Father who attacked family 'mentally ill'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2007, 12:00am

A construction worker who held his estranged wife and their three sons hostage with a chopper was ordered to undergo three months' hospital treatment for mental illness after a magistrate labelled him 'a threat to his family and society'.

Cho Kai-yip, 47, pleaded guilty in Kwun Tong Court to four charges of assault, one of criminal intimidation, one of false imprisonment and one of criminal damage.

The court heard that his 37-year-old wife and children, aged eight to 11, had been living in a shelter in Wong Tai Sin since a domestic violence report in December.

On February 23, Cho phoned his wife and persuaded her to reveal their hideout. He went there, armed with a chopper, hoping to reconcile with her and persuade her to return home.

When he entered the apartment, Cho punched and kicked his wife, and threatened to chop her to death if she did not return with him. When his children tried to intervene, he punched them.

The four locked themselves in the bedroom. His wife escaped through a balcony window and called police on her mobile phone.

Cho brandished the chopper at police when they arrived and damaged a negotiator's camera. He was later persuaded to surrender.

The woman and children were badly bruised in the incident.

'It is obvious that he suffers from mental problems. He would be a threat to his family and the society,' said Principal Magistrate Tong Man, who imposed hospital orders for each of the offences.

Medical reports showed Cho suffered from mental illness but had refused to receive clinical treatment.

The court heard in mitigation that Cho was remorseful and promised not to harass his family again.