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Crime in Hong Kong

Boyfriend suspected of arson after Tai Kok Tsui blaze leaves Hong Kong woman fighting for her life

Police arrest 39-year-old man after fire leaves four injured and 70 residents forced to evacuate

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 January, 2018, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 January, 2018, 7:30pm

A 21-year-old woman was fighting for her life on Saturday night after her home in Tai Kok Tsui went up in flames.

Three others were injured in the blaze, which police suspected was the work of an arsonist. Officers arrested the woman’s 39-year-old boyfriend on suspicion of starting the fire.

Police received reports at 9.12am saying a flat was on fire on the third floor of Godfrey Centre on Lai Chi Kok Road. About 70 residents of the building and students from a nearby tutorial centre were immediately evacuated. The blaze was extinguished after about 20 minutes.

The woman, surnamed Yip, was rushed to Kwong Wah Hospital in Yau Ma Tei where she remained in critical condition as of Saturday evening.

A police source said she lived in the flat with her unemployed boyfriend, surnamed Wong. They had been arguing via messaging application WhatsApp on Friday night because Yip had not come home on her day off work, the source said.

“The man was angry, and the woman did not return home until Saturday morning. After Yip then fell asleep the room next door went up in flames,” the source said.

“The man claimed he left the property at 8am and returned at around 10am. But he appeared suspicious when questioned by fire services and police officers as his answers were always different, so we arrested him.”

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But the source also revealed that closed-circuit television footage from the front door of the building had captured Wong leaving the block and returning at about the time he claimed. However, he could have entered in the intervening time via the back door, where there was no camera, he added.

“He is being detained at the moment so we can investigate if he is linked with the case,” the source said.

Three other residents of the building – an 18-month-old girl, her 43-year-old mother and another woman, 33, were sent to the same hospital after inhaling smoke.

The mother and daughter had been discharged on Saturday evening, while the remaining victim was in a stable condition.