Inferiority fears of phone salesman
The two women Lam promised to marry could not have been more different.
Though physically tiny, Michelle Tam Sin-ming was a forceful, independent career woman.
She had a degree from Hong Kong University and a job at the South China Morning Post.
May Chan, on the other hand, was a neurotic, needy woman with a failed marriage and a chequered employment history.
Lam fell in love with Miss Tam first.
The two were old school mates, and hadn't seen each other for years when they came across each other on the MTR in 1991. They renewed their acquaintance and began dating. Soon they were lovers.
The couple moved in together while Miss Tam was a university student. But her academic achievements created a barrier between them.
'I thought if I worked really hard I could narrow the gap between us,' Lam said. 'But after she graduated and got her job, I knew that no matter what I did, I could never close it.' A Form Three graduate, the phone salesman showed Miss Tam his brother's Form Five certificate and pretended it was his own.
Lam said he 'felt inferior' to Miss Tam. Soon, it was affecting their sex life.
With Chan, Lam felt manly and superior.
A divorcee, Chan had suffered psychological abuse at the hands of her former lovers.
For the first time in five years, Lam felt truly needed.
Chan's five older siblings were charmed by the new man in their sister's life.
'He had good habits,' sister Peggy Chan Lai-ting, 38, said outside court. 'He didn't smoke or drink.
'He was the only man she ever brought home, other than her husband. We assumed they would eventually get married.' Chan had an uneven work history. Her disastrous romances had undermined her professional success.
She had been forced to leave a bank job after her family learned she was involved with a married colleague.
The ill-advised affair drove her to seek work in the phone shop - and comfort in Lam's arms.