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Hong Kong courts

Man admits talking daughter of Hong Kong racer Jim Chong-shing into suicidal bridge jump

Lam Ka-wai leapt from Tsing Yi South Bridge with his girlfriend Jim Wing-laam. Only he survived

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 September, 2018, 3:25pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 September, 2018, 10:53pm

A man on Friday admitted talking the daughter of a well-known Hong Kong street car racer into committing suicide.

Lam Ka-wai leapt from a bridge with his girlfriend Jim Wing-laam in December 2016, but only he survived.

A high school dropout who survived on a handful of part time jobs, the accused claimed he had only spoken of his own death but his girlfriend followed suit. But Mr Justice Albert Wong Sung-hau ruled there was more to it.

Lam, then 20, would have had a great influence on Jim because she was only 16 years old, Wong said on Friday.

Calling him “selfish”, the judge said: “You have not appreciation for life at all.”

Lam, now 22, hugged 16-year-old Jim one last time before they leapt into the sea from Tsing Yi South Bridge, the High Court heard. Jim was the daughter of “God of Racing” Jim Chong-shing.

Lam pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter on Friday. Jim Chong-shing stared at him from the public gallery, while the young man kept his head down in the dock.

Before they jumped, Jim told Lam: “We shall meet again if our destiny sees fit.”

Lam told police during the investigation that he then replied: “Let fate takes its toll.”

He was pulled from the sea soon after and sent to hospital. Jim’s body was only recovered three days later, in the waters off Tsuen Wan. Lam initially kept quiet about their jump until police arrested him, whereupon he confessed: “It was me who suggested we commit suicide.”

Senior assistant director of public prosecutions Anna Lai Yuen-kee SC said the day before their suicide attempt, the pair went to the Dragon Centre mall in Sham Shui Po to have a customised cigarette lighter made.

On it, it had their nicknames, Wai and Jim, with a heart in between. It also bore the date they fell in love and the date they were about to take their own lives: “6.3.2015 to 12.12.2016”.

No one saw the couple jump, during the early hours of December 12. But a passer-by, who heard Lam calling for help at the nearby Tsing Yi Pier that night, jumped into the water and helped him stay afloat. Firefighters later arrived to pull Lam out of the water.

Lam initially said he accidentally fell into the sea while fiddling with his phone. At a later meeting with his probation officer he mentioned Jim, but only told him that they had a fight and parted ways at the Dragon Centre the day before the incident.

It was not until he was arrested on December 21 that Lam, who was kept at a psychiatric ward at Kwai Chung Hospital, confessed.

He told the police that he decided to commit suicide on December 11 and proposed it to Jim. She agreed, he said, and said that if one of them survived, they should not speak of the other.

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But in mitigation on Friday, his defence lawyer Alex Ng said Lam, who has a track record of psychiatric conditions, felt compelled to commit suicide because he was involved in another case at the time for having sexual intercourse with a minor. He was convicted of the crime.

He feared about his possible time in jail and was worried that Jim’s father would take revenge, even though the daughter had forgiven him. So he floated the suicide idea with Jim, the lawyer said.

Ng said Jim wanted to follow suit because she was about to have a huge operation.

The judge said Lam’s mental condition might have clouded his judgement, but it was no excuse.

“If it was not for him, she would not have had died,” he said.

Jim’s body was first spotted by a passing vessel in Tsuen Wan the morning after she jumped. But it went missing again and could only be recovered on December 15, when it re-emerged.

Ng also urged the judge to consider how Lam cherished his relationship with his girlfriend.

Lam only survived, Ng suggested, because he was wearing a down jacket, which offered him unexpected buoyancy.

“Ridiculous!” Jim Chong-shing shouted from the gallery.