Fresh information on Hong Kong man’s unsolved 2002 killing lead Irish police to Macau to interview key ‘witness’

Hong Kong-born chef Anthony Tsang Kwok died in a frenzied cleaver and hammer attack by a group of men in a Chinese restaurant in the Irish village of Patrickswell some 16 years ago

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 July, 2018, 6:32am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 July, 2018, 6:32am

Investigations into the unsolved murder of a Hong Kong man in a quiet Irish village 16 years ago have been given fresh impetus – after police from Ireland flew to Macau to interview a key “witness” to the killing.

Nearly two decades after Hong Kong-born chef Anthony Tsang Kwok died in a brutal attack by a group of men in a Chinese restaurant in the sleepy village of Patrickswell in early 2002, Irish police believe Macau – the world’s richest casino hub – could hold the key to cracking the case.

Sources in the former Portuguese enclave have confirmed that detectives from Ireland’s national police force – An Garda Síochána, commonly known as the Gardai – carried out a face-to-face interview with a Chinese man after securing permission from the Macau authorities.

The “witness” is believed to have left Ireland just hours after Tsang was killed on February 5, 2002, and travelled to Macau. It is not clear when the interview took place, but a source told the South China Morning Post that it was “some time in the past few months”.

The statements – taken by two Irish detectives in the casino hub – are understood to have formed part of a new file which police have sent to Ireland’s director of public prosecutions.

Tsang died in a frenzied attack by a group of cleaver and hammer-wielding men in the now-closed Tao Tao Chinese restaurant in Patrickswell, a village 10 kilometres from the city of Limerick.

Exactly what happened on the day of the murder has been mired in mystery for years and despite the arrest of five men in its immediate aftermath – who were said to have been involved in an “altercation” with staff at the restaurant which led to Tsang’s killing – no one has been formally charged with his killing.

A report last month in the Limerick Leader newspaper said the attack was suspected to have been carried out by triads.

A brief history of Hong Kong’s triad gangs

Tsang’s wife, also from Hong Kong, and who still lives in Ireland, has rejected suggestions that her late husband was involved in gangland business or feuds and is still seeking compensation from Ireland’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.

In 2016, Irish media reported that Chinese organised criminals had “become a main player” in the underworld of County Kerry, following the demise of a local crime organisation.

The reports identified a faction of the Sun Yee On triad society as having had “operations” in the country since the 1980s and “which had recently grown into a major force in the Irish underworld”.

The main areas of the group’s operations were drug smuggling and dealing; people trafficking; illegal gambling and protection rackets, the reports said.