Man on run for 10 years jailed for sauna killing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2007, 12:00am

A man who had spent more than 10 years on the run was sentenced to 71/2 years in jail yesterday for a brutal killing 12 years ago.

Ng Kam-tong, 38, pleaded guilty yesterday in the Court of First Instance to a reduced charge of manslaughter stemming from the chopping death of 37-year-old Tang Chi-keung at the Silver Spring Sauna in Mong Kok on May 7, 1995.

Senior government counsel Dee Crebbin said that although Ng was originally charged with murder, the prosecution was willing to accept his plea to a lesser charge because it believed his claims that he had no idea death or grievous bodily harm would result from the attack.

The court heard that on the night of the attack, Tang had told another regular customer of the sauna, Wong Mo, to stop chatting to the desk clerk and either patronise the establishment or leave.

A violent argument, during which blows were exchanged, broke out after Wong allegedly scolded Tang. Wong eventually left the sauna.

A staff member was later contacted by Wong to ascertain whether Tang's girlfriend had left the premises.

About 30 minutes after that was confirmed, witnesses described a group of seven or eight men armed with beef knives entering the lounge area of the sauna where Tang and some other customers were relaxing.

The customers were told to stand aside if they were not involved. The group then advanced on Tang, who was clad only in shorts, and attacked him.

Tang tried to escape but was caught and chopped by at least four of the men, including Wong Mo, Miss Crebbin said. Several other men were guarding the exits - one of whom, it was accepted, was Ng.

Tang was declared dead when ambulance officers arrived. He had suffered multiple chop wounds, including one 10cm long and 8cm deep in his left armpit and another to the back of his thigh that cut down to the knee bone.

Another savage blow to his abdomen had sliced through a rib and 5cm into his liver, leaving parts of his intestines exposed.

Nine shallower chop wounds and nine other cuts were found on his body.

Ng and the rest of the gang fled Hong Kong after learning of Tang's death.

Police arrested Ng in October last year after learning of his return the previous year.

Mrs Justice Judianna Barnes Wai-ling said it was impossible to know if Ng was lying when he said he was going to surrender, but she did acknowledge his willingness to assist police and to plead guilty at an early stage.

Given the fact that he had evaded justice for more than a decade, however, he was not entitled to the full one-third discount for his plea. She sentenced him to 71/2 years in jail.