Accused killer 'made insurance query'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 February, 2006, 12:00am

Ambulance officer suspected of murdering wife for payout rang AIA before she died but didn't mention her policy, court told

An ambulance officer accused of killing his wife to pocket a $1.1 million insurance payout allegedly called their insurance manager the day before she died, the court heard yesterday.

But the Court of First Instance was told Leung Wing-sing, 46, had not asked about his wife's policy, of which he is the beneficiary.

Leung, 46, has pleaded not guilty to one count of murdering his wife, Lau Siu-han, on September 30, 2003, at their home in Western.

Prosecutor Paul Loughran said Leung - who appeared to have been seeing another woman, O Sai-ying, in 2002 - was suspected of drugging his wife with four sleeping pills at 11pm the night before, then strangling her to death early the next morning.

The court was told Lau had taken out two life insurance policies, together worth $1.1 million to Leung upon her death.

Leung Mei-lan, who was district manager of AIA Company (Bermuda) in 2003, testified yesterday that Lau had taken out three AIA life insurance policies for herself and her children since 1992. The defendant had also taken out a policy in 1996, which lapsed.

The court has heard Leung and Lau had been married 18 years and had a daughter, 17, and a son, 14.

Ms Leung said if Lau was murdered, the policy entitled the defendant to receive US$90,000.

She said Leung had phoned her on September 29, 2003, to ask if an accident policy he had taken out with Heng Sang Insurance Company covered injury at work.

At 10am the next day, Ms Leung got another call from the accused.

'Mr Leung called me from the hospital saying that his wife had been killed as a result of a robbery. He was crying,' she said.

Ms Leung told him she would handle matters concerning an insurance claim.

She agreed with defence barrister John Hagon that his client had only mentioned the death of his wife and said nothing about a claim on the life insurance policy.

Wong Wai-ling, a Heng Sang Insurance manager, testified that the accused had taken out a life insurance policy in July 2003 that would pay $500,000 to Lau if he died. The policy covered a one-year period.

She said the policy was amended in August 2003 so that Leung would receive $500,000 if Lau died. Leung had cancelled the policy the following May, she said.

Ms Wong said the policy would not be paid out if one of the insured was killed by the other, and that Leung's claim was pending the verdict on the murder charge against him.

Police Constable Ho Sze-man told the court there was no evidence Leung had paid Ms O any large sums of money over a period of time, though there was evidence Leung had paid her for sex.

Constable Ho did not say what the evidence was.

The hearing before Madam Justice Clare-Marie Beeson continues on Monday.