Suspected teahouse hitman seized in Hunan

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2003, 12:00am

A mainland man suspected of shooting dead a wealthy businessman in a Hong Kong teahouse last November has been arrested in Hunan province.

Public Security Bureau officers arrested the suspected assassin, Yang Wen, 25, last Friday after learning he was hiding in a rented house in Zhangjiajie City.

Harry Lam Hon-lit, 54, was killed with a single bullet to the head in the Luk Yu Tea House in Stanley Street, Central, on November 30 as he ate breakfast with three friends.

Yang's arrest came after Hunan Public Security Bureau confirmed in December it was holding two other suspects in connection with the murder and that a nationwide warrant had been issued for the hired killer and the mastermind.

A Hong Kong police source said yesterday that mainland authorities had arrested more than three suspects in connection with the killing of Lam, a director of Hong Kong-based Digger Holdings and an investor in the Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen, Asia's largest golf club.

The Guangzhou-based New Evening Express said Yang was arrested at 12.20am on Friday after 30 police officers waited outside his house for several hours.

The newspaper said Yang had been approached in early November by arrested suspects, Zhang Zixin, 20, and Wu Yiwu, 23, for an assignment in Hong Kong and told that he would be given a substantial fee.

The three, all from Huanjiang in Hunan, obtained permits to visit Hong Kong via Zhuhai on November 27. They went to the Luk Yu Tea House on November 30 and saw Lam having tea.

Yang reportedly ate his breakfast and paid his bill before walking up behind Lam and shooting him in the back of the head. A Chinese-made Black Star 7.62mm pistol, of the same type used in the killing and loaded with five bullets, was left wrapped in clothing in a backpack at a restaurant in the Shun Tak Centre in Sheung Wan. The backpack was found by a cleaner on the same day as the killing. However, police were not told until three days later when a restaurant worker looked in the bag and found the pistol.

The police source said it was too early to say if the force would request the return of the three men to Hong Kong. Hunan Public Security Bureau could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Unconfirmed reports reaching Hong Kong early today said the suspected hitman had been taken to Shenzhen for possible transfer to Hong Kong. However, a police spokeswoman said they had no information on the transfer.