Suspects talked about eating murder victim, Hong Kong body-in-cement trial hears
Three defendants also considered throwing Cheung Man-li, 28, into the sea or burying body in woods but finally settled on encasing in a block of cement
Three flatmates accused of murder considered eating their victim before finally settling on encasing his body in cement, a Hong Kong court heard on Monday.
One of the defendants, Tsang Cheung-yan, also claimed his co-accused, Keith Lau, was the “mastermind” of the crime, from conceiving a plan to rob their victim – who Lau considered a “foe” – to choosing the method of disposal of the remains and planning an escape to Taiwan.
The revelations were contained in a video interview police conducted with Tsang after his arrest on April 12, 2016. It was played before a High Court jury of seven for the first time on Monday.
“The mastermind is Keith Lau. I only dealt with the corpse,” Tsang told a police officer after he was arrested, the video showed.
The three men, Tsang, 28, Lau, 23, and Cheung Sin-hang, 25, denied murdering Cheung Man-li, 28, alias Ah J, in their flat in Tsuen Wan on March 4, 2016. But they pleaded guilty to preventing the lawful burial of Cheung’s body.
Prosecutors allege that they attacked Ah J with chloroform and that Tsang injected alcohol into his body at Flat 9D of the DAN6 industrial building that day. Subsequently, they buried him in a block of cement, the prosecutors said.
In Tsang’s police interview, he said that after Ah J’s death, the trio began to talk about ways to dispose of his body. “Cutting up, draining blood, refrigerating, and cooking him up and eating him,” he said.
“All these sick ideas came up.”
They also talked about throwing him into the sea or burying him in the woods, Tsang said, but the trio eventually settled on burying him in cement.
Tsang said Lau considered Ah J a “foe” because Tsang and Ah J had once made Lau borrow money from financial institutions without giving him the promised monetary returns.
Tsang also said he introduced Lau and Cheung Sin-hang to Ah J on February 28, just days before the alleged murder.
Although prosecutors claimed Tsang owed the victim money, Tsang said that around late February and early March, it was Ah J, his friend and business partner for almost a decade, who approached him over a loan for a HK$6 million (US$769,000) Australian property project.
Tsang said they had owed each other money, and they were partners in that they would conduct “scams” together.
Around that time, according to Tsang, Lau floated the idea that they should just rob Ah J as Lau said he was in need of money. “Do whatever you want,” Tsang had thought.
On March 4, Tsang and Cheung Sin-hang invited Ah J to their flat to talk about the project. Tsang said he went upstairs to take a nap, leaving Cheung Sin-hang downstairs to read the documents. Lau also went downstairs.
But soon after, he heard Lau call him for help. He said when he went downstairs, he saw Lau lying on top of Ah J and covering his mouth with one hand, while Cheung Sin-hang was under the victim.
He said Ah J soon lost signs of life while Cheung Sin-hang tried to resuscitate him.
Lau, meanwhile, repeatedly told him to inject alcohol into the victim’s body.
“I just pretended to walk up and down,” he said about bringing a syringe from upstairs. But he claimed he had not injected Ah J.
He claimed Lau then told them to deal with Cheung’s property, saying for them to sell his watch and phones.
Tsang said after Lau returned from a trip to Singapore, when it appeared that the cement was too heavy to move, Lau suggested removing the body and cutting it into pieces. He said Lau broke Ah J’s arm and foot.
He said it was Lau’s idea to later flee to Taiwan because he had friends there.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick Li Hon-leung on Tuesday.