Murder suspect, 26, arrested at Hong Kong airport after body of father found with stab wounds and dumped in sea
- Suspect left for Taiwan but returned to city on same day
- Police believe the victim was killed over money dispute and transported 40km from scene to be thrown into water
A man was arrested at Hong Kong’s airport on Thursday night less than 15 hours after the grisly discovery of the body of his father, who was stabbed, stuffed in a bag and tossed into the sea 40km from where he was allegedly killed.
The arrest was made on the same day the suspect, 26, had flown out of the city and returned. The Post was told that, before the trip, the man was thought to have killed his father in Tuen Mun and transported the body to the waterfront at Wah Fu Estate. The victim, a cleaning worker surnamed Lai, 65, lived alone in Po Tin Estate in Tuen Mun.
Police identified Lai through his fingerprints. Officers said Lai was killed in a dispute over money.
The son, an insurance agent who lived in Western district with his wife and child, was heavily in debt, police Superintendent Cheng Dien-kit said on Friday.
On Friday evening, the suspect was still being held at Western Police Station for questioning and had not been charged.
Police had called the son on Thursday evening, according to Cheng, the assistant district commander (crime) in Western district.
“The son said he was in Taiwan and admitted that in the deceased’s flat on the morning of December 4, he had a dispute when trying to borrow money and used a sharp object to attack the deceased, which led to the death,” Cheng said.
The officer added that the main artery in Lai’s neck was ruptured and his trachea was also punctured.
The body was then stuffed into a red, white and blue nylon travel bag which was placed into a plastic box.
On Wednesday, “the plastic box was transported to a flat in Wah Fu Estate which was the suspect’s former residence. He then went to buy a new suitcase and placed the nylon bag in the suitcase,” Cheng said.
Early on Thursday, the son took the suitcase to Waterfall Bay Park in Aberdeen – outside the estate – and tossed it in the sea, Cheng said.
During the telephone conversation with police, Cheng said: “The son claimed that he had bought an air ticket to return to Hong Kong and surrender himself.”
The suspect was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport at about 11pm on Thursday.
The suspect left Hong Kong for Kaohsiung, a source said.
Investigations showed the suspect hired a delivery van on Wednesday afternoon to take the plastic box to the Wah Fu Estate flat, according to the superintendent. Lai’s divorced wife lived in the flat, but was not at home at the time.
Investigations showed the suspect bought the plane ticket after throwing the case into the sea and left the city on Thursday morning.
Cheng believed the suspect had cleaned the Tuen Mun flat before moving the body.
Police suspect a knife, which was not recovered, was used in the attack. The plastic box has not been found.
At about 2.30pm on Friday, divers from the force’s elite Special Duties Unit – known as the “Flying Tigers” – carried out a search of the sea to gather evidence off Waterfall Bay Park.
Cheng said the suitcase was found on the seabed.
At about 4pm, police escorted the hooded and handcuffed suspect to the waterfront for a crime reconstruction. According to police, he was likely to be escorted to the Tuen Mun flat to reconstruct the alleged crime on Saturday.
The murder case came to light at about 8am on Thursday when the travel bag was spotted floating in the waters off the estate in Aberdeen. A passer-by who made the sighting told police that the victim’s head was sticking out of the bag at the time.
Firefighters retrieved the body and found no identification document or personal belongings on the corpse, which was dressed in just trousers and socks.
An autopsy would be carried out to establish the cause of death.
The case came less than 12 hours after a murder-suicide in the same area.
On Wednesday, a 64-year-old man and his wife, 63, were found dead at home in Wah Sang House of Wah Fu Estate at about 10pm.
Police said the man was found hanged, and the woman had suffered head injuries. Officers did not believe the incident was linked to Thursday’s case.
“Initial investigations revealed that the man committed suicide after attacking his wife inside the flat,” police said.
A crowbar believed to have been used in the incident was found inside the home.
According to official statistics, Hong Kong police handled 17 reports of murder in the first six months of this year, up 54.5 per cent compared with 11 cases in the same period last year.