Killer of girlfriend showed no remorse, judge says

Jail for man found guilty of manslaughter for throwing his girlfriend from a barge into the sea following a drink-fuelled row over money

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 July, 2014, 4:23am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 July, 2014, 5:04am

A barge crane operator who killed his girlfriend by throwing her into the sea showed "no remorse", a judge said as she jailed him for 8-1/2 years for manslaughter.

A Court of First Instance jury of four men and three women took less than two hours yesterday to decide unanimously that Ng Yung-kun, 44, unlawfully killed Zhong Mingfang, 38.

Ng had told police he killed the woman accidentally and threw the body into the water to dispose of it, but later pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. An autopsy found she had drowned.

"You did not intend to kill or cause very serious injuries to the victim, but as a result of what you have done, a human life has been lost and you have not shown any remorse at any stage," Mrs Justice Verina Bokhary told Ng in passing sentence.

Lawyer Steve Chui, for Ng, said in mitigation that there was no evidence Ng had any motive to kill Zhong. On the contrary, he was always good to her and took good care of her.

But Bokhary said that even if Ng had shown remorse, it would not have affected the sentence. She adopted a starting point of nine years and reduced it by six months because he had no previous convictions.

The court heard that Ng and Zhong had lived together since 2012, and she often spent time on the barge where he worked.

Ng had told police that, on February 15 last year, the couple had been enjoying a hotpot meal on the barge with friends.

They had been drinking beer, but began to quarrel after Zhong accused him of lending money to a friend to gamble.

Annoyed, he pushed her away and later went to sleep.

When he woke up, he told police, he discovered that she was not breathing and thought she was dead. Wanting to dispose of the body, he threw it into the sea.

The barge had been travelling from Lamma Island to the Yau Ma Tei typhoon shelter. Zhong's body was found trapped under a ferry near the typhoon shelter the next day.

A forensic pathologist found bruises and abrasions on her body and a high level of alcohol in her blood, but concluded that drowning was the cause of death.

Ng went to a police station on February 21 last year and reported Zhong missing, saying he had not seen her for a week.

He said he had not made a report earlier as he could not find anyone to cover for him at work. He later claimed to have read about the discovery of a female body in the newspapers and realised the police sketch looked like Zhong.

When the police probed further and took him to the barge for investigation, Ng confessed he had thrown Zhong into the sea.

Initially charged with murder, he later faced the reduced charge of manslaughter from prosecutors. Ng told the court he had been induced to confess to killing Zhong.

The court heard that Ng had been born and raised on the mainland, and received only primary-level education. He married once, in 1987, and divorced in 1992. He has two sons, aged 20 and 22.