Two Tales From One City

The place is Hong Kong.  First, the English-language report in the South China Morning Post:

Couple fall from window.  By Agnes Lam.  January 31, 2005.

Two people were hurt in a bizarre accident yesterday morning after they locked themselves inside a shop in Yuen Long and then tried to escape.

Wong Wai-sun, 69, and his 34-year-old female friend live in a flat above the Yuen Long shop, which is the only entrance. 

Their mishap occurred shortly before 7.30am when the pair decided to have morning tea in a nearby restaurant. The shop was not yet open. When they tried to unlock the front door of the ground-floor shop in Fung Cheung Road, the key snapped in half.

In an attempt to free themselves, the trapped pair climbed out of a window that was 3 metres above the ground.  But as they climbed out they both fell. Mr Wong is in hospital but the woman was discharged. 

You got all that?  And now we move on to what was inside the Chinese-language newspapers in Hong Kong.  The overall story was consistent across all six on-line newspapers that I have checked, so I am going to present a consolidated report.

The scene was at a certain store located at Numbers 2-6 Fung Cheung Road in the Yuen Long district.

The male subject is a 69-year-old named Wong Wai-sun who lives in the neighborhood.  On this day, he had his regular morning tea at a local teahouse and he was strolling in the street when he encountered the female subject named Lei, who is a 34-year-old with a temporary visit permit from mainland China.

At this point, the two decided to get 'friendly' and Wong proceeded to the store.  Wong is friendly with the store owner, and he asked for the use of the attic.  The store owner obliged, gave Wong the key to the attic and then went out to leave them alone.

The male and female sujbects stayed in the attic for about 30 minutes and they were about to leave at around 730am.  When Wong tried to open the iron gate for the attic, the key snapped in half with one part stuck inside.

Mr. Wong and his companion were locked in the attic.  He did not call for help because he did not want people to know what he had been up to.  In the end, he decided to climb out of the attic window and then down to the ground by clinging to a water pipe.  But as he moved out on the awning, his legs gave way and he slid.  His female companion grabbed him, but she did not have the strength to hold him.  Instead, she lost her balance as well and both fell to the ground 3 meters below.

A passerby saw the two people lying on the street and called the police.  The male was bleeding in the head, and had to be hospitalized.  The female complained about back pains and was taken to the hospital and then subsequently released.  The female was heard to be cursing the male: "I told you not to climb out!  You are getting me into trouble!"  When questioned by the police, the two were evasive about what went on.  The police obtained a ladder and went up to check the attic (see above photo from Apple Daily), but found nothing suspicious.  No moral charges will likely be filed because there is insufficient evidence.

There obviously has to be some basis for this alternate version or else those Chinese-language newspapers will be facing a major libel lawsuit.  It must also be common knowledge, because all six newspapers got the same story with just minor differences in detail.

Why do the English-language newspapers short-change their readers?  I am only a blogger and I don't have the time, resources and power to compel the reporters to confess to me.  I have seen this happen over and over again, and it seems to occur much more often for these types of sordid stories.  Could it be that they are trying to shield their readers from unpleasant facts, or to protect the image of the city?  I don't think so, because they didn't have to print the story at all.

You can complain to the South China Morning Post if you want.  It probably won't change anything.  But you can check this blog regularly for the real deal.  This has been a public service announcement from your favorite blog ...