Ghetto Justice <怒火街頭>
TVB Series 2011
Cast: Kevin Cheng, Myolie Wu, Sharon Chan, Sam Lee, Eddie Kwan, Mandy Wong, Jazz Lam, Joyce Tang, Shek Shau, and others.
Remarks : This is a watch-as-I-write-from-memory episodic thought (a combination of episode summaries, reviews & critical analysis episode per episode) and therefore please take note that this write-up will contain MAJOR SPOILERS for this particular episode and some creative license was used when recreating certain scenes or dialogue. Please refrain from revealing future SPOILERS in this episode.
Not yet a proper case but you can say this is a case of Coroner’s Inquest Hearing on the death of Miu Yeuk Lai.
This has got to be the dumbest case of this series; how low can it get? Even Law Ba seems rather dumb down for no reason than to raise some flimsy moral/ethics/legal nonsense when the first suspect should never have been Mai Bo, if the police aren’t so stupid. Even Teng and Law Ba both fooled.
But first, the all important recap and a very short one as in shorter than most.
Teng at restaurant with his father, father was scolding him and Teng retorted “Father, I know I am wrong to do this today. But Grandma Yim’s daughter was wrongfully killed! I had to seek justice for her!!” and his father so angry SLAPPED him hard across his cheek, red mark there by the way and his father screamed to him to get out and Teng at the end said “Father, I am sincere when I say this; I wish you good health” and he left.
Teng came home and immediately Law Ba rushed to him and said urgently “LEAVE! LEAVE NOW!! RUNNNNN!!!!” and Teng was confused until one punch and it was George, in boxer’s gloves punching the daylights out of Teng. George rightfully and very angrily said “How dare you lie to me!! You didn’t even tell me!! You went to my father’s home, 40 years of reputation built by him in the legal world, singlehandedly destroyed by you!! 40 years!!!” and punch punch punch and Teng cried “I did what I had to do! If he had nothing to hide why he is not saying anything!! Grandma Yim’s daughter deserves justice too!!” and George was so angry he said “Fine!! FINE!! I never believe Papa will do such thing! Never! But since you have taken this route, fine! I will leave, at once!!!!” and he left but couldn’t open the door due to his gloves, Chik who was there quickly opened for him and George politely said “Thank you very much” and left.
I feel George has every right to be angry with Teng. What made Teng so sure it was his Papa who did it? That demonstration indeed will destroy his 40 year old good reputation. I find Teng unreasonable and Law Ba even more so since he should have known better.
Anyway Kris with her master and Mai Bo hiding somewhere. Mai Bo said “I am sorry to trouble you old friend” and her master said “No trouble at all. I have very few friends at the bench and you’re the very few close ones I know, of course I will help you” and Mai Bo said to Kris “You’re very fortunate to have your master here to guide you” and Ma said “How fortunate can she be when my lack of reputation at the Bar did her no favours” and Mai Bo said “You’re one of the most righteous barrister I have ever met. It is because of your sense of justice which led you to reject many cases, and I applaud you for that. She could not have found a better master” and Kris smiled. Kris said “It is inevitable they will hold an inquest and you will have to reveal what you know” and Mai Bo said “I know” but he looked fishy.
Law Ba with Kris. Law Ba had bruises I think on his face or something and Kris said “You ok?” and touched his chest and he went ouch! and Kris said “Wow I never knew George could punch like that” and Law Ba said “I deserved it” and he wondered to Kris if he could find evidence in the apartment or something like that.
Law Ba knew he couldn’t get his uncle to say anything or even give him the key to the apartment so that he can check the place again so he asked his secret weapon; Mrs Leung, the super dedicated si yeh to see George. I feel this is such a dirty trick, to trick poor George. George welcomed Mrs Leung and reaffirmed his belief that his Papa would never murder anyone. Mrs Leung said Grandma Yim wants to burn some incense at the apartment and so George gave her the key.
At the apartment whilst Grandma Yim was praying, Mrs Leung gathered the evidence as dictated by Law Ba. Analysis was done and they found traces of Mai Bo where a landlord shouldn’t have been. They told this to George and George being faced with such evidence went to the apartment again I think and in his mind saw his father kissing Lai, then in bed with her, etc and at the same time kept seeing his father as the stern but fair judge he knew and he couldn’t reconcile both images. At night, he went to see his father. George said quietly “Papa, I have always admired you as a judge, I see you as my inspiration and my role model but I am faced with much evidence that suggest you and Miu Yuek Lai were lovers and you may have something to do with her death. Papa, I know you’re innocent, I know it but I can’t just sit by and let this go. This is not to harm you, but to help you. I have written to the Justice Department to request for a Coroner’s inquiry into her death. Papa, you will be required to attend and I hope then you will tell the whole truth” and George quietly left and his father smiled, perhaps realising his son has finally matured as a lawyer.
