Mentally distressed, unemployed man takes his youngster on suicide jump
A jobless man suffering mental problems grabbed his six-year-old son and jumped from a high floor of a public housing block in Ap Lei Chau yesterday, killing both of them.
The 37-year-old was divorced and had been living off unemployment benefits. He and his son had been sharing a flat in nearby Lei Tung Estate with his parents.
The Social Welfare Department acknowledged yesterday that there had been a rise in such domestic tragedies over the past six months, and promised to take action.
Chief Inspector Ng Yeung-yin, of Western District police force, said: 'The parents told us that [the father and son] went to buy some bread at about 7am and then returned home for breakfast. The pair left home again after that.'
They were found outside Lei Chak House, Ap Lei Chau Estate, at 8.45am. The impact of their fall destroyed a metal railing.
Their belongings - flip-flops, coins and bank cards - were scattered around the scene.
The man was certified dead at the scene while the boy was rushed to Queen Mary Hospital, where he was certified dead at 9am.
Detectives from the Western District crime squad are treating the case as a murder-suicide. Postmortem examinations will be conducted today.
Chief Inspector Ng said the man had mental problems.
The Social Welfare Department said yesterday they would contact the victims' relatives to offer assistance, such as help with funeral arrangements. It also urged people in difficulties not to take drastic actions and to seek help instead.
'We're seeking more information from the police about the case and have also dispatched staff to the area to see what we can do,' said Social Welfare Director Paul Tang Kwok-wai.
'But I would also like to appeal to families that if they run into problems they should seek help from people like friends, neighbours, social workers or others and not do something harmful.'
Mr Tang said he was aware that there had been a number of such tragedies in the past six months, and the department would enhance its services accordingly.
'We're facing these problems and we'll not turn our back on them,' he said.
'There are two aspects [to counter the problems], such as deploying more staff and strengthening our services. On the other hand, people facing problems should think carefully about what they should do, and seek help.'
Yesterday's incident was the third high-profile domestic tragedy since April.
Last month, a man stabbed his wife to death in Tuen Mun after they had a quarrel, before jumping 24 floors to his death from his public rental flat in Leung Kit Estate.
In April, a man in Tin Shui Wai murdered his mainland wife and two daughters before dying from his self-inflicted wounds, after spending 12 days in a coma.
Southern District, Hong Kong
Ap Lei Chau