The notorious Hong Kong crimes inspiring Chief Editor Detective novels
Ex-crime reporter Henry Mong is dramatising criminal cases such as Big Spender and his gang, the Hello Kitty murder and Teddy Wang kidnapping in his fiction
Former journalist Henry Mong Hon-ming covered many crimes that shocked Hong Kong in the 1980s and ’90s. Here are some of the cases Mong dramatised in his works of fiction:
The Tuen Mun rapist
A series of rapes starting in 1992 in Tuen Mun spread panic. After being grabbed by the neck and dragged out of sight to be raped, the victims could give police only fuzzy information about the suspect’s appearance. Police were so eager to solve the case they enlisted a hypnotist to work with a taxi driver who drove one victim. The driver revealed that a white car followed his taxi that night and partially recalled the licence plate, narrowing down the number of suspects. Three more victims later died in attacks. Lam Kwok-wai took his last victim on a movie date and police arrested him on arrival at the cinema. His DNA matched semen samples found in the previous attacks. Lam was jailed for life in 1994.
The Teddy Wang Teh-huei kidnapping
Husband of the late Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum, Chinachem Group co-founder Teddy Wang was kidnapped in 1983 and released after his wife paid a ransom of US$11 million. In 1990, he was kidnapped again and his wife paid HK$260 million in ransom money – but he was never seen again. Kidnappers later told police they threw Wang into the sea when their vessel was chased by a Chinese naval boat. Some of the kidnappers are still on the run. Wang was declared legally dead in 1999.
In 1989 Yip escaped from Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam, where he was receiving treatment during a prison term for armed robbery. After hiding out for two years, he committed several more armed robberies, his gang spraying bullets from AK-47s as they made their getaways. Yip was rearrested in May 1996 after a shoot-out during which he was shot in the spine, leaving him confined to a wheelchair. In 1997, Yip was sentenced to 30 years in jail for possessing arms and ammunition, using a gun to resist arrest and possessing explosives. That was added to the remainder of his previous 16-year term. His sentence was later reduced to 36 years and three months on appeal.
Released in 1994 after a conviction for a HK$167 million security van robbery at Kai Tak airport was overturned, Cheung Tze-keung, nicknamed Big Spender, went on to become involved in several high-profile kidnappings. In 1996, he helped abduct Li Ka-shing’s elder son, Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, and his gang was reportedly paid a ransom of HK$1.38 billion. The following year, they kidnapped Walter Kwok Ping-sheung, former chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties, who was released after a HK$600 million ransom was reportedly paid. Cheung was arrested for “cross-border crimes” in Guangdong province and executed by firing squad in 1998.
The Hello Kitty murder
Fan Man-yee, a nightclub hostess reportedly locked in a dispute over a debt, was kidnapped in 1999 by three men, who held her in a Tsim Sha Tsui flat and tortured her for more than a month until she died. Police discovered a bag of her decomposed organs on the building’s canopy while investigating an unrelated case. Her skull was found stuffed in a Hello Kitty doll; the rest of her body was never found. The teenage girlfriend of one of the trio gave graphic court testimony about how they subjected Fan to daily beatings. All three men were sentenced to life in prison.