Lamma Island

Missing Briton dead; murder suspect held

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 March, 2011, 12:00am

A 64-year-old British tourist missing on Lamma Island since Tuesday morning has been found dead in an apartment on the island. Last night police said they had arrested a 29-year-old expatriate at the Central ferry piers in connection with a murder inquiry.

A search for Janet Gilson began on Lamma Island on Thursday involving 40 police and Civil Aid Service officers with tracker dogs. Gilson (pictured) was reported missing by her niece, Julia Fareed, at about 1am on Wednesday.

The arrested man was detained on a ferry travelling from Lamma to Central yesterday. Last night a spokesman said the man was being held overnight for questioning.

Witnesses who were on the ferry said police in a motor launch stopped the vessel midway through the journey, boarded it, identified the man and arrested him. 'The police thought that the man was armed so they acted very quickly, but he did not put up a fight,' one witness said. 'Initially when the ferry stopped the man was walking around all over the place but he was very calm and did not seem concerned at all.

'It took about half an hour to get off the ferry when we got to Central. There was police everywhere.'

A Lamma Island resident who was waiting at the Central ferry pier just after 6pm said she saw a handcuffed man with his head covered by a hood escorted by police off the ferry.

She said there had been a strong police presence around the island during the day and that the ferry piers on Lamma Island had also been under heavy guard.

Gilson, who arrived in Hong Kong to stay with her niece on March 5, went missing after leaving the family home in Yung Shue Wan on Tuesday morning.

'Went to Sok Ku Wan. Will have something to eat here then ferry to Aberdeen. I will call when can come back. Love Janet' was the last phone message she sent to her niece on Tuesday morning. After her aunt failed to turn up by Wednesday morning, the niece reported her missing at the Lamma police post in Yung Shue Wan.

Fareed said she had a very good relationship with her aunt, who had devoted her life to the Salvation Army. 'She is much like a second mother to me,' she said.

Initially Senior Inspector Kwok Chi-keung, the officer in charge of the Lamma police post, said Gilson appeared to have left the flat in a hurry, without her glasses or usual shoes, leaving her bedroom untidy and a bathroom water heater on.

Kwok said it was not known whether she caught a ferry to Aberdeen on the day.