Steven Senne/AP
Rhode Island Hospital where Hiu Lui Ng
died after being diagnosed with cancer
and a spinal fracture.

Another Detainee’s Death Sparks Anger

August 14, 2008 02:59 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
The death of immigrant Hiu Lui Ng sheds light on how detainees and deportees are treated while in the custody of U.S. officials.

Undiagnosed Cancer and Fractured Spine Lead to Detainee Death

The horrific death of New Yorker Hiu Lui Ng spotlights fatal flaws in U.S. federal Immigration Services policies.

The New York Times published a troubling report of how Ng went from a being 17-year-old immigrant from Hong Kong, to a computer engineer living in Queens, N.Y., with his wife and two children, to a detainee struggling to survive.

Ng was in the process of getting a green card, but at his final interview at immigration headquarters in Manhattan in summer 2007, he was arrested by immigration detention officials. Over the next year, Ng was held in three jails and detention centers while his health rapidly and drastically deteriorated.

On Wednesday, August 6, 2008, two days after he turned 34 years old, Ng died in a Rhode Island hospital with a fractured spine and widespread cancer “that had gone undiagnosed and untreated for months.”
The Providence Journal spoke with U.S. District Judge William E. Smith, who gave the order that Ng be taken to a hospital for the M.R.I. that revealed cancer and a fractured spine.

“What I’m concerned about was what was represented to me in chambers. I was told that he had received extensive medical evaluation and treatment. Now, I read a very different version of events in The New York Times, and I don’t know how to reconcile these things,” Smith said.

Others connected to the case say that the Times article “omitted crucial facts with respect to the treatment that Mr. Ng received.”

Lawyers for Ng have requested a criminal investigation into their client’s death.

Related Topics: Arbitrary detention; Drugging of deportees

Opinion & Analysis: Was Ng’s death murder?

Reference Material: Detainee Basic Medical Care Act


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