Lam Chiang-kwan, who saved several people from a fire in Yuen Long last year, was named Good Citizen of the Year at a ceremony on 12 January. Eighty people received Good Citizen Awards this year, and 50 of them attended the ceremony to receive their awards in person from Commissioner of Police Chris Tang Ping-keung, HKGCC CEO George Leung, and Dr Joseph Lee from the Fight Crime Committee.
In April last year, a fire broke out on the first floor of Treasure Court, Hung Shui Kiu in Yuen Long. Lam, the 42-year-old owner of the restaurant opposite the building, recalled the event.
“There was smoke coming out from the kitchen of the unit,” he said. “A Vietnamese lady standing at the window in a room next to the kitchen shouted for help.”
Lam and several other neighbours initially tried to go upstairs to rescue her, but the stairwell was full of smoke. So Lam quickly returned to his restaurant to get a ladder and tools, and then climbed up to the canopy of the first floor and managed to break the locked windows. He and his neighbours first saved the woman who had shouted for help as well as a three-year-old boy in the same room, then they walked along the canopy to find another woman and her five-year-old daughter trapped in another room. However, the fire was too big for them to go further, and a baby boy tragically died.
In recognition of his tremendous bravery and quick thinking that saved the lives of four people, Lam was awarded with the Good Citizen of the Year Award. He received a plaque and a cheque for $4,000.
The eldest recipient of the Good Citizen Award was 87-year-old Lau Che-fong, who tried to rescue a drowning swimmer at Stanley Beach. On a cold morning in March 2019, she took the earliest bus from her home in Siu Sai Wan to Stanley to swim. She and her friends noticed someone in the water who was not moving, and tried to pull her out of the water. Sadly, the swimmer died. Lau received the award in recognition of her bravery and enthusiastic spirit.
Recipients of the Good Citizen Award each received a cheque for $3,000 and a certificate to thank them for caring for their fellow citizens and helping the police fight crime. Speaking at the event, the Chamber’s CEO Leung said he was very pleased to present the awards to these citizens who had showed such bravery in helping to ensure the safety of the community.
The Good Citizen Award programme has been running since 1973 with HKGCC as the sole sponsor to encourage citizens to help the police keep our city safe. Although presentation ceremonies were suspended for around 18 months due to the social unrest and pandemic, the January ceremony honoured Hong Kong citizens who made contributions to the community during this period.
Also speaking at the event, Dr Lee remarked on the evolution of crime in the city. Whereas in the past, many offences involved drug trafficking or indecent assault, today citizens also have to worry about cybercrime. Such crimes can be difficult to spot, so remaining vigilant and working together to protect the community is as important as ever.