Sweet old couple's love ends in grisly death

A 73-year-old mentally ill woman has been arrested on suspicion of murder after her husband died from hacking injuries to his head at a Kwai Chung public housing estate. The man, Lau, 69, died at Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung at 5.41am yesterday. The woman, also named Lau,...

Erin Chan

Friday, February 26, 2021

A 73-year-old mentally ill woman has been arrested on suspicion of murder after her husband died from hacking injuries to his head at a Kwai Chung public housing estate.

The man, Lau, 69, died at Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung at 5.41am yesterday. The woman, also named Lau, remained in custody last night in the same hospital.

Police said that at around 4am, the woman got out of the bedroom, where her husband was sleeping, at a unit on the 22nd floor in Lai Yiu Estate's Kwai Yiu House. They said the woman grabbed a cleaver from the kitchen, went back to the bedroom and struck her husband in the head.

At 4.24am, their 40-year-old daughter, sleeping in the living room, was woken up by her father's screams for help and called police.

Officers from the New Territories South Emergency Unit on arrival found the man pinning his wife on the floor. The husband, who sustained critical head injuries, soon fell unconscious. Officers tried to resuscitate him.

Kwai Tsing district crime squad chief inspector Wong Sun-lok said the husband sustained at least six cuts on his head.

"They include the wounds on his forehead, the top and the back of his skull, with lengths between four and 10 centimeters," Wong said. A post-mortem will be conducted.

He said the woman has been suffering from schizophrenia and depression for over a decade.

"The assailant is an outpatient at Kwai Chung Hospital's psychiatry department and she needs to take medication and attend consultations at the hospital regularly," he said.

But Wong said the woman had no record of attacking family members or anyone else, adding there were no warning signs when the family of three were having dinner the night before.

The cleaver, covered in blood, was found after a search of the unit, Wong said.

He added that police would look into whether the attack had to do with the couple's relationship and finances.

The man's younger brother said the couple had a loving relationship for several decades and called on people to pay more attention to those with mental illnesses.

"They loved and respected each other, always taking strolls together. He bought food and cooked for his wife," he said. "My sister-in-law had a breakdown and could not control herself. Her medication might not have been working."

A neighbor said he had never heard the couple argue and that they had a married son who moved to Taiwan.

He said the couple would go hiking and farming in Tsuen Wan and would occasionally give away their harvests - such as bananas and vegetables - to neighbors.

erin.chan@singtaonewscorp.com