Hong Kong teen suspected of attempted rape found hanged after police raid flat

Deceased, 17, was earlier identified in connection with attack on female student, 19

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 July, 2017, 1:29pm
UPDATED : Monday, 31 July, 2017, 10:48pm

A 17-year-old Hong Kong boy suspected of trying to rape a female student, 19, over the weekend was found hanged at his public housing block during a pre-dawn police raid on Monday.

This is the third suspect in a sexual assault case to have hanged himself in the past three months.

The latest incident was discovered at about 5.30am at the public housing block where the suspect lived. The building had been surrounded by officers, with one team sent to enter the flat.

“[The boy] was not found at home when police raided his flat,” a police source said.

The teenager was later found hanging in an unlocked drainpipe room on the ground floor of the block, according to police superintendent Yin Hiu-yu of Sau Mau Ping district.

He was certified dead by paramedics at the scene. Yin said initial investigations found nothing suspicious about the cause of his death.

Hong Kong police to check for security loopholes or negligence after rape suspect hangs himself in cell

Police called in forensic pathologists to examine the body at Tat Yi House in Po Tat Estate on Po Lam Road, Sau Mau Ping.

“A bite mark was found on the back of the teenager’s right hand,” Yin said, adding that initial investigations showed it matched an injury caused by the victim of the rape attempt during a struggle.

Two items believed to be related to the attempted rape case – a recycling bag inside a backpack – were found in the room. Police also seized a T-shirt and shorts from the teenager’s home.

Yin said the clothing matched what the attacker was wearing at the time of the attempted rape.

She added that the deceased’s family members were not in Hong Kong, and police would continue to try and contact them.

Detectives from the Kowloon East regional crime unit are handling the case.

It is understood that the teenager had been identified by police in connection with a rape attempt after detectives from the Sau Mau Ping district crime squad examined security camera footage of the incident.

The attack allegedly occurred at Shun Tin Estate in Sau Mau Ping at about 2am on Saturday, when the victim was returning home from a jog.

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According to police, the woman was grabbed by the neck from behind. She put up a struggle as the attacker covered her head with a shopping bag and dragged her towards a corner.

“The attacker fled after being bitten on his arm,” the source said.

Police classified the case as attempted rape.

Dennis Wong Sing-wing, professor of criminology at City University, said the death was unlikely to be a copycat of the previous two cases.

I don’t see any evidence this was a copycat case
Dennis Wong Sing-wing, City University

“There are usually lots of reasons leading to a person’s suicide,” he said. “I don’t see any evidence this was a copycat case.”

He noted the previous two suspects were adults aged 48 and 28 who hanged themselves in custody, while this suicide happened before an arrest took place.

“The suspect might have worried he could be arrested or jailed after reading the wide coverage of the case,” he added. “He might have felt there was no way out and didn’t know how to face his relatives or friends.”

There was an increase in sex crimes in the city in the first half of this year, against an overall downward trend in recent years.

Between January and June, there were 32 cases of rape and 518 cases of indecent assault, up 6.7 and 6.8 per cent respectively compared with the same period last year.

In one of the most shocking incidents, a 22-year-old student was robbed and raped in Kowloon Bay in May. A 48-year-old suspect was arrested days later but hanged himself in a police station, prompting an internal investigation by the force.

Separately, a remand inmate, 28, accused of raping a woman in her home in Tuen Mun in June, died in hospital on July 12, two days after a hanging attempt at the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre. The Correctional Services Department said an inquest would be held by the Coroner’s Court.


WHERE TO GET HELP

• 24-hour hotline at Suicide Prevention Services: +852 2382 0000

• 24-hour hotline at Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong: +852 2389 2222

• Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care: +852 2868 1211