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Richard Chang: quest for truth and appeal for justice

Nearly three years after his death, Richard Chang's name has become synonymous with a lack of closure for the Chinese community in England. The circumstances surrounding his avoidable death on 13 July 2004 in London remain controversial, while the way the case has been handled echoes of a deja vu not unlike that of Stephen Lawrence in 1993.

Was it a battle of David and Goliath? Was Richard Chang confronting the likes of Enron? Or was racism a factor, and if so, a big one, in the way it was handled?

Who was Richard Chang? He was a business analyst at Abbey National, a large building society in London. [I was a business analyst at another bank in my previous life --- and did I pose a threat?] On 13th July 2004 in the afternoon, after an "interrogation" he fell to his death inside the office building.

I remember the last three times that I saw and spoke to Richard Chang. He was at his sister Valerie's house warming party in London. He came to another sister's house in Birmingham where I played piano one evening in Spring of 2001. I spotted him and his family at the violinist Mengerov's concert at the South Bank. Each time he was with his wife and two kids.

Therefore I thought it very odd that he would commit suicide and leave them behind, especially when he had plane tickets for a planned family trip to New York. As the dutiful son of elderly parents, he couldn't possibly be so selfish to end his life and abandon his filial responsibilities. I can only speculate that he either faced a great loss of face were he to choose to live or he fell to his death by accident. As the latter has been ruled out according to news reports, I am now wondering if he was forced to choose his own death.

The quest for truth and the desire for closure are the driving forces behind the unfaltering pursuit of justice by his family and friends. Now and then I get some news from his family such as the email below.

Some of you may be aware that my brother Richard Chang died tragically in July 2004 at Abbey national headquarters, Euston, London.
We the family and suppporters believe that the police investigation was seriously flawed and that evidence was prevented from coming out at the inquest in July 2005 and by the police. The family have been to court three times and is now pursuing a case at the Employment Tribunal and with further support and petition, aiming for 1000 or more, we want to pursue a public enquiry case. The police so far have said that this is not necessary and will not release vital documents preventing the truth to come out. Like the Stephen Lawrence case, the Chang family are being treated abismally by the police and coroners court and need pressure from campaigners, chinese community and activists. The tribunal at the prehearing are still waiting for more doc and unless we put pressure on the MP's and public bodies the case is encountering further blocks.
If we can reopen this as a public enquiry, we have evidence and two witnesses, a union rep who confirmed at the last hearing that he believed Richard was subjected to harassment and was ambushed by the two interrogaters and would still be alive today.  A second witness who was pushed out has a case and mountains of evidence as big as Enron ...
If you want to support the case, please sign a petition that is being produced and come out on Sunday March 11 2007, from 12noon for an hour or two to help us gather signatures from the public in China Town. We welcome committed volunteers. We will also be informing all the press, chinese and national press who are waiting on the wings for the case to be opened as a public enquiry.
What has gone wrong for Abbey and the police is that the family is still pursuing a case and we now need your support to raise this on a political level. As a member of the Chinese community we are not going to keep quiet and allow the insitutions to push us in a corner- as the saying goes with the Stephen Lawrence case, Insitutional [sic] Racism still exists and its only by lobbying can we make a difference.
Volunteers required and bi-lingual would be good to help gather more signatures in China Town. So far we have gathered 600 and need raise awareness and thousands more signatures so we can take these to the House of Commons.

2 March 2007

Related links:
Richard Chang, death at Abbey National in London, 5 Sept 2005
Truth and justice for Richard Chang - online petition
Richard Chang - website by the Chang family
Stephen Lawrence murder
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry
Stephen Lawrence time line of events

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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page. See her publication list for more.
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