative, passed away on the morning of the 1st 30th July, 1997. They had been watching the Handover Ceremony of Hong Kong from the British back to China. He had been sitting quietly, watching the proceedings when he had just closed his eyes and let his head fall onto his chest. Huang felt the old man’s spirit passing through him as he went to his reward, happy in the knowledge that had done all he could to train, protect and temper Huang for the tasks to come. Then, in 2007 he received a message from one of the circle of friends his grandfather had introduced him to. He was told of a demon, very strong, very powerful, that had taken lives in the Terengganu district of Malaysia

Huang travelled there and visited the site where the victims had been killed. He sensed the demon, the Darkness, and knew that it was indeed, very old, very strong, very powerful and immensely evil. And the Darkness sensed him, and realised that for the first time in 1800 years it faced a real threat.

In the Sui Lam Centre, Huang had been kept in isolated observation for the first twelve hours so that the doctors could ascertain as to whether he was a threat to himself or anyone else. They noted that he was polite, answered all their queries without hesitation and obeyed their rules and regulations. There was nothing to indicate that the man suffered from mental problems, and as for his beliefs in demons and ghosts, well if that was a reason to lock someone up 98 percent of Hong Kong would be behind these walls, along with many of the doctors and nurses.

Huang was unsure of the time, they had taken his wristwatch, along with his other possessions. All he was permitted to keep was a small book of Buddhist teachings. They had obviously placed him on suicide watch because he noticed there was nothing in his small room with which he might injure himself. Lying on his bed he listened to the sounds of the nurses out in the corridor, the muted speech and the sounds of the trolley wheels as they went about giving medication to those that needed it more frequently. The trolley wheels stopped outside his room and he strained his ears for the slightest piece of information. Slowly, almost soundlessly, the door opened and a nurse moved part way into the room. She turned her head back to make sure there was no one outside that might hear her, then he sensed rather than heard, “There is danger. You must be ready to leave”.

Before Huang could say, or ask anything, the nursed disappeared outside and closed the door behind her. Huang did what he did best. He sent out ethereal feelers in an effort to pick up any danger. He sensed something. It was not good, but the threat was not immediate. For now.


Chan arrived at his office in the Secretary for Security’s section which consisted of two floors of Government Headquarters. He was hoping for a quiet day because apart from the nonsense with the Tai Po murders he had a great deal of other work to be getting on with. There was a meeting scheduled with the section heads for 11 a.m. but it was routine and he had not been asked to make any presentations. He knew that at some point in time he would have to contact the CID and see if there was any news from Sui Lam, but he was putting that off for as long as possible. It was not until after he had returned from the meeting that he received a phone call from DCI Wong at the CID. Huang had gone missing!

Chan felt his headache return with a thump! “How the hell did that happen?” He demanded of Wong.

“Apparently he just walked out in broad daylight, wearing his own clothes and smiling at everyone. The staff and security guards apparently just smiled back and waved him on his way”.

Good old Anglo-Saxon swear words erupted in Chan’s brain but he managed to prevent them from passing his lips. It would not do for an officer of the department of the Sec for Sec to be heard swearing at a senior police officer.

“I don’t suppose you have any idea of his whereabouts? Or is that too much to ask?”

The sarcasm was lost on Wong who told him that they had alerted the local police to be on the lookout for him. Police officers at the Mass Transit Stations had been provided with his photograph and told to keep an eye out for him. Just then Amy appeared at the door, she motioned to the telephone handset that was his direct link with Sec for Sec. Things were getting worse, much worse.

Chan finished the call with Wong as quickly as possible and headed for Sec for Secs office. Ms. Lau kept him waiting for the mandatory three minutes before allowing him into Alphonse Lo’s office. Chan was motioned to a chair and handed a report. It was marked Top Secret.

“‘We’ve received the report from Security Wing. That’s it!” He said, pointing towards the file. It was as if he had been personally responsible for demanding the report.

“And”, he continued, in a more ominous tone. “I received a call from the Chief Executive’s office”.

Oh shit, thought Chan. He didn’t need to ask, Lo was going to tell him all the gruesome details.

“When you ordered Security Wing to provide information on Huang they naturally contacted the Singapore Intelligence Service. It would appear that Huang’s name is flagged and when they ran his name through their system alarm bells started ringing. They got in touch with the Singapore Commission in Hong Kong and they, in turn, called the CE directly. They want him back, on the first available flight, unharmed, unmolested and in perfect health!”

