‘I was under influence of my flatmates’, says man accused of Hong Kong body-in-cement killing
In taped interview played at court, Cheung Sin-hang says co-accused manipulated him into cutting ties with his mother, borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars and eventually murder
A Hong Kong man accused of killing a man and entombing the body in cement repented in a tearful police interview, saying he was under the influence of his two co-defendants, a court heard on Thursday.
Their manipulation led not only to him cutting ties with his mother, but eventually to the alleged murder, he said, in a recording played in court.
During the interview, Cheung Sin-hang, 26, said he had aspired to be a police officer before he fell in with his housemates, Tsang Cheung-yan and Keith Lau. All three were on trial for the murder of Cheung Man-li, 28, also known as Ah J.
“I am willing [to cooperate] to offer the deceased’s family an account,” Cheung Sin-hang said during his tearful repentance. The taped interview was played at the High Court on Thursday before the jury of seven. Interviews with Tsang, 28, and Lau, 23, had been played earlier.
The trio denied one joint count of murder, but admitted one count of preventing the lawful burial of a body.
Prosecutors said someone attacked Ah J on March 4, 2016 at the men’s flat in the DAN6 industrial building, Tsuen Wan, before Tsang injected him with alcohol. The men then built a “coffin” of cement, inside which they fused Ah J’s body, their case went.
In the interview played on Thursday, Cheung, who moved in with Tsang and Lau in November 2015, was helping officers identify images of the flat.
Towards the end, he said suddenly: “I would like to repent.”
He said it was Lau who attacked Ah J with chloroform on the fatal day. “If at that moment, I did not hold Cheung Man-li, but instead pushed Keith Lau away, it would have all have been a joke,” he said.
He said he had been foolish – as someone who aspired to join the police – to be “brainwashed” by Tsang and Lau.
After he first met the pair at a Halloween party in 2015, he recalled, they told him to distance himself from his mother, as the relationship “would get me nowhere”. “You need to have more guts to make money,” they told him.
Cheung, who quit his job working at an MTR station, said the pair would pay for his meals while he ran errands for them. The more they talked about money, the more he was “blinded” and influenced by them, he said.
He wanted to make more money to give some to his family, Cheung said. But at one point Tsang and Lau did not even let him see his mother, even during Christmas and other festivals.
He said they made him borrow money, up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, from various sources. He said he thought he could make money with them to make it up, but they began using his credit cards and even asked him to borrow money from his mother. They just kept telling him it would be sorted, he said.
Even regarding the alleged murder, he was told he only had to sit around to get his share of the money, he said.
“When I got to that point, I started to wonder if I had gone crazy,” he said.
He said it was stupid for him to go along with processing the body and fleeing with them to Taiwan.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick Li Hon-leung on Friday.