Murder-suicide probe after pair found dead

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 December, 2008, 12:00am

Police are investigating a suspected murder-suicide involving an elderly couple who were found dead in a flat in Kwai Chung yesterday.

Their 36-year-old daughter called police after she found her father, 67, hanging in the bathroom of their flat at Hiu Kwai House, Kwai Chung Estate, at about 1.20am. Her 70-year-old mother was unconscious on the bed.

They were declared dead at Yan Chai Hospital. Abrasions were found on the woman's neck. Post-mortem examinations will be conducted to identify the cause of the deaths.

An initial police investigation found there were no economic reasons for the tragedy and the couple did not have any record of mental illness.

A source familiar with the family said the man had difficulties in walking and his wife would sometimes make extra money by collecting cardboard on the streets and selling it.

Their daughter worked as a supermarket cashier nearby and was devoted to her parents, the source said.

A spokesman for the Social Welfare Department said staff had been in touch with the daughter since the tragedy, but he would not say whether the family was being seen by social workers.

'We are following the needs of the family and will provide necessary assistance, such as burial arrangements,' he said.

Roy Lam, assistant executive director of Against Elderly Abuse, said they had reported more than 80 cases this year of attempted suicide involving elderly people.

'Most of them, especially those who suffer from illness, are worried about domestic care as they live by themselves,' he said. 'They may also fear being a burden on their families and are reluctant to seek help.'

Others had expressed concerns about their financial security and even their burial arrangements.

Kwai Chung Estate was home to a lot of elderly people, many of whom lived alone, Mr Lam said.

He urged children who did not live with their parents to visit regularly and to keep in touch by phone. The government should also provide more resources to accommodate the needs of the elderly, he said.