“That’s going to be difficult Sir”, said Chan. He took a deep breath and told Lo about Huang’s escape from Sui Lam.

The Sec for Sec visibly blanched. It was the first time Chan had ever seen him at a loss for words. The two men sat in silence for a moment and then Lo picked up his phone and spoke to Ms. Lau. “Get me the Commissioner of Police”, he said and dropped the phone back into its cradle.

“OK”, said Lo, “I’ll deal with the CP, you get back to Tai Po in case the bugger turns up there. We’re on 24 hour call until we can hand this fellow back to the Singaporeans”.

Chan asked for permission to take the file on Huang and returned to his office. He told Amy to arrange for transportation in 45 minutes, that would give him time to go through the file for anything useful. “And tell the OIC I’m on my way”, he said.


Huang Li Man was sitting comfortably, eating noodles in a dai pai dong in Tsuen Wan. He had given up his traditional Chinese dress for a less noticeable T shirt and pair of slacks. The clothes had been provided by Nurse Suen. She had assisted in his ‘departure’ from Sui Lam. Between the two of them they had placed a short lived spell on the admin staff and security guards who had cheerfully handed over Huang’s belongings and allowed him to leave unmolested. When questioned by the irate management and police officers they had no recollection of ever having seen Huang. As for Nurse Suen, she was going off shift and there was no reason to suspect her of any wrong doing. Unfortunately, the security cameras had recorded her escorting Huang out of the facility. The police were now looking for her as well.

Huang knew that the Darkness was looking for him, as were the police. It was only a matter of time before either of them found him. He had to return to Tai Po and confront the demon before it had time to cause him harm, or escape.

Nurse Suen had given him as much information on how to get back to Tai Po without having to use the Mass Transit Railway system, in which the police certainly be looking for him. He still had no idea how to deal with the Darkness. It was strong, incredibly strong. It had sent feelers into the detention centre searching for him. The best Huang could hope for was a binding spell. The alternative was to tuck tail and run; hand himself in to the police and allow them to deport him to Singapore. He would be safe, but the Darkness would be left to continue its reign of terror. Why not leave it to someone else, a voice in his head asked him. Huang knew the answer without having to think. If he ran away and left the job to someone else then more people would die and their deaths would be on his conscience.

Huang finished his noodles and went looking for the red minibus that Nurse Suen had told him about. According to her, these minibuses were rarely stopped by the police for random checks and traveling on one would be his best bet to get back to Tai Po. He also needed to find a safe place to rest and recharge his energy. He would have to be at full strength when he faced the Darkness.


Chan was now back in Tai Po and sitting in a conference room that the OIC had put at his disposal. In the brief 45 minutes he’d had before leaving he had read the file on Huang. Apparently he had told the truth about everything. His arrival in Singapore, his family and his pursuit of some mysterious ‘killer’ that had embarrassed both the Malaysian and Singaporean governments.

The file had mentioned that Huang was a mystic of some sort and apparently well respected in the relevant circles throughout Asia. He was not a quack. But then there was no evidence to suggest that any of his claims were real. According to the report, one of those claims was that most countries in the Far East, Hong Kong being one of them, faced danger from ethereal beings that had existed for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

It was late afternoon now and the OIC was going to go out to the crime scene, he didn’t have to tell Chan that he was afraid of being usurped by the CID and anyone else that the Commissioner might sent his way. He, like Chan had worked long and hard to get the position he was in today and he wasn’t going to let the glory boys override him. Chan decided that there should be a representative from Sec for Sec there as well.


The Darkness sensed Huang coming closer. He wasn’t close enough to be a threat just yet, but the Darkness would have to deal with this mortal once and for all within the coming hours or days for it knew something that Huang did not.

Part Four

Chan and the OIC, Superintendent Lai, found the police officers guarding the crime scene on full alert. They had been told that the OIC was coming and didn’t want to be caught out. The entire situation was fraught, promotions, and even careers were at stake here.

