Debtor took 20 sleeping pills a day

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 November, 2001, 12:00am

A mood disorder patient, identified only as Mr Chan, said he took more than 20 sleeping pills a day when the price of his luxury flat in Sha Tin plummeted by 60 per cent.

Mr Chan, who is among an estimated 65,000 negative equity homeowners in Hong Kong, said he had feared he could no longer afford mortgage repayments of $40,000 a month.

The building materials supplier said some of his clients had not paid their bills and he had been involved in a series of legal disputes in the past four years.

'Over the years, I tried to sleep all day to avoid thinking of these troubles,' he said.

'In the beginning, I suffered insomnia and took one or two pills every night to get to sleep.

'But after several months I needed to increase the dosage and took four or five pills every two or three hours - as soon as I woke up.'

The patient is still under treatment at the Chinese University's Hong Kong Mood Disorders Centre.

Mr Chan said he used to earn $100,000 a month and bought a luxury flat in Sha Tin for $7 million in 1997 but the flat's value had now dropped to $2.8 million.

The negative equity sufferer finally said that he had decided to stop the repayments and mortgaged his home to a bank five months ago.

'It was a very painful decision but brought me a big relief,' he said.