Maids held over death of man in their care

Two women questioned after man with mental age of three found with rope marks on his neck

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 March, 2013, 4:45am

A 70-year-old foreign domestic helper was arrested yesterday over the death of a man in her care. The man had Down's syndrome and she had looked after him for nearly three decades.

Police said they also arrested a second foreign domestic helper, 40, after 20cm rope marks were found on the neck of Fong Keng-chuen, 52, who had a mental age of three.

The two women were being held for questioning at Wan Chai police station last night. No charges have been laid.

An autopsy carried out yesterday failed to determine the cause of Fong's death and police said further tests, including a toxicological examination, were needed. However, a police source said the initial examination showed he had "a fresh strangulation mark on his neck".

Crime-squad officers seized evidence early yesterday - including a curtain rope and a telephone cord - from the ground floor apartment in Tai Hang Road, Happy Valley, where the helper lived with Fong.

The second helper lived with his mother, Tsang Yee-mei, 88, on the third floor of the same building.

Fong was found lying unconscious in the bathroom of the apartment at about 8.45am on Sunday. The younger helper alerted Tsang, who called the police, the source said. He was declared dead at Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai.

"The man had been left in the bathroom after he wet the bed," a second police source said. "He was found unconscious there about half an hour later."

Only the two maids were in the apartment with Fong at the time of the incident, he said.

"We are keeping an open mind and looking at all possible clues," he said.

Police said there had been no sign of a struggle in the apartment, which is estimated to be worth more than HK$10 million. Tsang bought the flat for HK$1.5 million in 1981.

The 70-year-old maid is understood to have been hired to look after Fong in 1986.

The second helper primarily takes care of Tsang but also assisted with Fong's care.

The case comes after two gruesome murders and a murder-suicide in the city in three days last weekend.