While there was still some daylight remaining Superintendent Lai wanted to walk the entire length of the scene and invited Chan to accompany him. The two men set out with a PC and soon came to the tree where Angie Yung had been killed so horrendously. The scene was quiet, almost peaceful. It was hard to believe that such a terrible thing could have happened in such an idilic location. Chan had seen the autopsy pictures and knew how terrible the wounds had been. What kind of human being could have done such a thing, and then for a moment he remembered what Huang had told him. It was inconceivable that anything like the creature he described could exist. And certainly not for a thousand years!

Superintendent Lai suggested that they move on. His men had set up a command post in the park office and there would be hot tea waiting for them. In the company of the PC they walked towards the perimeter tape, neither of them aware of what was watching them from the branches above.


Huang had arrived un-arrested and unmolested in Tai Po and knew the first thing he had to do was find a safe place to rest and recover his strength. He found a ‘hotel’ just off Kwong Fuk Road and registered with the receptionist. The man didn’t bother asking for an identity card, Their usual clientele didn’t usually want their identities, or that of their ‘companions’, known.

He lay down in the tiny room which consisted only of a bed and a side table. He had just closed his eyes when there was a gentle knock on the door. He sent out mental feelers and sensed there was no danger. He opened the door a crack and found Nurse Suen, an elderly lady and two men, one also elderly, waiting outside. His ‘army’ had arrived.


Chan and Superintendent Lai drank sweetened tea from plastic cups and watched the monitors as the evening turned darker. There was a feeling of anticipation, although no one really knew what to expect. The best they could hope for was that Huang would be stupid enough to turn up so they could arrest the fool and ship him off back to Singapore. It wouldn’t solve the murders but at least it would clear up one very large part of the problem. Neither Chan nor Lai, nor any of the officers present noticed the egrets gathering in the trees overhead.


The Darkness also sensed that something was about to happen. Try as it might it couldn’t pin point Huang’s location. It knew he was close, but not exactly where he was. It also sensed the presence of others, but none of them were familiar to it.

It sent out mental instructions to the egrets that even then were gathering. It also garnered the support of every stray cat within a mile’s radius. Even now they were padding silently in the direction of the park. Ginger, black, calico, one-eyed, lame, the Darkness summoned them all.


Lai sent two of his plain clothed officers out to walk the length of the park. They both carried their service revolvers and hidden radios. They were to report anything unusual. Sgt. Lo and PC Chuen had set out, not expecting any trouble. They had been doing this beat for days now and in their opinion the killer was long gone. Why would a murderer remain in an area with this much of a police presence? They reached the end of the path and started back. Sgt. Lo called in a brief report to tell the OIC Lai where they were.

Sgt. Lo was a career officer. He had sat for and passed the exam for promotion to Inspector twice now. Unfortunately promotions in the force were very much based on dead men’s shoes. It didn’t matter if you had passed the exam, if there were no vacancies within a twelve month period from the date of passing, your name went to the back of the list and you had to resit the exam.

Lai had assured him that he would do his best to ensure that he didn’t miss out again and Lo believed him. Lai looked after his officers whether they were rank and file of inspectorate.

They were walking back now at a stroll, in no hurry to get back to the stuffy confines of the control room when Lo saw the cat. He pointed it out to Chuen, knowing that the PC was a cat lover. He was constantly bringing strays into the report room, feeding them out of his lunch box and then trying to find homes for them. He was constantly at logger heads with his wife and the people of the village where he lived for feeding an army of strays.

The cat was obviously a stray. A skinny ginger and unkempt, a sure sign that it was unwell, probably from malnourishment. Chuen crouched down and held out a hand to the cat, making encouraging noises to bring it closer. He and Lo were totally unprepared for what happened next. The cat moved backwards slightly and Chuen thought it was going to run away. Then it gathered its haunches and launched itself at Chuen’s face. The PC staggered backwards, taken totally by surprise and in terrible pain. The cat had buried its claws into his face just behind the eyes and cheek. It was trying to bite at his forehead. Chuen’s first reaction was to reach up and pull the animal away but its claws were embedded in his face. “Help”, he called out to Lo, who was standing there in shock. Snapping out of it he grabbed the cat and pulled it away, leaving several two inch long scratches on each side of Chuen’s face. Lo heaved the cat into the bushes and crouched, ready for it to spring back. He had seen dogs attack people, but never a cat!

Lo’s radio sprang to life. He had forgotten that it was permanently on and OIC Lai had obviously heard the commotion.

