Jails under fire after Korean murder suspect found dead

Top News | Riley Chan 17 Apr 2018

Security in Hong Kong's prisons came under scrutiny after a South Korean accused of killing his wife and son was found dead in a suspected suicide in a Lai Chi Kok remand cell.

Kim Minho, 43, is believed to have died of strangulation. A death note believed to be Kim's and written in English was found beside his body.

In the note Kim thanked his friends and bade farewell. He said he was very tired.

A spokesman of the Correctional Services Department said prison staff found Kim lying on his bed in a single cell with strips of bed sheet tied around his neck at 7.25am yesterday.

He was rushed to Caritas Medical Centre, where he was pronounced dead.

The was reported to police for investigation and a death inquest will be held by the Coroner's Court. A senior superintendent of Correctional Services was assigned to head a committee to review the incident.

This is not the first suspected suicide case in Lai Chi Kok - a rape suspect reportedly hanged himself with a bed sheet in July last year.

Lawmaker James To Kun-sun urged the department to use more durable bed sheets so they cannot be easily torn to pieces and step up examinations of inmates' physical and mental health.

The Hong Kong Society for Community Organization called on the government to review the mechanisms in place to prevent further suicides and self-harm incidents in prisons.

According to the department, the most recent review was conducted in 2011 after five prisoners hanged themselves that year.

On January 14, Kim reportedly fought with wife Song Whajeong before allegedly slashing her throat with a knife and attacking their six-year-old son, Kim Taeyun, at the Ritz-Carlton in West Kowloon while on holiday in Hong Kong.

Kim had rang a friend in South Korea saying the family was about to commit suicide. The friend alerted Korean authorities, who then contacted the Korean consulate-general in Hong Kong.

Police rushed to the suite on the 109th floor of the hotel and found Kim in the living room in a confused state, while the bodies of the woman and the boy were found in the bedroom.

Kim had been operating a chocolate business but had run into financial difficulties. He was charged with two counts of murder.

Kim appeared in Kowloon City Magistrates' Court on January 16, 30 and March 27 and the case was adjourned to May 23 pending autopsy reports on the wife and son.


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