Telford murder accused will face open trial

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 March, 1999, 12:00am

The mainland fung shui master accused of killing five Hong Kong women in Telford Gardens will face an open trial in Guangzhou on Thursday.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Gordon Fung Siu-yuen said a detective would be sent to attend the trial at the Intermediate People's Court in Shantou as an observer.

'The officer will have no part to play in the trial,' Mr Fung said.

The fung shui master, Li Yuhui, a Shantou resident, was arrested in Wuhan, Hubei province, in September last year.

Guangdong police said he had confessed to poisoning three women and two teenage girls on the Kowloon Bay estate in July last year and stealing $1.3 million before fleeing to the mainland.

A local delegate to the National People's Congress, Ma Lik, said a notice about the open trial was posted outside the court yesterday. About 30 seats would be reserved for the press.

Mr Ma said the court had also decided to open the trial to Hong Kong journalists.

'This is a great improvement on the part of the mainland authorities to open up the trial,' he said.

Mr Ma had made a formal request to the Supreme People's Congress for an open hearing in the aftermath of 'Big Spender' Cheung Tze-keung's case. Only relatives and chosen mainlanders were allowed to attend that trial, along with a police observer.

The two cases sparked controversy over judicial autonomy, with the mainland insisting on trying both with no objections from the SAR Government, although some of the crimes occurred in Hong Kong and involved local victims.

The Security Bureau said that under Section 7 of the Criminal Law of China, the mainland had extra-territorial jurisdiction over crimes committed by mainlanders outside its territory.

The bureau said Li was not covered under the arrangements with China that allow fugitives to be returned to Hong Kong.