“It’s all right, we’re OK and on our way back”, said Lo.

Back at the control room they treated Chuen’s face with the First Aid they had on hand. One of the wounds had missed his right eye by millimetres. There was a lot of blood and the scratches would have to be treated at a hospital to prevent infection, but the man was going to be all right.

Lo explained to the OIC what had happened while Chan listened in. None of this was a coincidence! He realised that they needed Huang more than they thought. Where are you? Thought Chan, not realising that the Singaporean was closer than he could possibly imagine.

Lai instructed Lo to take Chuen to the Tai Po Hospital for treatment. There was a squad car waiting outside the park entrance so they could use that. The least publicity the better he thought. While Chuen was preparing himself Lo opened the door of the control room and shut it again with a slam and an exclamation.

“What now”, asked Lai.

“Cats”, said Lo. “Hundreds of them, everywhere”.

Chan, who had remained silent during the past few moments groaned inwardly. He could just see the headlines in the local press now: “Heavily Armed Police Squad Held Captive by Stray Cats”.

Lai cracked the door open closed it again quickly.

“He’s right! There’s hundreds of them”. Then the officers could hear their yowling. They were hungry!

He went to the monitors as did all the others. Cats, seemingly in their hundreds, were gathered outside the Control Room. As they watched one of the monitors went blank. They had cut the feed.

“All right!” Said Lai. “I’ve had enough of this. We need to get Chuen to the hospital and he needs to go now!”

One of the men unholstered his service revolver and Lai said, “No. For God’s sake no! We are not going down in history as the squad that shot its way out of a bunch of stray cats”!

He looked about the Control Centre and saw what he was looking for. The foam fire extinguisher.

“Lo, Chuen, get behind me. Everyone else stay here where you’ll be safe”.

Picking up the extinguisher he made sure that it was ready for use and nodded to one of the PCs to open the door. Moving outside quickly he sprayed foam through 180 degrees. The cats screeched and scampered out of the way. He gestured for Lo and Chuen to follow him and just at that moment an enormous calico Tom landed on his shoulder. This was no stray. It was a well fed domestic cat, it was even wearing a collar with a bell attached, and it bit into his neck, puncturing the jugular vein. In shock, Lai dropped the extinguisher and as it rolled away spraying foam, he grappled with the cat that had fastened itself to his neck.

Lo rushed forward to assist and grabbed the cat, the second time he had done such a thing in just a few moments, but the cat held fast, its teeth and claws fastened to Lai’s neck.

“Get if off!” Yelled Lai and Lo gave an almighty tug, and wished he hadn’t.

There was a spray of blood from Lai’s neck that shot a foot into the air. Stunned Lo stood there with the cat in his out spread arms when Chuen moved around in front of him. The PC drew his service revolver and for a dreadful moment Lo thought he was going to shoot the cat, and him. The PC, his face still a nightmare of streaked blood reversed the gun in his hand and struck the snarling animal on the head, smashing its skull. The cat went lifeless in Lo’s hands and he dropped the dead animal to the ground and together, they helped Lai back into the Control Room.

The Darkness was enjoying itself so much that it failed to notice the approach of the five mortals until it was too late. When it sensed the danger it sent out feelers and realised that they had surrounded the tree in which it sat.

The Control Room was in near pandemonium. They had gathered the little that remained of the First Aid, tissues, towels, anything that might staunch the bleeding from Lai’s neck. Chan even took off his neck tie and offered that. He watched helplessly, as they sat Lai in one of the chairs and held an ever-reddening compress to his neck. Then one of the PCs shouted out, “Look at this! Look at this!”

To a man they turned to one of the last remaining monitors. The tree where Angie Yung had been killed was glowing white and even in the interference of the monitor they could just make out the figures of five people linking arms around the foot of the tree.

The Darkness looked down from its perch in the top-most branches of the tree and saw five mortals, their hands linked, surrounding the foot of the tree. And it felt the coldness approach, creeping inexorably, up the tree to where it sat.


Huang, Nurse Suen and the three mystics had spoken in the cramped hotel room for some time. Later, Huang would wonder just how many words were actually spoken and how many thoughts had been passed through the ether they enjoyed as mystics.

