‘A tragic case’: Judge frees elderly man who killed disabled wife due to fear no one would care for her if he died

An elderly man who killed his disabled wife to end her suffering will be released from prison after nearly two years in custody.

Wong Kok-man, 81, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his 76-year-old wife Lem Mae-kim, with his self-professed motive being that he was worried that no one would look after her if he died.

According to Apple Daily, Wong married his wife when he was about 40-years-old, and seven years later she gave birth to their son. But tragedy struck in 2007 when their son committed suicide at the age of 24. It was around this time that time that Lem’s health began to decline.

The newspaper reports that she suffered from high blood pressure, arthritis, and a thyroid disorder. She also had a stroke in 2014, was unable to walk and had lost her sense of taste and sight.

Wong was Lem’s sole care provider, and the elderly couple lived at the Yiu Tung Estate in Shau Kei Wan.

Then in 2017, Wong felt his own health deteriorating and got worried that, if he died first, there would be no one to care for his wife. In June of that year, he pressed a bamboo back scratcher against Lem’s neck as she slept and choked her.

Wong had initially planned to commit suicide after killing his wife but decided to turn himself in and had been behind bars since.

Prosecutors initially charged Wong with murder but reduced their recommendation to manslaughter, given that the defendant had a major depressive disorder.

At the High Court yesterday,Justice Judianna Barnes expressed sympathy for the defendant and described it as “a tragic case,” HK01 reports.

Barnes sentenced Wong to two-years in jail, but set the start date for the jail term as June 2017, when he was first detained.

Taking into account the 18 months that Wong had already served behind bars and a further reduction for good behavior, the sentencing means that Wong has effectively been released from prison.

Barnes told the court that Wong had been a loving husband and that it was not in the public interest to detain him for a long period of time given that he was not a threat to society given his age.


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