This is becoming like a witch hunt. How can Law Ba ever agree to this? Does he think Mai Bo has anything to do with her death? I think partly yes. Anyway what is a coroner’s inquest/inquiry you ask? This is not a hearing, you can preliminary hearing but more on cause of death. Like whether a cause of death is natural or foul play and the reason of death. In Lai’s case the police said suicide. In Grandma Yim’s case, she says foul play. This is not a case of who did it but was it suicide or was it murder? Usually conducted by the victim’s lawyer, prosecution will have a chance to rebut/reply. Malaysians will know what this process is even if a different name is used when I mention the name Teoh Beng Hock.
The 3 friends were at the playground and George was hidden somewhere there and Law Ba said “When I was younger, I always came here to find someone who love to hide himself when he is unhappy…” and they found George and Teng said “Look, I am sorry I lied to you. But I am proud of you for what you did”
The witch hunt day has come!
First I believe was the police on stand. Basically Law Ba destroyed his testimony by simply stating they didn’t investigate enough. Then came coroner, worse. Frankly I can’t remember if he was coroner or police. Assume he is coroner.
Coroner said he didn’t suspect foul play since doors were locked on the inside, nothing was stolen or broken and she died holding a letter and a torn picture. Moreover she had previous history of taking pills. Law Ba simply asked about the bruises on her face, could it have been self inflicted. Coroner said the bruises did not occur until much later when body went rigor mortis (meaning dead for some time, already becoming very smelly, very fixed in place) or something like that. Law Ba demonstrated with his own hands like cupping his own face with one hand forcing the mouth open as she spoke. The judge warned Law Ba not to try any funny hanky panky and Law Ba apologised and said “Do you think the marks could have been possibly made by someone force opening the mouth?” and coroner reluctantly said “yes” and Law Ba said “Then do you agree the marks would be consistent with someone force feeding her the pills?” and reluctantly he said, “Yes”.
Wow, incompetent coroner. What he thought? She slapped herself on each side?
Then came Mai Bo.
Calm cool, serious, Mai Bo took the stands. Law Ba began his assault and I wonder, did he really believe what he was saying?
“Mai Bo, can you tell the court what is your nature of relationship with the deceased?” and no answer and Law Ba asked more sternly “Am I correct to say she was your tenant and you were the landlord?” and no answer and he went on “I will put to you that you had a relationship with the victim?” and no answer “Despite her being married with a child, you conducted an illicit affair with the victim?” no answer and this time stronger “I will put to you that you MURDERED her because you didn’t want the public to know of this illicit affair when you’re about to receive your honorary title!!” and no answer and Law Ba thundered “You murdered her didn’t you?! DIDN’T YOU?!?!?!?!??!”
Law Ba oh Law Ba how easily you can be so dumb.
Finally Mai Bo spoke and I was thinking if you don’t speak the jury will think you badly!!
“No I didn’t kill her! I loved her” and Law Ba said “You admit you were lovers with her?” and Mai Bo said “Yes. It started as a landlord tenant relationship. I knew she was married with a child, she left her husband and moved to my place. One day…”
“She called me and said the aircond wasn’t working. So I went there and I accidentally touched her back and she was in pain and I saw her serious wound on her back and she revealed her husband was abusive towards her, she refused to call the police, so I decided to visit her often to make sure she is ok. Not long after, we fell in love and began our relationship. I was serious in this relationship but she asked me if whether I would like us to be together and move somewhere else, me, her and her son. I didn’t say yes, because I was worried how the public will view me. I did establish myself in the legal world for 40 years, I wasn’t ready to be judged for having an illicit affair with a married woman. I was also worried how my son would think of me. So I didn’t agree. I knew she was disappointed. A few days later after getting a call that there was a foul stench from the apartment, I went there and when I smell the foul stench, I immediately knew that stench couldn’t have been the garbage can. I rushed in, opened the door and saw Lai on the bed, already dead. I couldn’t believe it. I felt guilty; I knew she killed herself because of my rejection. I wanted to call the police and then I remembered, my reputation, my son and I decided to take away all traces of me. The garbage lady saw me with the plastic and left without throwing it” and Law Ba asked “But surely you will know the security will call the police about the smell?” and Mai Bo said “Yes I knew. I couldn’t call, so I decided to let the security do what I should have done. I knew it would lead to this but… but I did not kill her” and Law Ba asked a wrong question when he asked “But 2 questions remains; the bruises and the 2 pages of missing diary entry. Surely you know about the bruises and the 2 pages of diary entry that was torn away?” and Mai Bo looked surprised and said “I didn’t know” and Law Ba said “The police didn’t tell you?” and Mai Bo said “No they didn’t. I thought she committed suicide because I rejected her. I may not have killed her, but.. I was guilty. I felt guilty. I was also a coward. I have disappointed myself and my son who looked to me as a role model. I am not longer that role model for my act of selfishness and cowardice. I have wronged Lai and her mother. Permit me, in front of this court, to apologise to Lai and Grandma Yim” and he stood up and bowed deeply, Grandma Yim didn’t become emotional, George was slightly crying and Law Ba looked shell shocked.
