22 November: Shocking video has been released showing police smirking as a man in their custody writhes in pain, and is then abandoned outside a police station to die.
CCTV footage from inside Dandenong police station shows Gong Ling Tang, 53, crawling from a cell. An interpreter told a coroner he had pleaded with police to be taken to hospital.
The May 2010 footage shows a clearly disoriented Mr Tang writhing in pain in his cell, and shows him later outside, barely able to stand, and then collapsing in a puddle. The Herald Sun successfully applied to the coroner for the public release of the disturbing footage.
The police involved, none of whom has faced any penalty, opposed the release. Their lawyers argued the video would be used to sensationalise the matter, and there was a risk it could inflame relationships between the public and police.
Gong Ling Tang crawled from his cell after begging to be taken to the hospital. He later died from a gastrointestinal haemorrhage. Source: Supplied
But despite the distressing nature of the footage, Mr Tang’s family wanted it shown.
The footage shows Mr Tang, who appears unbalanced and unable to walk properly, refusing to leave the police station after being allowed to do so.
Shortly later two officers are seen escorting Mr Tang outside the station and leaving him alone outside with a bag of his personal property.
Moments later Mr Tang appeared to collapse in a puddle.
He died in hospital the following morning.
Deputy State Coroner Iain West ruled that the 51 minutes of footage be released, noting there was a public interest in “inquests concerning the actions of the police”.
“I also do not accept that publication will inflame; rather (it will) inform,” Mr West said.
“I accept that some of the footage might be regarded as confronting or distressing.”
Mr Tang’s family said the CCTV footage showed the actions of the police who did not give evidence at the inquest.
“The family are grateful that the tragic final hours of their husband and father have been revealed,” they said.
Gong Ling Tang Source: HeraldSun
Genna Angelowitsch, from Adviceline Injury Lawyers, said the family were grateful for an apology from police.
“But unfortunately, Mrs Truong and her daughter are still suffering now,” she said.
No officer has been charged or faced any disciplinary action in the more than three years since Mr Tang’s death.
A force spokesman said a professional standards investigation continued, and police awaited the inquest findings.
In January the Office of Police Integrity said there were “a number of procedural and duty failings” without which the result may have differed.
My Tang died hours after being removed from Dandenong police station and left outside, where he collapsed in a puddle. Source: Supplied
The court heard Mr Tang was “half pushed out” of a police holding area by an officer.
Mandarin interpreter Yu Shu Lipski told the inquest police laughed at Mr Tang, who’d soiled himself, ridiculed him, yelled at him, and showed him little respect.
The court heard that as Mr Tang was interviewed an officer “was laughing so much she had tears coming out of her eyes.”
Ms Lipski said Mr Tang said: “I want to go home … I want to go to hospital, I can’t take it any more.
“I’m going to die.”
An unsteady Mr Tang being removed from the police station. Source: Supplied
She said despite seeing Mr Tang, who was also bleeding, rolling around on the floor in pain officers were told to “get rid go him”.
“I was very concerned about his health,” she said.
“I could see lots of blood in the cell near the bed,” she said.
No officers have been charged or faced any disciplinary action, Victoria Police has confirmed.
The court has heard there is conflicting evidence about what arrangements had been made for Mr Tang upon his release.
When paramedics arrived at the police station Mr Tang was seen lying barefoot in a puddle of water.
He was admitted to intensive care with hypothermia and liver failure.
He died from a gastrointestinal haemorrhage the next morning.