Families of the victims of the 2012 Lamma ferry tragedy that claimed 39 lives may file a private prosecution against those responsible as the Department of Justice (DOJ) closed the door on further legal action.
The government has revealed that the DOJ decided that prosecution would not be launched against any individual or company after the police submitted results of their investigation in 2015 and 2018.
The families, backed by Democratic Party lawmaker James To, were informed of the DOJ's decision in a meeting with the police on Tuesday.
To, who is also a lawyer, said they were told that there was insufficient evidence to launch further prosecution even though authorities had heard new testimony from a Spanish engineer.
He also said on Wednesday that families of the victims are "very disappointed" and urged the police to offer a reward to appeal for more information.
The families are arranging a meeting with the Department of Justice to find out why it ruled out further prosecution.
"As a result of the meeting, maybe our expert can understand more and to help the families to decide whether, against all odds, we should launch a private prosecution," To said.
"According to Mr Justice Lunn's committee of inquiry report, it's very obvious that the construction of the Lamma IV vessel and the inspection of the Marine Department have a lot of unforgivable failures, and we feel that justice demands that somebody must be responsible for it criminally."
The captains of the two vessels and two Marine Department officials have been given jail sentences in connection with the deadliest maritime disaster in Hong Kong in decades.
Seventeen Marine Department officers found guilty of misconduct were disciplined by the Civil Service Bureau over the tragedy on October 1, 2012.