Trial to start for 5 charged over millionaire's murder

Two Hong Kong residents and three mainlanders charged over the murder of millionaire Harry Lam Hon-lit at a Central tea house four years ago face trial today in Shenzhen.

Hong Kong residents Tse Bing, 47, and Lau Yat-yin, also 47, are said to have hired mainlanders Yang Wen, 27, and Zhang Zixin, 22, to assassinate the Hong Kong millionaire in 2002. Another mainlander, Wu Yiwu, 25, is charged with providing accommodation to criminals. The five will appear in Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court. The trial has been delayed several times in the past three years.

Lam, 54, a director of Hong Kong-based Digger Holdings and an investor in the Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen, was killed with a single bullet to the head in the Luk Yu Tea House on November 30, 2002 as he ate breakfast.

Mainland police arrested one of the mainlanders a month later, and Tse and the two other mainlanders the following year. Lau and another Hong Kong resident, Tang Tak-hau, 41, were arrested in January 2004. Tang will not appear in today's trial.

Lau was said to have ordered the murder. A summary of charges obtained from the Shenzhen People's Procuratorate two years ago said Lau was accused of paying HK$2million to Tse in October 2002 to have Lam killed. Tse is alleged to have hired Yang and Zhang to carry out the murder for 320,000 yuan.