The eldest amongst them, He shared Huang’s name, but pronounced in the Hong Kong style of Wong, knew of a spell that would bind the Darkness, for how long he knew not, but none of the others had anything else to offer. They listened intently as he taught them the liturgy they would recite. The most difficult part would be to get to the base of the tree before the Darkness sensed their presence. Fortunately, in its pride, the Darkness would solve that problem for them. They had rested for a while, waiting for the dark of night and then set off.


Chan and the policemen watched in amazement as the aura around the tree grew outwards and upwards. The tree started shaking madly, as if attacked by its own private tornado. Lai struggled to his feet.

“Come on”, he gasped. There were cries of concern from the officers but he was not to be denied. Holding his wounded neck with one hand he drew his service revolver with the other and led the way out the door. It didn’t occur to him, or the others that the cats would still be there. They were, but now they were cowering in the bushes. Whatever had possessed them earlier had since released them.

Lai’s shirt front looked as if it had been liberally dowsed in blood, the compress had slowed the bleeding but not stopped it, only sutures would do that, and that had to be soon, very soon. He was staggering by the time they reached the tree and two of the officers were supporting him. Before them stood a scene that not one of them could have ever imagined.

Three men and two women, some elderly, some younger, were holding hands around the base of the tree, chanting something unintelligible. Later, when the officers tried to describe what they had heard not one of the versions jelled with the other. There was a glow of light which pulsed upwards, enveloping the tree, its branches, and as they watched leaves fell from the tree as if it was autumn. The trunk of the tree was slowly turning pale white as if it was being petrified.


The Darkness felt fear for the first time in its eighteen hundred years of existence. Nothing could kill it, of that it was sure. But it was being frozen, frozen in time and space. It looked down and in its glare there was pure hatred for the five mortals below it.

The spell that Wong had created was that of intense coldness. The same coldness that had frozen the world centuries ago. As the earth freezing chill made its way up the tree the Darkness was trapped. Reluctantly it released its hold on the egrets, the cats and every other creature it had enslaved. The cats slinked off into the bushes, the egrets flapped away to their normal perches at the end of the Lam Tsuen River, confused, and wondering why they were so far inland.

Slowly, the Darkness lost its senses, its feelings. It withdrew into itself much like a human suffering hypothermia. They could not kill something that had never existed in real form. It would wait, bide its time, and return to speak vengeance on the mortals that had done this.

Then it froze.


The officers surrounded the five people at the foot of the tree but did not interfere with them. Slowly, the glow receded and one of the PC turned on a flashlight. The tree was now a light to dark blue in colour. He looked up and saw that every single leave the tree had possessed was gone, the branches, all of them, were the same colour as the trunk. Then one of the five collapsed to his knees. the circle broke and went to his aid. It was Huang that cradled, what they now knew to be an elderly man, in his arms. Nurse Suen pulled open Wong’s collar and stroked his forehead.

Lai, only semi conscious now and wavering on his feet, leaned forward and croaked a question.

Huang turned to him and said, “What happened? Something that should have happened many years ago”. He asked for an ambulance and turned back to the old man. No sooner were the words were out of his mouth when he heard the sounds of a siren. The call had gone out, officers injured, one seriously. The ambulance would be here shortly and paramedics would arrive to ferry the injured to the emergency clinic in Tai Po Hospital. But for old Wong it would be too late. With a mental farewell to the others, he closed his eyes and went to a well earned rest. Huang held him, put his face to the old man’s forehead and wept.

The End

Daylight revealed that the tree had indeed been petrified. Its body was as hard as rock. Chan, in his capacity as an officer of the Secretary for Security ordered that the park be quarantined for an indefinite period.

Lai survived his injuries, barely. He had lost a great deal of blood and needed several pints to save his life. The officers of Tai Po Police Station lined up at the hospital to donate.

Chuen had suffered only superficial wounds but unfortunately some of the scars healed just above his mouth and across his cheeks. Behind his back he was known as ‘Cat Man’, but few had the courage to say it to his face. He continued to feed the strays in and around his village.

Lo was promoted to Probationary Inspector and after a year made Inspector. He sat for the Senior Inspectors exam which he passed with flying colours and went on to enjoy a distinguished career.

None of the officers present at this last operation would ever speak about their experience. It had been suggested to them that it would be good for their careers if they were to remain silent. It was unlikely that anyone would have believed them anyway.

