Murder inquiry after woman 'pushed off ship'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 September, 2010, 12:00am

Police have launched a murder inquiry after a mainland woman died after allegedly being pushed into the sea while travelling as a passenger on a casino ship as it returned to Hong Kong yesterday morning.

The woman, 43, was pulled unconscious from Hong Kong waters, east of Waglan Island, at about 8.10am, 50 minutes after reportedly being pushed overboard. But she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards by rescuers.

Police later arrested the woman's husband, 47. He was taken hooded and handcuffed to the headquarters of the Marine Department's regional crime unit, in Sai Wan Ho, where he was being questioned by police last night but had not been charged.

'Initial investigations indicate that the woman was pushed into the sea from the deck close to the front of the casino ship. Witnesses have been located,' a police officer said. 'Officers also arrested her husband on board the vessel in connection with this murder case.'

Police launches and fire rescue boats sped to the scene after an emergency call at 7.40am reporting that a woman had been pushed into the sea at 7.20am while returning from an overnight cruise, along with more than 200 other passengers, on the MV Macau Success, which features a casino run by the Success Universe Group.

About half an hour after receiving the emergency call, the woman was seen floating in the sea by personnel on rescue boats. She was taken unconscious aboard a fireboat, where she was declared dead. The casino ship docked off Hung Hom at 8am, where police officers went on board to interview the passengers and crew.

A post-mortem examination is to be carried out.

A spokeswoman for the Success Universe Group said it would be inappropriate to comment on the matter while police were investigating.

The dead woman and her husband had boarded the cruise ship on Thursday afternoon before it left Hong Kong - which has strict controls on gambling - and reached international waters, where its casino was able to legally open for business.