Suicides in Hong Kong

Hong Kong woman and son, 9, found dead in murder-suicide after husband kills himself 

Police find suicide notes that describe woman’s devastation from losing her husband in January 

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 February, 2018, 2:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 February, 2018, 11:04pm

A woman whose husband killed himself last month was found dead along with her nine-year-old son on Tuesday in what police said was a murder-suicide.

Au Wai-man, 45, and her son were found dead from inhaling charcoal fumes in a car on a Sha Tin street. Police said Au was devastated by the death of her husband.

Her husband, Hung Ka-kit, 41, who ran a logistic company in Fo Tan, died on January 8 after he hanged himself in his office. Police said he ended his life because his business was failing.

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“The woman left several will notes to her relatives and friends at home, saying she missed her late husband very much and indicating that she had suicidal tendency to end her life with her [only] son,” a police source said.

The Post understands that after her husband’s death, relatives had offered her emotional support and help but she was inconsolable.

Au and her son, a Primary Five student at a Kowloon West school, were last seen on Sunday night when they had dinner with relatives.

Au’s mother became worried about her daughter and grandson on Monday when she hadn’t heard from Au. She went to the family’s home in Che Ha Tsuen off Sai Sha Road in Ma On Shan at about 11pm, but no one was inside the village house.

Au’s mother found the suicide notes and made an emergency call to 999. Police immediately launched a citywide search for the pair.

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Soon before 2am on Tuesday, Au and her son were found unconscious on board a seven-seater car stopped in On Yiu Street, Sha Tin. Officers found a pot of charcoal ashes in the vehicle’s rear passenger seat.

Chief Inspector Siu Man-hon of Sha Tin police district said the mother and son were certified dead by paramedics at the scene and initial investigation showed the pair died from inhaling excess carbon monoxide.

He said initial examination showed the pair had been dead for about 12 hours.

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A security camera footage indicated Au left her Ma On Shan home with her son in the car at about 1.30am on Monday, according to the source.

He said an autopsy would be carried out to determine whether the boy was drugged before the charcoal was set alight.

Research shows that the risk of self-harm for those who have lost family members or people close to them through suicide are three times higher than others, according to Vincent Ng Chi-kwan, executive director of non-profit group Suicide Prevention Services.

“These people are usually very vulnerable and are dealing with immense grief and complex emotions. Some may be blaming themselves, or they might be angry at their family members for leaving them behind and at the same time missing them dearly,” Ng said.

These people are usually very vulnerable and are dealing with immense grief and complex emotions
Vincent Ng Chi-kwan, Suicide Prevention Services

In such cases, seeking professional help is equally as important as family support, he said.

“From our experience, many would be hesitant to be completely open to their family members. Some are worried that they would be a burden, while others worry that they are to blame. This is why a professional third-party would be able to help,” Ng, who is also a social worker, said.

The Suicide Prevention Services provides individual and family counselling to those survivors of suicide loss.

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Aside from counselling services, social workers will also arrange for them to join support groups so they can build up a network with those who have had gone through similar experiences. The groups are further divided into those who have been through spousal losses, or the loss of their children.

“It will be of much help to them when they know they are not alone, and there are others who have gone through the exact same things as them. They should not feel like they have to hide and keep everything to themselves,” Ng said.

People who are feeling stressed or in need of support, contact the Samaritan Befrienders’ 24-hour hotline on 2389 2222, Suicide Prevention Services on 2382 0000, or the Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care on 2868 1211. A hotline for those who have lost a loved one to suicide can be reached on 2382 2737.