Witness in Hong Kong body-in-cement murder trial saw defendants google where to kill and bury victim
But witness Ho Ling-yu on the second day of the murder trial said she thought they were joking even when one of the men asked her where they should dump the body
The housemate of three men on trial for murdering their acquaintance and encasing his body in cement said on Wednesday she saw two of them google locations to kill and bury Cheung Man-li.
Testifying at the High Court on the second day of the trial, Ho Ling-yu also recalled how several months before the alleged murder, the trio held meetings to discuss the killing.
She said one of the men, Tsang Cheung-yan, told the others they could get a “reward” of US$30 million for doing so, though prosecutors in their opening remarks said the amount was HK$30 million (US$3.8 million).
Ho said when she saw Tsang and Cheung Sin-hang searching the internet on the morning of March 4, 2016 – the day prosecutors said Cheung Man-li was killed – she thought they were joking.
“[They] said they would suffocate him with chloroform … and inject alcohol into his body to make it look like he was drunk,” Ho said of the conversation that took place inside Flat 9D of DAN6 industrial building in Tsuen Wan.
Tsang, 28, Cheung Sin-hang, 25 and Keith Lau, 23, have denied conspiring to murder 28-year-old Cheung Man-li, also known as “Ah J”, in the flat. But they pleaded guilty to one count of preventing the lawful burial of the dead man.
Prosecutors insisted the trio, motivated by money, attacked Cheung Man-li according to Ho’s account, and subsequently fused his dead body into a slab of cement that was dripping with blood.
The court heard on Wednesday the victim used to work at telecommunications firm PCCW and had speculated in stocks.
Prosecutors told the all-male panel of seven jurors that Ho – who fled with the trio to Taiwan and was arrested upon her return – had been granted immunity from prosecution.
Ho said she first met Tsang at the Mong Kok protest site during the pro-democracy Occupy demonstrations in 2014.
Tsang paid her HK$8,000 (US$1,019) a month to be his secretary in meetings organised by a group called “There”. She said members discussed committing crimes such as drug trafficking.
The 20-year-old moved into the flat with the three defendants in late 2015. Around Christmas, the first meeting where the men discussed the killing of Cheung Man-li took place and Tsang mentioned the reward.
More discussions followed, Ho said, insisting she thought they were just joking, even up till the morning of March 4.
So when Tsang asked her that day where the men should dump Cheung’s body, Ho replied casually: “Lantau”.
She continued: “I just said it because the following day I intended to go to Lantau with my boyfriend.”
Kwok Ki-yan, the victim’s girlfriend, also took to the witness box. She said Tsang was supposed to give her boyfriend a cashier’s order of HK$5 million. It was money Cheung Man-li had invested in the business he shared with Tsang.
In the days after March 4, she repeatedly spoke on the phone to someone who called himself “Ah T” – Tsang’s nickname – who urged her not to report her boyfriend’s disappearance to police. She called them anyway.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick Li Hon-leung on Thursday.