COURTS

Son chopped up his parents and put heads in the fridge, Hong Kong court hears

Man made inquiries about bank accounts as mother and father's remains still stored, court hears

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 February, 2015, 1:12am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 February, 2015, 8:38am

A jobless man who allegedly teamed up with a friend to kill his parents and dismember their bodies was after their money, the Court of First Instance heard on Monday.

Prosecutor Michael Arthur told the court that evidence showed Henry Chau made notes about five bank accounts held by his mother Siu Yuet-yee, 63, and his father Chau Wing-ki, 65, days after they were killed and dismembered on March 1, 2013.

The police also found that the son had made a list to inquire about shares held by his parents, while the couple's remains were still stored in the Tai Kok Tsui flat of Tse Chun-kei, Henry Chau's friend and co-accused.

"This evidence is significant with regard to his motive for the murders, because [Henry Chau] later told the police that he had no financial interest in the murders. If that is right it is difficult to understand his interest in his parents' bank accounts and shares," Arthur said.

"In this case there may be more than one motive … The various references to his parents' bank accounts suggest quite strongly that at least one of the motives for the murders may have been one of financial gain. Or to put it bluntly - money," he said.

Henry Chau, 31, and Tse, 37, deny murdering the couple. Henry Chau had pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility but the prosecution did not accept his plea.

The pair have admitted to two counts of preventing the lawful burial of the couple.

In his opening speech, Arthur warned the jury of five women and four men that the case was "gruesome" and "distasteful" in nature. But he told them to deal with it "dispassionately" and "do not let the evidence upset you".

He told the court that the couple had a will saying that when they died, their estate would be shared equally between Henry Chau and his elder brother.

The court heard that on the morning of March 1, 2013, Henry Chau asked his parents to help him tidy up his new home as he moved in with Tse. The parents were not seen alive again after entered the building with their son.

Henry Chau lied to his brother that his parents went to Shenzhen, Arthur said. He also allegedly lied to his relatives and the police when they were looking for the couple, and made a public appeal to help find his parents.

"This was a completely false appeal and was a deception he was prepared to practise on the public at large," Arthur said.

He claimed Henry Chau not only knew his parents were dead, but also worked with Tse to dispose of his parents' bodies.

The pair was arrested on March 15 that year. The court heard that police found the couple's heads, which were kept separately in two fridges with some lunch boxes and microwaved human flesh. They also found three bags with chopped limbs and body parts which had been preserved in salt in another room.

Tools such as knives, a saw, saw blades and a hammer were found inside the flat.

Tse claimed he was not involved in the killing but only assisted Henry Chau to dispose of the bodies. Henry Chau told police they killed the couple together. The trial continues on Tuesday.