COURTS

Spurned man planned to die in front of ex-lover

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 September, 2013, 5:03am

A jobless man said he reached such depths of despair over a break-up with his girlfriend that, in May, he planned to take his life and tied her up so she would be forced to watch him die, a court heard yesterday.

Steve Chan Chi-yuen, 30, failed in his suicide plan because the charcoal he had prepared and left outside the flat of Chan Sze-ki, 33, in Sha Tin, was missing by the time he finished subduing his former girlfriend inside.

Steve Chan's antics alerted people in the area, but he refused to release Chan Sze-ki until firefighters broke into the flat, ending her 12-hour ordeal, the District Court heard.

He pleaded guilty to one count of false imprisonment.

The defendant was heartbroken over their split and detained his former girlfriend as he was afraid she would refuse to hear his last words, barrister Josiah Chan Chung-ming said.

"He had never used violence against Chan Sze-ki, not even once," the barrister said.

The court heard that Steve Chan, a former assistant to a horse owner, and Chan Sze-ki, a freelance horse-racing commentator for the Jockey Club, became lovers in February last year.

Their relationship ended more than a year later on May 7, and she moved to the Sha Tin flat.

On the afternoon of May 21, the woman was leaving for work when Steve Chan whipped a towel over her nose and mouth and pushed her back into the flat, prosecutor Janice Cheuk Lung-sang said.

She was overcome by dizziness, but soon realised her limbs were bound by plastic straps and her mouth was covered with adhesive tape.

Chan Sze-ki later persuaded Steve Chan to untie her, and when a delivery man arrived with a pizza in the evening, "Chan pretended she was going to pay and took the chance to escape. She also asked the delivery man for help," Cheuk told the court.

A struggle between the two Chans ensued, Cheuk said. "The delivery man helped to separate them [and] pressed the [lift's] alarm button. Chan ran … and the defendant caught up with her, pointed a chopper at her and forced her to return to the flat."

The scuffle caught the attention of the building's security office and the police were called. Officers tried to negotiate with Steve Chan while Chan Sze-ki locked herself in her bedroom and kept contact with the police using her mobile phone. The drama ended early the next day when firefighters took action.

Steve Chan's barrister said the defendant had fond memories of his girlfriend, but she later found out he was in debt.

He was an only child and had few friends so had no one to talk to. He had attempted suicide twice, the barrister said. "He was so desperate to see [his former girlfriend] one last time."

Chan Sze-ki said she still had nightmares over the incident and was angry because the defendant used a knife to cut her two dogs.

Sentencing was adjourned to September 30.