Knife killer must serve 16 years

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 January, 2008, 12:00am

A man who stabbed two people to death and wounded another two during a drug-related psychotic episode five years ago was too much of a threat to society to be released for at least 16 years, a court said yesterday.

Liu Chun-yip, 31, yesterday was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences with minimum terms of 16 years by the Court of Appeal, which in August last year reduced his twin murder convictions to manslaughter after accepting he had become psychotic because of years of drug abuse.

At about 9.30am on August 29, 2002, Liu went on a rampage through the Sheung Wan flat of his godmother, Chui Sau-chun, with whom he was boarding at the time.

Chui's son, Chan Che-chow, heard her screaming and ran into the room she shared with his daughter, Chan Ka-man, to find Liu stabbing both women with a large kitchen knife.

Chan Che-chow fought Liu and suffered several serious injuries.

At the same time, Chan Ka-man, who was also badly injured, called police.

Chui died of deep stab wounds to the chest. The other person who died was Tsoi Wai-man, who was the girlfriend of Chan Che-chow's son.

She also had been stabbed in the chest.

Chan Che-chow and Chan Ka-man survived the attack but the latter spent four months in hospital recovering from her wounds.

Mr Justice Michael Stuart-Moore said in delivering the sentence that just after the attack, Liu had told doctors that he had heard voices 'talking of a massacre' and had become confused, paranoid and frightened into acting.

It was accepted by the court that Liu had been an abuser of Ice and other drugs for up to five years, although he had not ingested any drugs for two to three days beforehand.

He was suffering from paranoid delusions brought on by a drug-induced psychosis.

Mr Justice Stuart-Moore cited one psychiatric report that said if Liu 'had never taken drugs ... then of course he would never have killed'.

A report on Liu prepared earlier this month stated that he was still unstable.

It said he may one day be able to be released but would need close supervision indefinitely and practical counselling to help him adjust to life in the wider world.

It went on: 'He must of course never have access to dangerous drugs again. His brain is susceptible to them and the consequences ... all have seen.'

Mr Justice Stuart-Moore said: 'It is clear that if [Liu] were to abuse drugs again he may suffer another psychotic episode ... as such he represents a long-term danger to the community.'

The court, which also consisted of justices Robert Tang Ching and Wally Yeung Chun-kuen, noted that minimum sentences were just that.

Liu could only be released when it was deemed he no longer represented a threat to society.