Death of Lovells HK lawyer sparks row

A London coroner's court will hear an inquest this week into the death of Hong Kong-based Lovells solicitor Harinder Veriah. Veriah has posthumously become a focal point for anti-racism campaigners after her death in a Hong Kong hospital as a result of what her husband believes was racially-motivated sub-standard care.
Veriah died in the Ruttonjee Hospital on 2 January 2000, when she was taken there after suffering an epileptic fit. Her husband, writer and journalist Martin Jacques, says that hospital staff discriminated against her on grounds of race.
A Hong Kong coroner's court ruled in November 2000 that Veriah died of natural causes. However, because her body was brought back to London for burial, a UK coroner's court must hold a second inquest. The inquest is expected to last one day and will rely primarily on documentary evidence, although Jacques will also testify.
Jacques has also instructed Leigh Day & Co to bring a medical negligence claim on his behalf in Hong Kong. Frances Swaine, who is handling the case, said: “We've completed our investigations and believe we have strong independent evidence. Now we're just waiting until the UK inquest is complete.”
Veriah joined Lovells in London before transferring to Hong Kong in November 1998. A campaign launched since her death has thrust the issue of racial discrimination into the spotlight in Hong Kong. The territory currently has no anti-racist legislation at all, but the government is conducting a consultation process to determine whether or not reform is needed.