Insurance salesman killed girlfriend for payout, court told

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 March, 2011, 12:00am

An insurance salesman and his friend allegedly killed the former's girlfriend in the hope of securing a HK$2.8 million insurance payment to settle their debts, the court heard yesterday.

Chow Wai-kei, the 32-year-old salesman, and Kong Pui-lam, 29, were accused of plying Chow's girlfriend, Chen Fan, 34, with alcohol, before throwing her into the harbour and drowning her by keeping her head under water.

They pleaded not guilty in the Court of First Instance to a joint count of murder, for a killing that allegedly took place at the Tsim Shui Tsui East waterfront outside the Empire Centre on February 12 last year.

Chow allegedly forged Chen's signature to buy a HK$2.8 million insurance policy which took effect three months before her death and another HK$1 million policy, never approved, a month before her death.

Prosecutor Michael Arthur said Chow met Chen, a nightclub hostess, in August 2009.

Chen divorced her husband a month later. Chow and Chen then developed a sexual relationship although Chow had another live-in girlfriend.

Arthur said that before the killing Chow and Kong checked the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront before meeting the victim early in the morning. They then went to Pam's Pub at New Mandarin Plaza, where Chow and Kong plied her with alcohol. They later walked her to the waterfront, where they allegedly killed her at around 5am.

The court heard that, at first, Chow and Kong told police that Chen had fallen into the sea accidentally but later changed their stories and blamed each other for masterminding the crime.

Arthur said that, after questioning, Kong confessed to police that they had discussed a plan to kill the victim and that Chow promised to share with him half of the HK$2.8million payout to settle the debts.

The court heard that Kong admitted to police lifting the victim's legs and throwing her into the sea. Chow then jumped into sea to drown her by holding her head under water.

Kong told police he jumped into the water and helped hold the victim's head under water but he later gave up when he became scared.

But Chow told police that Kong was the mastermind. He said Kong instructed him to buy the life insurance for Chen in October 2009 to earn some 'quick money'.

Chow also told police that after Kong threw Chen into the sea, Kong asked him to jump into the water to kill Chen. Chow said he threw her a lifebuoy, jumped in and held the victim to save her.

Chow said originally they planned to kill the victim by faking a robbery, and even went so far as buying a knife, gloves and a rope.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Darryl Saw.