Hong Kong courts

Oscar Mok found guilty of murdering Dragonair flight attendant Arbe Chan, before hiding her body in Tsuen Wan bedroom wardrobe

Former property agent had been bound over by court after grabbing Chan’s neck and threatening her family during argument, a mere three months before her death

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2018, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2018, 10:37pm

A Hong Kong man who strangled his ex-girlfriend in a jealous rage before hiding her body in her bedroom wardrobe and fleeing to mainland China was found guilty of murder on Tuesday.

The verdict of six to one, returned by a jury of five men and two women after 2½ hours of deliberations, added to charges of theft and attempted theft, which Oscar Mok Chun-yin, 31, had earlier pleaded guilty to. 

The High Court heard that Mok murdered Dragonair flight attendant Arbe Chan Man-yi, 26, at her Allway Gardens flat in Tsuen Wan on December 4, 2013, and took her smartphone and bank card in an attempt to raise funds before fleeing to Shenzhen.

It also emerged that the murder was not the first time Mok had harmed Chan. In an argument over money three months before the murder, he had grabbed her neck, covered her mouth and threatened to buy a knife to hurt her family. For that he was bound over for $1,000 (US$130) by Tuen Mun Court in September 2013 to keep the peace for a year.

Mok did not visibly react to the verdict in court. Mr Justice Joseph Yau Chi-lap adjourned sentencing to May 11, pending mitigation that will affect Mok’s future parole during the expected life sentence. 

Chan’s younger sister Man-ching said in tears after the hearing: “Life imprisonment will not be able to compensate the harm inflicted on my family. I cannot forgive him.”

But she echoed her father Chan Yik-fai in acknowledging that the verdict had served justice. 

The tragic love story began in November 2012, when the pair met at a bar and became lovers.

The relationship turned sour the following year, leading to the meeting that resulted in Chan’s death.

At issue in court was whether the former property agent had intended to kill. 

His defence argued separately that Chan had provoked him, by telling him to “drop dead” and that she would rather have sex with her new boyfriend.

‘I didn’t mean to kill her,’ wardrobe murder accused told Hong Kong police after strangling girlfriend

Mok admitted he then squeezed her neck until she showed no signs of life and hid her body under clothes in a sunken compartment of a wardrobe in the room she shared with her younger sister.

Her family did not realise what had happened until four days later, when Chan’s colleague told her sister she had been missing work.

Meanwhile, Mok told friends he felt “liberated” after the killing, despite being “deeply in love with Arbe”. A close friend recalled Mok said: “If I could not have something, I would not give it to others.”

He also tried to withdraw money from Chan’s account – which held HK$3,543 – and sold her smartphone for HK$1,200 after his access to her savings was denied due to an invalid password.

Mok left Hong Kong on December 7, 2013.

Police had offered a HK$300,000 reward for information on Mok’s whereabouts in July 2014 and asked Interpol to launch a worldwide hunt for him, after he was named as a murder suspect.

Hong Kong wardrobe murder accused did not tell partner about killing ex-girlfriend until she had his son

Mok managed to hide from investigators for three years, fathering a son, now two years of age, with a new lover in Shenzhen, where he was eventually arrested in October 2016.

Mok was handed over to Hong Kong in February last year.