Hong Kong man strangled ex-girlfriend in anger over her new lover, court hears in ‘wardrobe corpse’ trial

A Hong Kong man strangled his ex-girlfriend, a Dragonair flight stewardess, during a rage-fuelled attack and hid her body in a wardrobe after he learned that she had found a new lover, a court heard on Thursday.

The High Court was told that Oscar Mok Chun-yin was overcome by anger during the fatal encounter in 2013, when what initially appeared to be a chance for him to get back together with Arbe Chan Man-yi, 26, had gone awry.

Just moments after Chan promised him that they would reconcile, Mok learned that she had already found a new boyfriend, the court heard.

“As I knew she had a new boyfriend, I was blinded with anger, so I strangled her,” he told a police officer who subsequently interviewed him.

Senior public prosecutor Jasmine Ching told a seven-member jury in her opening remarks on the first day of the trial: “I must say this is a tragic case as Miss Chan was once the girlfriend of the defendant.”

Mok, 30, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Chan at her Allway Gardens flat in Tsuen Wan on December 4, 2013. But he did not dispute he had killed her, arguing only that he did so without having the intention to do so, making it a case of manslaughter.

The court heard he told at least two friends that he had killed Chan before fleeing to the mainland.

Mok was arrested on February 1, 2017 when he was sent back to Hong Kong by mainland authorities. He made an admission to police then.

Opening her case, Ching said the tragic love story began in 2012, when Chan and the accused first got together. But the relationship turned sour a year later and ended with Chan complaining that Mok had treated her badly.

I must say this is a tragic case as Miss Chan was once the girlfriend of the defendant.
Jasmine Ching, senior public prosecutor

Ching said that in a police interview, Mok said he turned up at Chan’s door on the day “hoping to reconcile the relationship” as the woman was leaving for work. Chan then took the day off, she said.

The prosecutor added that during the subsequent chat, Mok told a police officer, Chan agreed to get back together with him. Soon after, however, Mok found out about the new boyfriend when looking at her mobile phone.

Chan’s “carefree attitude” made him very angry and led him to kill her, he told police officers.

Mok hid the body in the flat, though her family members, who lived with her, did not realise this until four days later, on December 8. Chan’s father had started looking for her after a colleague said she had not showed up at work. The flight stewardess’ body, still in her uniform, was found in the wardrobe in her room.

The prosecutor said that before leaving Hong Kong on December 7, Mok turned up at basketball practice with injuries on his neck, sitting on the bench to observe without playing. He also met a friend from his secondary school and his ex-colleague at a real estate agency and told them he had killed Chan.

He told one of the people he met that he had missed Chan very much after the break-up and had checked her work schedule before waiting outside her home. He told the friend that he had thought of killing Chan on an earlier occasion.

A postmortem report said the victim, who was found still wearing her work scarf, could have been strangled with it, coupled with the squeezing of her neck.

Ching said it was for the jury to decide whether Mok was really angry and had lost control as he claimed, or that “he knew what he was doing and had the intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm to Miss Chan even before he got to her home”.

The case continues before Mr Justice Joseph Yau Chi-lap on Thursday afternoon.

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