Lover denies murder of jealous masseuse

A 47-YEAR-OLD masseuse, who tried to get her young lover to give up his new girlfriend, was killed in a hotel room row, the High Court heard yesterday.

Testifying in his defence, lorry attendant Lau Fuk-yu, 27, said Chu Lan-heung bit him on the abdomen through his shirt, clawed his face and gripped his penis.

''That was a sensitive spot for me and it hurt very, very much,'' he said.

He told the court he then squeezed Ms Chu's neck to make her let go, but had no intention of causing her serious harm.

Lau has denied murdering Ms Chu in a room at the San Diego Hotel in Yau Ma Tei on July 10 last year, after they checked in at around midnight. Her body was found on the bed by hotel staff at 11 am.

The defendant told Deputy Judge Daniell and a jury that he had a wife and child in China. In 1990 he answered a newspaper advertisement for a male usher at a massage establishment owned by Ms Chu.

Initially, they enjoyed an employee-boss relationship, but that changed after about three months, when Ms Chu telephoned Lau saying she was bored and suggesting he keep her company.

They watched a movie, then went to a hotel room where they had sex. The relationship continued.

About a year later, the court heard, Yip Sui-mui, whom Lau described as half Ms Chu's age, started working at the same establishment. The defendant then began having sex with her.

Asked what Ms Chu thought of this relationship, Lau said she felt ''hatred towards the competing female''.

The court heard that Lau and Ms Yip joined another massage establishment and began living together, but he maintained telephone contact with Ms Chu.

A short while later, he returned to his old job and resumed having sex with Ms Chu.

''There was a deep sense of hatred between the two women, especially when they saw each other. If I had to make a choice I would have preferred Yip,'' the defendant said.

Lau told the court that in July last year his wife wrote to him in endearing and intimate terms, which made Ms Yip ''run away''.

On the day before Ms Chu's death, she and the defendant exchanged calls and finally agreed to meet near the hotel.

Once in the hotel room, the defendant said he took off his shoes and sat on the bed, leaning against the headboard. He smoked a cigarette while watching television.

Meanwhile, Ms Chu took off her clothes, except her bra, and cuddled up next to Lau with her arm around his shoulders, the court heard.

Ms Chu then ran a bath and invited Lau to join her, but he declined. She questioned him about Ms Yip, asking if they had parted, but he refused to talk about it.

Lau claimed Ms Chu told him he should have left Ms Yip a long time ago, and said she was ''a pain''.

The defendant then became angry and started to walk out, but Ms Chu grabbed his arm to prevent him leaving.

The defendant said he told Ms Chu ''forget about what is going on between us - let's call it an end''.

He tried to break free, but she grabbed his collar. There was a struggle and his shirt ripped.

He slapped her face twice and she clawed his face.

Lau told the court Ms Chu then put her hand around his waist and bit his abdomen, near his belly button, through his shirt.

He tried to push her away, but she grabbed his penis and gripped it tightly. Because of the pain, he put his hand on her neck and squeezed it to make her let go, the court heard.

The hearing continues.