Hello Kitty murder case

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Hello Kitty murder case
No. 31 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, where the murder took place.[a]
Location
DateMarch 17, 1999 (1999-03-17) to April 14, 1999; 24 years ago (1999-04-14)
Attack type
Torture murder causing traumatic shock, kidnapping, rape, decapitation
WeaponsMetal pipes, kitchen utensils, hot wax, melted plastic, spices
VictimFan Man-yee (樊敏儀), aged 23
Perpetrators
  • Chan Man-lok (陳文樂)
  • Leung Wai-lun (梁偉倫)
  • Leung Shing-cho (梁勝祖)[b]
MotiveInconclusive
VerdictGuilty of manslaughter
SentenceLife imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 20 years
Leung Shing-cho:
Commuted to 18 years in prison
Case Number: CACC 522/2000

The Hello Kitty murder case (Chinese: Hello Kitty藏屍案; Jyutping: Hello Kitty cong4si1ngon3; lit. 'Hello Kitty hidden body case') took place in Hong Kong in the spring of 1999, when a nightclub hostess was abducted in Lai Yiu Estate, tortured and raped in an apartment in Tsim Sha Tsui after stealing a wallet owned by one of her frequent customers. Fan Man-yee (樊敏儀; Fán Mǐnyí; faan4 man5 ji4, 23) was held captive by three men and one girl before dying between April 14 and April 16, 1999. Her body was decapitated and her skull placed inside of a Hello Kitty mermaid plush.[1]

Background

Fan Man-yee, the Hello Kitty murder victim

Born in 1976 in Shenzhen, Fan Man-yee was abandoned by her family as a child, resulting in her being raised in an all girls' orphanage in Ma Tau Wai. When she turned 15, she was told to leave the orphanage because they had an age restriction. Becoming homeless and addicted to drugs, Fan was forced into street prostitution, and at age 21 began working at a brothel named Romance Villa, located in Sham Shui Po.[1] Fan eventually married one of her clients, a fellow drug addict named Ng Chi-yuen (吳志遠; Wú Zhìyuǎn), in 1996. She gave birth to their son two years later in November 1998, roughly five months before her murder. Fan's husband was described as abusive and neighbors in their Mong Kok apartment building would report being awakened by sounds of the couple's fights and the child's screaming and crying.[2] Upon her pregnancy and then the birth of her son, Fan decided to turn her life around in order to protect her son and provide him a safer life. She quit drugs and prostitution, got a job as a hostess at a nightclub named Empress Karaoke Club, and eventually left her violent husband shortly before her murder. Due to these sacrifices, she had a much lower income and struggled to support herself and her family.[3]

Kidnapping

Chan Man-lok (陳文樂; Chén Wénlè; can4 man4 lok6, alias Ah Lok or Ah Hsi, born May 17, 1965), a 33-year-old Wo Shing Wo triad member who had exhibited problematic behavior since middle school and had previous convictions for drug trafficking (in 1991),[4][5] was one of Fan's regular clients at the brothel.[6] In early 1999, Fan stole Chan's wallet, which contained about $HK4,000 (roughly US$500).[1] When Chan realized what had happened, he demanded Fan return the money in addition to a fee of $HK10,000. Although Fan immediately returned the stolen money, she needed more time to secure the additional fee.

On March 17, 1999, Fan was abducted by three men and one girl at her flat in the Fu Yiu section of Lai Yiu Estate: Chan; his grooming victim Lau Ming-fong[7] (劉明芳; Liú Míngfāng; lau4 ming4 fong1, alias Ah Fong, 14), Leung Wai-lun (梁偉倫; Liáng Wěilún; loeng4 wai5 leon4, alias Gangsta 1, 21), and Leung Shing-cho (梁勝祖; Liáng Shèngzǔ; loeng4 sing3 zou2, alias Gangsta 2, possibly 26, boyfriend of Lau). The group took Fan to an apartment at No. 31 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui,[8] where they imprisoned her for a month. The apartment was rented by Chan himself, but was owned by two men referred to as Ah Sam and Ah Kao, who were not involved in gang activities. Initially, Chan had intended to make money off of Fan by pimping her out to other men.[1]

Prior to the kidnapping, both Leung Wai-lun and Leung Shing-cho worked at a retail store nearby Granville Road.

