Wednesday, December 2, 2015   

Wife knew nothing of Tsui's dark side

Una So

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The widow of slain police constable Tsui Po-ko told the Coroner's court Tuesday that many facets of her late husband were unknown to her, ranging from his shoe size to his life goals, inner struggles, secret bank accounts and passion for massage parlors.

However, Lee Po-ling, the 116th and last witness at the inquest, shed tears and praised Tsui as a good husband and father who valued life and chose to become an organ donor.

Lee's lawyer, Daniel Wong Kwok- tung, had earlier applied for the woman to be excused from testifying, but the application was rejected by the court.

Wearing her hair in a bun, the bespectacled Lee asked Coroner's officer Arthur Luk Yee-shun to address her as "Miss Lee."


Working at the airport as a salesgirl, she had met Tsui when he was stationed there. They married in 1997 and she joined the Social Welfare Department, where she is currently a social security assistant.

The gallery was surprised to hear that the couple had little in common other than their favorite subject in recent years - their daughter- who was born in 2000.

Lee testified she had little interest in politics and, consequently, Tsui would discuss such topics with his mother, Cheung Wai-mei. Instead, he would talk to her about history and geography.

Also, after nine years of marriage, Lee admitted she had no idea what her husband's shoe size was or what brands of sneakers he favored since he shopped for himself.

Tsui enjoyed a surprising amount of freedom with his wife's blessing, such as not even letting her know whenever he took leave to go paraglinding.

"He valued life very much, and he helped others like helping himself. Whenever he saw pregnant women, seniors and children, he would give up his seat for them. I'm very proud of him. He signed the organ donor card, so if he got sick or died ..." Lee said, her voice faltering.

"He told me ... he wanted to donate all his organs to others ..."

She could not finish the sentence as tears streaked down her face.

Tsui's mother, Cheung Wai-mei, bent over and sobbed into her hands.

Outside the court, a teary Cheung bowed twice to the reporters surrounding her, saying at first she was defensive about the media, but after 33 days, she noticed some reporters had done a lot and supported her. She bowed to show her appreciation.

Lee admitted many facets of Tsui's life- exposed by the inquest- were unknown to her, including his HK$75,000 football bet in 2004, the frequenting of massage parlors and the 19 accounts he opened with more than HK$500,000.

Her voice faltered slightly when asked about his sexual escapades in the mainland.

Between 2002 and March 2006, Lee said she joined Tsui on 10 of the 53 trips he took.

His travel documents and passport were kept in his police station locker.

Tsui used his friend's home as a mailing address for investment accounts, but she insisted that was not a problem since "everyone has his own secrets and privacy."

Lee insisted Tsui was a responsible father and husband. The first thing he did when he came home from work was play with his daughter. He also helped with household chores and cooked.

She recalled with a smile: "He would send me off at the MTR station with a kiss on my forehead. We remained like that before [the shootout] happened."

Lee said after their daughter was born in January 2000 she suffered from health problems and pain for almost three years, with most of her energy being devoted to the daughter.

When constable Leung Shing-yan was killed on March 14, 2001, at Shek To House, Lee said she paid little attention to the news.

When Peter Ip Tak-keung, the barrister representing the commissioner of police, asked her if she feared for Tsui - who was stationed nearby when the Belvedere Garden robbery took place on December 5, 2001 - she said she was not clear about where Tsui was posted since he switched posts often.

However, she had not discussed the incident with Tsui.

She said she was shocked to find out about the Tsim Sha Tsui shootout on March 17, 2006.

Lee said Tsui did not appear to have any psychiatric problem and was driven by the desire to learn new things.

She did not know about Tsui's chanting of anti-communist slogans in front of military police at the mainland border, but guessed he was joking.

Luk told the court that on August 3, 2003, a total of HK$203,000 was put into their savings account, but a month later HK$196,000 was withdrawn.

Lee said she did not question these transactions since Tsui had told her it was from a friend who did not want his wife to know about the money.

"I believed whatever he told me. No probing was needed," Lee said.

Tsui left 16 letters for Lee when he went on a cycling trip without informing her in October 1998, outlining his frustration about life. Ip asked Lee for her thoughts about one of the letters in which Tsui wrote: "Days are easy in a comfortable environment; should life go on just like that? I want to challenge myself, I want to do what others can't. I strive for excellence."

Lee said it reflected Tsui was very enthusiastic and aggressive and kept on studying and taking exams after joining the police.

She recalled Tsui saying he wanted to stay in the force for two more years before making a change. Lee said she told him to stop thinking about "useless" things.

She said she made nothing of a note taped to Tsui's bed, saying it was probably copied from a book, and that Tsui would have thrown it away after a while.

Luk then brought up the subject of Octopus cards, saying some travel movements between September 20 and December 29, 2001, did not tally with her schedule.

Lee simply replied the trips were probably not hers but that she could not remember.

With regard to the red sweater and Mizuno sneakers - seen as key evidence in the Belvedere Garden robbery - Lee said she knew Tsui had a red sweater but she did not pay any attention to the logo.

Lee also said she had never seen the pair of plastic-rimmed glasses and wig found on Tsui when he lay dying in the Tsim Sha Tsui underpass.

Following 116 witnesses and 258 pieces of evidence, barrister Arthur Yip Chi-ho representing Tsui's mother and wife, and Ip will deliver their final submissions Thursday.

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