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Three grisly murder cases in as many days have sent chills through the city, which has one of the lowest rates of homicide in the world (last year saw 27 murder investigations).
The high-profile stories have people scratching their heads and questioning "What has the world come to?"
The spate of cases started when the dismembered bodies of an elderly couple were found in a Tai Kok Tsui flat. A 29-year-old man and an accomplice were charged on Friday with the murder of the couple, his parents, over a financial dispute.
Just a day later an 18-year-old was accused of stabbing his father to death and seriously wounded his mother at his home in Pat Heung village, Yuen Long, after a dispute over the son’s habit of playing computer games. A 19-year-old suspected accomplice was also charged in the case.
On Sunday, a 47-year-old woman apparently jumped to her death from a Kowloon West luxury apartment after she allegedly killed and attempted to behead her partner, police say.
The deaths have sparked widespread social media debate on topics including Hong Kong's social dislocation, inequality, poverty, poor parenting and internet addiction. Some pointed to moral decay and a society-wide obsession with wealth. Others also cautioned not to turn the situation into a moral panic.
According to an SCMP.com poll, a majority of readers believed the recent spate of murder cases within families signalled a crisis in Hong Kong family values.
Here's what's being said on social media:
@wilsonfkp: “Is Hong Kong going through murder season? What is going on?”
@jessicatai "27 murder investigations last year. Three murders in the last three days, and people are already crying "murder season" in Hong Kong!"
@waterbluesky (Chinese): “The young are becoming too socially isolated and are spending too much time in the virtual online world…their online lives are taking them away from their families and from affection.”
@pybobo (Chinese): “The [Tai Kok Tsui suspect] came from a middle-class background…parenting and communication problems between parents and children are to blame.”
@FacingChina: “Murder is becoming contagious in Hong Kong.”
Cathy Lo, on the Tai Kok Tsui case: “[The suspect’s] parents let him take piano lessons and sent him abroad to study and he still asked why his parents had to give birth to him? These types live well-off lives and don’t realise they’re well-off”.
Joe Chung, on the Yuen Long murder case: “Nowadays Hong Kong’s pushy parents, so-called ‘tiger mums’ and ‘helicopter parents’ are all going to end up getting chopped up by their children.”
Benedict Li: “We as Hong Kong people have been obsessed with money and wealth since the 1980s. We are always in pursuit of money and in need of money. When you gain money, you lose other important things in life that we shouldn’t lose. Shouldn’t we Hongkongers start reflecting on this?”
Fayadi Limpid: "Though it is unfortunate that murders take place once in a while, the murder rate in Hong Kong is lower than most cities in the world. The government, in this regard, is already doing a great job."
Winnie Wong: "Horrified! Is Hong Kong sick?"
@elegantlilac: “How are humans able to do such inhumane things like killing their own parents?”
@ZiYingLin: “What is the world coming to? Killing parents over money? Killing parents over computer games? Killing a husband over love?"