Ordeal

During her imprisonment, she was tortured and raped. According to one source, she was beaten with metal bars, sometimes while being strung up and used as a punching bag. On one occasion, Fan was kicked in the head around fifty times. Spices were rubbed into Fan's wounds, her legs and feet were burned with candle wax and hot plastic so that she was unable to walk, she was forced to consume human feces and urine, and she was forced to smile and say she enjoyed the beatings; if she refused, they subjected her to even harsher torture. This treatment eventually led to traumatic shock and ultimately death.[9][10]

Fan succumbed to her wounds between April 14 or April 15, 1999. Some sources claim that she died while her captors were out, while others say she died overnight.[6] Upon discovery of Fan's body, her captors dismembered and boiled the remains; her skull was sewed inside of a Hello Kitty doll filled with dead insects while the rest of the body was discarded.[1] Only her skull, one tooth, and some internal organs were recovered in a plastic bag, after Lau led the Yau Ma Tei police to the scene on May 24.[4][10][11] Three police officers, Chiu Ka-hsue, Sin Tim-wah and Andrew Yip Yan-ling, all from the Yau Ma Tei Police Division No. 539, were the first officers who arrived at the scene.[4] Other parts were recovered from trash dumps in Sham Shui Po, Wan Chai and Tai Kok Tsui.[12] At the time of the arrest, Chan was living with his wife Ah Pui (real name Tse Pui-ling, 謝佩玲; Xiè Pèilíng) and his newborn baby at an apartment in the Shek Ning section of Shek Lei Estate. The apartment was raided by SWAT officers on the early morning hours of May 28.[4] Tse was first suspected to be involved in the murder, but was quickly released after no evidence was found. After finding out the murder made it to the media via a Macau-based local newspaper, Leung Wai-lun fled to mainland China (Guangxi)[13] before getting caught by the police on February 14, 2000, after irregularities were found in his passport. Prior to the arrest, Leung was put on Interpol's most wanted list.[14] He was sent back to Hong Kong on February 17 for trial.

Fan's skull was identified on June 3, after a "photo overlapping method" at Lockhart Mortuary, and the skull was moved to Kowloon Public Mortuary after the trial.[15]

Trial

On December 7, 2000, after a trial which started on October 20,[15] the three men were convicted of manslaughter with a vote of 6:3,[16] as the eight-man and one-woman jury ruled the remains were not sufficient to show whether Fan was murdered or died from a drug overdose.[1] While the jury could not rule that the men intended to kill Fan, they did determine that she had died as a result of their abuse.[17] Lau testified at the trial in exchange for immunity.[1] During the trial, Chan and Leung Shing-cho denied killing Fan, although they did not deny dismembering her body.[18] Chan's wife Tse Pui-ling, Fan's husband Ng Chi-yuen and Fan's aunt also testified in court. After the guilty verdict, Leung Wai-lun's sister reportedly experienced a mental breakdown, while Leung's brother slammed and broke the court door, causing damage.[16]

Justice Peter Nguyen, who sentenced the trio to life in prison with the possibility of parole, stated, "Never in Hong Kong in recent years has a court heard of such cruelty, depravity, callousness, brutality, violence, and viciousness."[1] Psychiatric reports of Castle Peak Hospital and Siu Lam Hospital described the three as "remorseless".[5] There would be no review for parole for twenty years, i.e. until 2020.[17][needs update] Chan Man-lok and Leung Wai-lun are currently serving their life sentences in Stanley Prison.[citation needed]

Former TVB reporters Carmen Luk and Mimi Yeung attended the trial, with Luk describing the court scene as "crazy and scary".[18]

Chan lost his appeal on 13 August 2007, by the request of the court.

Aftermath

Fan's skull was the only exhibit in the case. After the trial, it was kept by the forensic pathologist in the Kowloon Public Mortuary until the appeal process of the prisoners was completed, and her birth family was notified in March 2004 that the skull would be returned and cremated on March 26.

