University of Hong Kong professor charged with murder after wife’s body found in suitcase
Associate professor Cheung Kie-chung will face murder charge in Eastern Court, Sai Wan Ho on Thursday
A University of Hong Kong professor was charged with one count of murder on Wednesday after police discovered his missing wife’s body in a suitcase in his office the day before.
Associate professor Cheung Kie-chung, 53, from HKU’s department of mechanical engineering, will appear at Eastern Court in Sai Wan Ho on Thursday.
Cheung reported his wife, 53, missing on August 20, saying she was last seen in the small hours of August 17, police said.
He was arrested on Tuesday afternoon when investigators raided his office in the Haking Wong Building on HKU’s Pok Fu Lam Road campus, where they found the woman’s body in a suitcase that had been stashed in a wooden box.
Police said a postmortem examination would be carried out to ascertain the cause of death, after revealing earlier that the body was found with an electrical cable around the neck.
Cheung is a member of the university’s governing council and vice-chairman of its Academic Staff Association.
He was also warden of Wei Lun Hall – one of the university’s residential halls – on Sassoon Road, Pok Fu Lam, and lived there with his family, including his 26-year-old son and 28-year-old daughter.
It is a mixed hall in a quiet neighbourhood and houses mostly undergraduate students. Wei Lun Hall is particularly popular with medical and nursing students, as it is opposite the medical school and the university’s teaching hospital, Queen Mary Hospital.
On Wednesday, the university welcomed new students to the campus with its new president and vice chancellor Zhang Xiang promising to help them and staff cope with the shock of the death.
Speaking at an inauguration ceremony for first-year students at HKU’s campus in Sai Ying Pun, Zhang said many students would have got wind of the incident.
“I’m sure you are as saddened and shocked as I am,” Zhang said, without naming the professor.
Zhang, who took office last month, said the details were uncertain but the university would offer support to all students and staff.
“Our thoughts are with those who are affected and the university will be providing the necessary assistance to them at this very difficult time,” Zhang said to the more than 1,300 staff and students attending the ceremony in the Lee Shau Kee Lecture Centre’s grand hall.
Student union president Davin Wong said the university was providing counselling for residents of Wei Lun Hall.
In an email to students and staff on Wednesday afternoon, Dr Steven Cannon, executive vice-president for administration and finance, listed contact details for counselling services and said the seventh floor of the Haking Wong Building would be closed for the day.
In the meantime, the office of the mechanical engineering department would operate on the fifth floor of the same building, the email said.
Department head Professor Alfonso Ngan Hing-wan said he was arranging for other staff members to teach courses assigned to Cheung when the new school year began next week.