Again, did he really think Mai Bo did it?!?!?!? Anyway no wonder Mai Bo was silent. He thought she killed herself.
Outside the court, George saw his Papa and said “Papa I am so proud of you. You will always be the Papa I admire” and Mai Bo said “Junior, even after I have lied? I don’t deserve your admiration” and George said “Papa, when you were a judge, you will give lighter sentence to those who confessed, so why can’t I give you the same “lighter sentence”? Papa, I will always be proud of you, you told the truth despite what it will do to your reputation” and Mai Bo said “40 years.. destroyed. And the possibility of a charge for perverting the course of justice, but I am ready for all that. It all doesn’t matter because I know I have your trust and respect, and that is enough” and he held his son and his son held him back and for the first time I saw Mai Bo smiled a wide smile.
Law Ba basically said if Mai Bo is to be believed, then he didn’t kill Lai but Lai couldn’t have died by suicide since the bruises on her face suggests otherwise. So he said “Mai Bo and her were lovers. She was still married to an abusive husband whom she left, Yeung Kwok Kui. The place was undisturbed and 2 questions remains unanswered; who caused the bruises on her face and who took the 2 diary entry pages? Someone had to; and only 2 can enter the place with Miu Yeuk Lai’s permission; one is Mai Bo and the other….”
Camera zoom to a guy who looked rather nervous..
“… was her husband, Yeung Kwok Kui! The police did not investigate this point; the police didn’t even check on Yeung Kwok Kui and his alibi. They never suspected him despite the physical abuse, despite the possibility he could have entered the apartment. In fact, who is to benefit the most from her death? Who is to have the most satisfaction from Miu Yeuk Lai’s death? Yeung Kwok Kui!!”
Or something like that.
Next episode…. can’t remember. Seriously.
What more can I say about this episode? I feel it is just so stupid!! Law Ba should have brought up the issue of the husband even before hurling the accusation at Mai Bo. First suspect when a wife dies; husband. But they went after Mai Bo. Yes he was shifty and everything but surely, if she was so badly abused, it wouldn’t have been the first. Everyone acknowledge the husband was a no good bastard, even Grandma Yim but no one, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE suspected the husband. And he was even there at the inquest!!! I felt the inquest was like a witch hunt. What if she did kill herself? Poor husband, another accusation hurled. How.. dumb! Law Ba, I am so disappointed at you!! His shocked look when Mai Bo said police didn’t tell him about the bruises and diary was classic.
Performances wise, no comment. Except maybe Jazz Lam who should have won most improved, best supporting, etc because he may not look like it, but he portrayed the gentle well mannered George very very well. His scene when he faced his father and told him of his disappointment in his was a very well acted scene. You can see that he believed his father and yet couldn’t deny his father had something hide. I have always liked Jazz Lam but for a while he was typecast as the brute; here totally against type and it works.
Another notable mention is Eddie Kwan as Chik which I didn’t mention in the last episode because he has so little scenes but I dare say I enjoy his scenes whenever he is in it.
Kevin Cheng did well, except this story let him down. I couldn’t believe Law Ba would be so reckless and irresponsible in his accusations. But I notice he has a signature move; when he wants to emphasise on a point, his palm faces him and he moves it outwards a few times.
Other than that, no comment except when will we be rid of this nonsense case? Absolute nonsense. And I told my sis Mai Bo didn’t do it; why? It’s not the last episode. If last episode then he did it because that would be super shock value for a known character.
This Episodic Thoughts was written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at Point2e.com.