Hong Kong courts

Hong Kong man found guilty of manslaughter after stabbing neighbour to death in row over pet dog

Court will sentence man on Monday after he was found to have stabbed his neighbour in the throat following a row in the lift lobby of a public housing building in Wong Tai Sin in 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 July, 2018, 8:04pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 July, 2018, 10:22pm

A Hong Kong dog owner who fatally stabbed his neighbour at a public housing estate over a long-running row over the pet, was found guilty of manslaughter by a court on Friday.

In a unanimous verdict, seven jurors at the High Court found Wong Yuet-ming, 54, culpable in the 2016 killing of San Kai-chung in the lift lobby of Lung Wai House in Wong Tai Sin.

Wong launched the knife attack after he was provoked by what the court had heard during the trial was his bullying neighbour.

But the jury acquitted the man of the more serious offence of murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence.

While the maximum sentence for manslaughter is also life imprisonment, it is not compulsory under Hong Kong law.

The defendant did not appear any more relaxed in the dock after learning that he was found not guilty of the more serious felony.

Mr Justice Joseph Yau Chi-lap adjourned the mitigation and sentencing to Monday.

During the trial, the court heard that Wong, an unemployed man, stabbed a knife through San’s throat after a fight broke out between them at the public housing building in Lower Wong Tai Sin Estate on December 22, 2016.

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Security guards, who testified at the court, said San was someone who liked to “cause trouble” and pick “fights” and would sleep and “answer the call of nature” in staircases of the building.

Wong, who lived on the 22nd floor, and San, on the 13th floor, had a history of disputes over the dog, the court heard.

On a number of occasions, security guard Yip Siu-fong told the court earlier, she had warned Wong to stay away from San, who would often make a scene.

“I used to tell Mr Wong: ‘hey, [San] keeps saying he will chop someone to death, without mentioning who. You’d better be cautious’,” she said.

The court heard the two began to fight on the day after they entered the lift lobby, as captured by CCTV footage.

Wong then pulled a knife from his jacket and stabbed San in the throat.

After killing San, Wong called his nephew and said that San had been bullying him for “a long time”, before handing himself in to police.

Wong took to the witness box to defend himself during the trial. The man, who has a limp, said San made fun of the way he walked on the day.

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San had also threatened him with a knife on at least two occasions before, Wong said.

He took out a knife to fend off Wong that day, and bit San during the struggle. He only noticed San was stabbed in the neck after they were separated by a security guard, he said.

On Friday, prosecutor Richard Donald revealed that while the deceased was known to have a criminal record, Wong also had a host of his own convictions.

He said San was once sentenced to jail for 3 ½ years for conspiring with others to commit a forgery. He was also previously found guilty of theft and drug offences.