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Crime

Suspect in Hong Kong fire that killed two in makeshift shelter arrested in hospital

Police say suspect was asked recently to move out of shelter because of rental issues

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 December, 2017, 9:30pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 December, 2017, 10:43pm

Police have arrested a 37-year-old Nepalese man in suspected connection with a murder and arson case in a makeshift shelter in Hong Kong that killed two people.

Officers said the suspect used to be a tenant in the makeshift shelter subdivided into eight units in Tin Sum San Tsuen. But he was recently asked to move out by a unit landlord, which resulted in disputes.

The force said it received reports that a fire broke out inside the tin-sheet structure at about 1.05am. The suspect had been admitted to Tuen Mun Hospital because of an injury since November 23, but left the hospital during the incident, with witnesses seeing him at the scene of the fire.

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The Fire Services Department said the fire was treated as suspicious as there were multiple sources for the blaze and it was spreading at an unusual speed.

After the fire was put out, two dead bodies were found at the scene, later confirmed to belong to a 66-year-old Hongkonger and a 55-year-old woman who came to Hong Kong on a two-way permit.

Before the incident, some residents saw him return and the fire occurred soon after he left
Tsang Shuk Yin, Yuen Long assistant district commander

About 10 hours later, police arrested the suspect, a man of Nepalese descent who holds a Hong Kong identity card, at the hospital.

Yuen Long assistant district commander Tsang Shuk-yin said the suspect was recently asked to move out of the shelter because of rental issues.

She added that incident led to disputes with the unit landlord and neighbours, with the suspect occasionally returning to harass the residents there.

“Before the incident, some residents saw him return and the fire occurred soon after he left,” Tsang said.

She added that with the suspect staying at the shelter for the greater part of the year, police believed he knew the two deceased.

Tsang said police were still investigating the exact details on when and why he was asked to leave.