The apartment building in which the crime took place was demolished in September 2012 and has been rebuilt as a hotel named Soravit in 2016.[19] Three buddha portraits were placed in the hotel as a memorial.

A necklace that belonged to Fan was handed over to Fan's son after it was discovered in the refrigerator during the investigation. It is rumored that Fan's son and husband now reside in Singapore.

The publicity around the case resulted in the production and release of films that told the story. Both Human Pork Chop (烹屍之喪盡天良) and There is a Secret in my Soup were released in 2001.[20]

Leung Shing-cho, who managed to reduce his sentence from life to eighteen years on appeal in March 2004,[21] was released in April 2014. Eight years later, Leung was arrested and sentenced to jail once again for twelve months in August 2022 for sexually assaulting a ten-year-old girl.[22]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The building involved is four stories high, with two units on each floor. The first to second floors are shops and the third to fourth floors are residential buildings. The right unit in the picture is Block A and the left unit is Penthouse B. The murder occurred on the third floor Block B. The building was demolished in 2012 and rebuilt into Soravit on Granville in 2016.
  2. ^ A fourth participant, 14-year old Ah Fong (阿芳, real name Lau Ming-fong) testified against the other three perpetrators in exchange for immunity.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Serena, Katie (30 April 2018). "The Story Of Hong Kong's Notorious "Hello Kitty Murder"". All That's Interesting. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  2. ^ Eliza (29 September 2021). "Hello Kitty Murders".
  3. ^ crimetheoriespodcast_grsdx5 (26 July 2020). "Hello Kitty Murder – Crime Theories Podcast". Retrieved 18 August 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ a b c d Wan, Fletcher; Singh, Asha (29 May 1999). "Police raids Hello Kitty apartment". South China Morning Post. p. 4.
  5. ^ a b Maio, Wincy; Shao, Eric (13 December 2000). "Sentences confirmed by court". South China Morning Post. p. 3.
  6. ^ a b Moreno, Abeni (28 October 2021). "Why is the gruesome Hello Kitty murder one of the scariest true crime tales ever?". Film Daily. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Chan Man". Archived from the original on 1 January 2023. Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  8. ^ Lam, Tiffany (3 December 2011). "Haunted Hong Kong: Read if you dare | CNNGo.com". Archived from the original on 3 December 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  9. ^ "妙齡女郎慘遭殘酷碎尸 三名疑犯陸續落網". archive.ph. 6 December 2012. Archived from the original on 6 December 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  10. ^ a b "Trio sentenced to life in jail for gruesome killing in H.K | Asian Economic News | Find Articles at BNET.com". 20 April 2008. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  11. ^ Chandler, Clay (9 December 2000). "'Hello Kitty' Murder Case Horrifies Hong Kong". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  12. ^ Taylor, Alan; Eng, Peggy (16 June 1999). "Body parts from Hello Kitty murder recovered". South China Morning Post. p. 3.
  13. ^ Jackson, Ryan; Tsui, Lelia (16 February 2000). "Final suspect in gruesome murder found in China". South China Morning Post. p. 4.
  14. ^ Eng, Peggy (26 July 1999). "Interpol adds new suspects". South China Morning Post. p. 4.
  15. ^ a b de Luna, Regina; Holliday, Derek (21 October 2000). "Court filled with bad stench". South China Morning Post. p. 3.
  16. ^ a b Holliday, Derek (8 December 2000). "Chaos in the courtroom". South China Morning Post. p. 4.
  17. ^ a b "Life for 'Hello Kitty' Killers". ABC News. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  18. ^ a b Kung, Robert (29 October 2000). "80s TVB reporters attend gruesome trial". South China Morning Post. p. 3.
  19. ^ "The Mind-Boggling Brutality Of The Hello Kitty Murder". Ranker. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  20. ^ "Human Pork Chop (2001) and the Hello Kitty Murder". Cinematic Shocks. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Hello Kitty killer's sentence cut to 18 years". 10 March 2004.
  22. ^ "Ex-convict of Hello Kitty murder case jailed a year for indecent assault on girl". The Standard (Hong Kong).

External links