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Crime in Hong Kong

Man who slashed Hong Kong money changer’s throat and fled to mainland China found guilty of murder

Jury returns unanimous verdict in gruesome 2016 killing

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 January, 2018, 8:03pm
UPDATED : Monday, 22 January, 2018, 10:29pm

A Hong Kong man who fatally slashed a money changer’s throat and fled to mainland China – resulting in a rare extradition so he could face charges in the city – was found guilty of murder on Monday.

In a unanimous verdict, a jury of five men and two women found Kit Kwun-kwok, 42, guilty of killing Yik Chik-chuen, 71, with intent. They had spent more than six hours coming to a decision.

Kit crossed the border into the mainland soon after committing the graphic murder at Chung Wui Money Exchange Shop in Tai Po on March 14, 2016.

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Prosecutors said a cut on the victim’s throat – 13 centimetres in length – was so deep that it slit through the man’s muscle and soft tissue, exposing the inside of his throat.

Kit was arrested several months later in Guangdong province, and was returned to the city by mainland authorities on July 28 that year.

His extradition – a rare occurrence given there is no treaty for the action between Hong Kong and Beijing – coincided with the second round of talks on a detention notification system, which would require both sides to tell each other within seven working days if their residents were facing criminal prosecutions.

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Both sides signed the breakthrough deal last month and the system is to be implemented from next month.

It is expected to offer greater transparency on an issue that caused an uproar two years ago, when five booksellers disappeared and later turned up on the mainland.

On Monday, Mr Justice Wong Sung-hau said he would adjourn sentencing for Kit, who also pleaded guilty to one count of robbery, to Wednesday.

The court heard that a closed-circuit television at the scene captured Kit entering the shop and leaving that morning. 

After his entry, the prosecutors said, Kit repeatedly stabbed the shop owner with a cutter and, at one point, slashed him. Yik suffered 23 injuries in total, a postmortem examination found, and was found bleeding on the floor.

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He was not breathing and did not have a pulse when ambulance personnel arrived at the scene.

By the time Yik was certified dead at the hospital at noon, Kit had left Hong Kong for more than an hour, the court heard.

The guilty verdict means that the jury rejected Kit’s explanation given during the trial, which would have suggested manslaughter rather than murder.

The defendant said he wanted to threaten the shop owner with the cutter for money. 

But a struggle ensued, he said, resulting in Yik falling to the floor. Kit said he did not check on the elderly man before fleeing, even though he cut open the money changer’s back pockets to take his wallet which contained HK$500 and 200 yuan.