Life for 'Hello Kitty' Killers

H O N G  K O N G, Dec. 6, 2000 -- A court sentenced three Hong Kong men to life in prison today for torturing a young mother, cutting up her body and stuffing her skull into a Hello Kitty doll in one of the most brutal killings in this territory.

Chan Man-lok, 34, Leung Shing-cho, 27, and Leung Wai-lun, 21, were found guilty of manslaughter and unlawful imprisonment by a jury in November after a six-week trial.

They stood expressionless in dark suits as the judge read out the sentence. There will be no review for parole for 20 years.

Remorseless Trio

“Never throughout the years in Hong Kong has a court heard such cruelty, depravity, callousness, brutality, violence and viciousness, perpetrated by a human being, or human beings, on another human being,” said Justice Peter Nguyen.

“Even an animal would not have been maltreated in the same way as that received by the deceased.”

Psychiatric reports described the three, members of a secret triad gang society, as “remorseless.”

The jury accepted that the men did not kill 23-year-old Fan Man-yee with intent, which would have meant a mandatory life sentence, but it determined she died as a result of their abuse.

The exact cause and date of Fan’s death is not known as only her skull, one tooth and her internal organs, which were found in a refrigerator in the flat where she was killed, were recovered.

Shocking Crime

The gruesome crime shocked Hong Kong. The macabre involvement of the mouthless Hello Kitty — a cartoon character well adored in Hong Kong — kept the public and the local press riveted.

Nguyen described the trio as having “psychopathic tendencies” and as “likely to remain a danger to others” as he meted out the maximum penalty for manslaughter.

The men kidnapped Fan in March last year and tortured her for a month in a flat in Tsim Sha Tsui because of a disputed “debt” of HK$20,000 (US$2,560).

The crime came to light when the 14-year-old girlfriend of one of the men informed on them after she suffered nightmares from witnessing, and partaking, in some of the torture sessions.

In return for immunity, the teenager, identified only as “Ah Fong,” described how the men amused themselves as they terrorized and inflicted sadistic acts on Fan almost daily.

Daily Torture Sessions

High on drugs, they laughed as they burnt her by dripping melting plastic on her feet, beat her with iron bars, poured chili oil in her wounds, urinated into her mouth, and at times, strung her up by her hands with electrical wire. On one occasion, the victim was even forced to eat Ah Fong’s excrement.

When they tired of this, they would go off to the next room to play video games as the mother of a one-year-old son drifted in and out of consciousness.

When Fan died in April, they put her in a bathtub and cut her up with a saw. Fearing a stench, they boiled her body parts and threw them out along with the household rubbish.

As they boiled down her head, the court was told of how the four cooked noodles for themselves over the adjoining hob — at times stirring the head and the noodles with the same chopsticks.

‘I Have Never Seen Such a Cruel Case’

“It’s difficult to mention a perversion worse than that,” Nguyen said. “In my mind, the three of you treated the corpse with such callousness and lack of feeling that when she was alive, you [probably] did not treat her like a human being, but like an object.”

Senior inspector Alvin Cheung said Fan’s killing was the most gruesome case he had ever seen. “In my 21 years in the police force, I have never seen such a cruel case. Of someone tortured to such an extent for a month,” Cheung told reporters.

Fan’s husband Ng Chee-yun said he was satisfied with the sentence. “But how can I ever forget,” Ng said.