Nurse Suen returned to her position at the Sui Lam Centre, the others in ‘Huang’s Army’ disappeared back into the obscurity they had come from. No one ever learned their names. Many of the officers present could not even remember having seen them. Wong was given a pauper’s funeral. It was what he wanted, and anyway, for Wong, death was not the end but the beginning of a new adventure. His ashes were scattered over the Eastern hills of Lantau Island.

Edwin Chan returned to the Secretary for Security where he remained for only five months. Much to the distress of Alphonse Lo, the ‘Sec for Sec’, Chan resigned after he had been invited to take up residence in Singapore. His sponsor was Huang Li Man. The man had much to teach him.

And atop a petrified tree, still labeled, ‘Tectona Grandis of the family Verbenaceae’, in Tai Po Park, the Darkness glared down from its frozen dungeon. Waiting for the day it would be released.

It had survived for over a thousand years, it had learned patience………

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Asian Human Rights Commission - Impunity to do wrong..!

(Lanka-e-News- 24.Aug.2014, 7.00PM) Information has been received that the executive director of the Asian Human Rights Commission, a regional NGO based in Hong Kong, has been telling falsehoods to members of his staff with regard to payments and other matters and that the management and chairman of the board have offered him impunity.

This is of particular concern as the issue of impunity has been at the forefront of the AHRC’s attacks on the Sri Lanka Police Service and other branches of the government, including ministers at high levels, for many years. It is therefore shocking that this organisation is hypocritical enough to allow the same impunity to its own executive in order that he can do as he wishes with his staff.

The information, as we have received it concerns three issue; the first was an application of a salary advance by one of their staff. In February of this year he applied for a salary advance from Bijo Francis, the executive director and was informed that he (Francis) was no longer in a position to grant such advances. He actually used the wording, “ it is no longer within my remit”, and that he would have to seek the approval of the board. However, within weeks of making this statement and in the full hearing of other members of staff he granted such an advance to one of his cronies, thereby proving that his earlier comments were obviously false. If Francis did not want to grant the salary advance he could have simply informed the staff member that, in his capacity as executive director, he had elected not to do so. However, that would have been an inconvenient truth. Sadly, he found it more convenient to tell a convenient lie.

The second incident involved a letter purported to be from the management committee in which he informed a member of staff that he was being reprimanded and that the committee had agreed on the content and the issuance of the said letter. However, inquiries made with two members of the management committee confirmed that neither of them had knowledge of either the contents of, or the issuance of the letter. If Francis had omitted the part about the letter being approved by the committee there would have been no problem. However, that would have been an inconvenient truth. By hiding behind the management committee Francis committed another convenient lie.

The third incident involved the long term service award of an outgoing member of staff. In the Hong Kong SAR there are two sums of money involved when an employee leaves a company. One is the long term award and the second is the Mandatory Provident Fund which all employers are required to contribute to. The staff member was informed of the amount that he was to receive as a long term award and was surprised as the employer has the right to deduct any contributions to the MPF. After making inquiries of Francis in the presence of the Admin manager he was told that his MPF award would NOT be affected. However, upon receipt of the payment by the relevant bank he found that the sum of HK$ 88,000 (USD 11,000) had been deducted. The staff member gave Francis every opportunity to explain the situation but the latter dodged the question and left the matter to Mr. Basil Fernando to explain. In an obviously contrived letter Fernando informed the staff member that they had done all in their power to pay the person everything he was entitled to. What he failed to explain was why Francis had once again been permitted to lie to a member of staff with impunity. 

Sadly the matter did not end there. It was shocking that Mr. John J. (Jack) Clancey, the chairman of the board of directors, having been made aware of the actions of his executive director, would take his side after being presented with documentary evidence. 

Another matter was raised personally with Clancy a few weeks later but, as it was of a very sensitive and personal nature involving several members of the staff, it cannot be revealed here for fear of causing embarrassment to the innocent persons affected. Suffice to say that rather than be concerned at the information presented to him so that he might take some form of action to avoid the potential of embarrassment to the AHRC, Clancy threatened the informant with legal action.

It is appalling that despite their very public stand for over 15 years on the issue of impunity for wrongdoing, the management and directors of the Asian Human Rights Commission are prepared to turn a blind eye to the actions of their own executive director.
-By a special correspondent-