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Hong Kong courts

Husband slashed wife’s face with meat cleaver after petty family argument, Hong Kong court hears

Argument in 2016 led to bloody incident that left a wife disfigured

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2018, 6:23pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2018, 6:54pm

A family argument about someone taking too long in the shower escalated into a vicious meat cleaver attack, which left a mother facially disfigured, a Hong Kong court heard on Wednesday.

The High Court heard that Lam Kwong-chau slashed his wife Li Yim-kwai’s face four times, and twice more on her neck and chest. The longest wound, on her upper forehead, measured nine centimetres.

Lam, 58, pleaded guilty to one count of wounding with intent on Li, and another count of attempting to do the same to their daughter, Lam Pui-shan, who avoided the assault by locking herself in a room in their Tin Shui Wai flat on October 5, 2016.

Mr Justice Kevin Zervos adjourned sentencing to April 20, as he ordered an impact report on Li to study how she had fared after the incident.

The wife had since been suffering from acute stress disorder and nightmares, according to a psychologist's report from December last year. She also felt ashamed about her facial disfigurements, it said.

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The couple, married in 1987, were living with their son and daughter, both in the late 20s, in Yat To House at Tin Yat Estate during the time of the offence. The father, although on good terms with his wife, had a poor relationship with his daughter, the court heard. 

On the night of the incident, as the daughter was having a shower, Lam grew increasingly agitated in the living room and accused her of occupying the bathroom for too long. He also told her she was ungrateful, and that the long shower “could not wash away her sin”.

The two then engaged in an argument, during which the defendant hurdled abusive language at his daughter, prompting the daughter to lock herself in her bedroom and block the door with a treadmill.

Li came out of the kitchen to argue with the defendant. He began attacking her with a cleaver retrieved from the kitchen, the court heard.

As he attacked her, he said: “Drop dead”. 

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“Chop you to death,” he also said, as he aimed the slashes at the woman’s face and neck.

He then went to the daughter’s room and broke the doorknob with a hammer, as Li went to seek help from neighbours. When she returned, the defendant slammed her head on an iron gate.

A subsequent medical examination found the woman suffered six wounds, with four landing on her forehead, cheek, and chin, some penetrating deep into the muscle. Two others were found on her neck and chest, while she also suffered a bone fracture and brain haematoma.

Lam had contemplated suicide by jumping out of the window. But he later backed down at the advice of the police, who later arrested him.