Teen killed his mother, sister to 'save planet'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 February, 2012, 12:00am


A schizophrenic 16-year-old student who killed his mother and younger sister two years ago to make the world 'more environmentally friendly' was ordered yesterday to stay in a psychiatric hospital for an indefinite period.

The Court of First Instance heard Kan Ka-leung pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, which the prosecution accepted.

The tall, pale teenager was calm as he admitted killing his mother Lam Lin-kam, 40, and his younger sister Kan Chung-yue, 12.

The mother and Chung-yue, a Primary Six pupil, were found dead with multiple chop wounds in their home in On Fung Building, Tsuen Wan, on July 22, 2010.

Kan's father was sobbing as he attended the trial of his son.

Mr Justice Alan Wright made the hospital order after studying four psychiatric reports from the prosecution and defence, which unanimously agreed Kan suffered from schizophrenia at the time of the killing.

Kan, who was 15 at the time, told psychiatrists that he heard 'voices' before the offence. 'What occurred in the flat was ... a tragedy,' Wright said.

The judge made the hospital order for three reasons - to remove Kan from society while receiving treatment, to treat his condition and to detain him 'only to be released after experts feel you [Kan] are safe to be back in society', Wright said.

Peter Power, senior assistant director of public prosecutions, said the teenager looked normal when he left the restaurant run by his father near his home at about 12.30am.

Kan decided to call police at 3.15am about the killing and said he was in a small park nearby with an injured hand. When the ambulance officer found him, Kan said: 'There are too many people in the world. Less people will be more environmental friendly'.

A chopper was found in his rucksack as well as a rope, compass and map.

Kan told police he killed his mother and sister at around 2am and changed his bloodstained vest before leaving home. 'I have to go on with the chopping. Chop all the bad people,' Kan said under caution. 'The world has changed. People have to die. Glaciers melt. Tai Long Sai Wan is taken back.'

In 2010, a developer tried to build a private lodge behind Tai Long Sai Wan Beach.

Kan had thought of chopping other people, but called the police because he was injured.

Forensic evidence suggested the mother sustained more than 17 serious chops and cuts, which tore her windpipe, spinal cord and the main arteries in her neck. She had four fractures in her vertebrae.

The younger sister had about 30 overlapping chop wounds on her face, head and neck. Her skull and jaw bones were fractured.

John Haynes, counsel for the defence, said the father suffered an 'unimaginable' impact , losing his wife and daughter, with his son in custody. 'It was a mystery,' Haynes said about the cause of the crime.

Mitigating letters written by relatives and teachers of Lee Shing Pik College, where Kan was in Form Three, said there were no signs of any illness in the 'good student'.

Psychiatrist Dr Lee Sing said early symptoms of schizophrenia, a serious brain disease involving multiple neurotransmission imbalances, were not specific and were not easy to spot, especially in quiet patients.

'A person would become more introverted when he started to suffer schizophrenia. But if he had been quiet, people around him wouldn't be aware,' he said. 'In many cases, the patients can keep calm. They have the ability to conceal their auditory hallucination and delusion.'

Stress was not a common cause of the illness as many thought, he said. A patient could inherit the disease from close relatives or it could develop from drug use.