Destroyed by mistress from hell
It's a case that makes Fatal Attraction look tame.
The Hollywood thriller about a mistress who turned vengeful has haunted plenty of men with cheating hearts since its 1987 release. But it has nothing on the tale that unravelled in District Court about businessman Mr X and his former lover Ki Chun-yim.
The Hong Kong version of the mistress-from-hell story ended yesterday when Ki, 38, was sent to jail for seven years - the maximum penalty within District Court jurisdiction.
Finding her guilty of all nine counts of blackmail and one count of perverting the course of justice, District Judge Kevin Browne used a string of scathing words to describe her, including 'evil', 'calculative', 'manipulative', 'ruthless' and 'dangerous'.
Testifying behind a screen, Mr X, 50, told of his three-year nightmare at the hands of Ki before her arrest in December last year, which even saw the kidnap of a business partner identified as Mr Y. His former mistress' constant harassment cost him his family, damaged his health and robbed him of his peace of mind, Mr X told the court.
He revealed: 'She said to me something like, 'You enjoy a happy family life while I am always alone and lonely. I will make sure your family will be destroyed.'
'She asked me to buy coffins for my family members. She also said, 'I will make sure your family members will die ahead of you. That will be the heaviest punishment on you.''
According to the account told in court, diminutive Ki was a public relations manager working at the Piano Bar in Happy Valley when the couple first met in 2006.
The bar was opened by a well-known local composer Michael Lai Siu-tin but was closed five or six years ago. Lai told the South China Morning Post he had no recollection of an employee surnamed Ki. Mr X said he rented a flat for her in Sham Shui Po and paid her HK$60,000 a month. But when he tried to end the affair in July 2007, she asked for millions of dollars in recompense.
She upped that to a demand for HK$120 million as a 'separation fee'.
She told him she had his child, Mr X said. But she never showed him a photo or even disclosed the child's gender. Defence counsel Lawrence Lok SC told the court yesterday that Ki had only a 16-year-old daughter, who is studying in the UK.
Mr X said Ki made more than 1,000 harassing phone calls and also sent floods of text messages pressing him for money. She sent them to his wife and business partners, too. She once took a triad member to his office to put more pressure on him, he said.
She threatened to kill his wife and daughter. She also threatened to kill Mr Y and another business partner, Mr Z, and their innocent families, the court was told.
'Ki told me she had hired private detectives to watch me,' Mr X testified. 'She was able to specify what law firms or investment banks I had visited. She was also able to tell of conversations between me and Mr Y when we were in a massage parlour.'
Mr X said he tried everything to stop her surveillance and harassment. He made complaints to the police, hired private detectives and sought legal advice. But nothing worked. The police and the lawyers told him his evidence was too weak to merit legal action against her.
After the trial was over yesterday, police denied they took Mr X's complaint lightly.
'After we consolidated the evidence from his [Mr X's] seven reports to us in two years, we eventually gathered enough evidence to bring Ki to court,' one of the police officers in charge told the South China Morning Post. Ki's defence counsel argued that her fear of losing Mr X drove her to extremes and that she became emotionally unstable.
But Mr X said: 'She had been very calm and cool most of the time. That was even more horrifying.'
For most of the trial Ki, who did not testify, sat very calmly in the dock. But at those remarks, she broke into tears. She wept again when Mr Y recalled that they had become friends after Mr X introduced them. She also showed emotion when, through her barrister, Ki expressed to the judge her worries about her family, who had been approached by the media.
Yesterday, she broke down completely and cried aloud after she was sentenced. Mr Y testified that Ki and two accomplices kidnapped him and took him to Shenzhen for several hours in November.
She was arrested in Shenzhen and detained for more than 20 days, Lok told the court. At this, it was Mr Y who broke into tears as he described the alleged kidnap and continuing death threats.
Mr X said he paid Ki a total of HK$10 million. He insisted it wasn't a 'gift of love', as the defence lawyer maintained. He said: 'It was out of extreme fear about her threat that I gave in and made payments to her.'
Mr X said his physical and mental health suffered. In December 2007, he used the excuse that he required a regular check-up to 'hide' inside a hospital. But when he checked himself in, doctors actually diagnosed a heart condition and mental issues.
Mr X insisted all his illnesses were a result of the trauma caused by his former mistress. One time, he said, Ki chased him down a flight of stairs, a chopper in hand.
'There was a knife on the bed,' he said. 'The defendant said she wanted to kill me if I refused to pay ... then she went into the kitchen to grab a chopper. So I immediately dashed out of the door and ran down eight flights of stairs while the defendant was chasing behind.
'I was still carrying a medical gadget at the time, which read my heartbeat at 176. I told my psychiatrist and cardiologist and they warned me not to take further risks.'
Mr X said he was so intimidated he didn't dare refuse to see Ki or reject her phone calls. He was even too scared to turn down her requests for sex.
'Every morning when I woke up, I had already received 30 missed phone calls,' he said. 'If I did not return her call within 12 hours, she would threaten me again.'
He told the court that the stress also caused his wife to suffer from depression. She would hit herself and pull her own hair. She threw him out of the family home in May 2008 and still hasn't allowed him back.
'My wife asked me to leave our home, not because of my extramarital affair, but because of the threat to the lives and safety of both herself and our daughter,' Mr X said. 'Physically I completely broke down. For three months [after the chase down the stairs], I was trembling even after covering myself with three quilts. For four months, I was bedridden and was completely unable to work ... I used to work 14 or 15 hours a day.'
He said: 'My life was even more painful than dying. This was what she wanted.'