‘Master meat cutter’ jailed for life in Hong Kong for killing and dismembering ex-wife’s aunt
- The body was never found and the motive remained unclear
- But CCTV footage showed the killer coming and going with bags and suitcases, and the victim’s blood was found on his furniture
A butcher who killed and chopped up his ex-wife’s aunt was on Thursday jailed for life in what a Hong Kong judge described as a chilling case, filled with lies that offended public morals.
Mr Justice Patrick Li Hon-leung condemned Ngan Wing-chau, 52, as a ruthless and calculating man who showed no remorse over the murder and dismemberment of Chan Sau-wa, 62, in May 2016.
“Had it not been for the persistence of the investigation team, the defendant might have escaped detection,” the judge said. “This bears testimony to the old saying: Justice may be slow but it will come eventually.”
The victim’s son, Chan Ho-man, thanked police for bringing Ngan to justice.
“I hope my mother’s soul in heaven will feel comforted by this outcome,” he said outside court. “The verdict is just.”
Officer-in-charge Emily Lau Sze-wai said the case was challenging as it depended on circumstantial evidence, with investigators perusing more than 1,000 hours of CCTV footage to trace the victim’s final movements. They searched nearby refuse collection points and found their corresponding landfill, but the victim’s body was never found.
The motive remained unclear.
The High Court heard the victim called her son at 6.45pm on May 1, 2016 telling him she would be home for dinner. But she never made it back, and lost contact for the next two days, prompting her son to call police.
Investigators later found footage of her walking into the Iskra Building on Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po, at 7.48pm. There was no record of her leaving the premises.
Ngan, a Shek Kip Mei market butcher described in court as “a master meat cutter”, was seen entering and leaving the building repeatedly that night, at times holding a rubbish bag or a suitcase.
When police raided the building on May 14, Ngan was caught climbing out of a window. Blood, later identified as Chan’s, stained the furniture in his flat.
Ngan denied the murder, claimed he had not noticed the blood, and offered multiple accounts of what he did on the night of May 1.
On Wednesday, he was found guilty of murder and preventing the lawful burial of his former mother-in-law’s sister by two majority verdicts returned by a seven-member jury after seven hours of deliberation.
He offered no mitigation on Thursday, leading the judge to conclude he had no remorse.
Li also said Ngan’s “insistence that his lies are justified is repulsive and an affront to public morals”.
“I have no pity on him,” the judge continued. “The defendant must have dismembered the victim to cover [the act] up. He disposed of the body unscrupulously, with no respect at all. This act must have caused grave emotional suffering to the family.”
Murder carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.
Ngan was jailed for seven years for preventing the lawful burial of Chan’s body, the maximum sentence for the offence, after Li commented that dismemberment “ranks as the most serious of its kind”.
The two jail terms will be served concurrently.
Ngan will return to Kowloon City Court on November 16 to face separate charges of using a forged identity card and taking employment while being a person having landed in Hong Kong without the authority of the director of immigration.