Man who murdered taxi driver was psych patient, once threatened mass shooting

Internet sleuths and local media have identified the suspect as a software developer with an arrest record. Photos: HK01, Hong Kong Police
Internet sleuths and local media have identified the suspect as a software developer with an arrest record. Photos: HK01, Hong Kong Police

The man suspected of murdering a taxi driver in Sai Wan Tuesday morning is a former psychiatric facility patient who once threatened to carry out a mass shooting, according to reports.

News outlet Channel C, founded by former Apple Daily journalists, reported Tuesday night that the mixed-race man—Matthew Choi—came to the attention of authorities in 2019 after they were alerted to comments he made online. In them, he reportedly expressed desire to imitate the kinds of mass shootings that have made headlines in the US.

Police searched the then 29-year-old’s home, where they uncovered two cleavers with the words “my elf weapon” engraved on them, according to Channel C. The same phrase was found on the shotgun of a former US Navy sailor who killed 12 people in a 2013 shooting.

Choi was arrested on a possession of offensive weapons charge, but the case was dropped after his uncle said he suffers from schizophrenia, Channel C reported. He also stayed at the Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre for some time, but was released after authorities “determined” that he does not have a mental illness.

‘Extremely dangerous person’

Choi is believed to be behind the gruesome murder in Sai Wan of a 48-year-old taxi driver in the early hours of Tuesday, when he got on the vehicle as a passenger. The driver was knifed in the neck, and collapsed shortly after he fled the taxi for help.

In an afternoon press conference, a police spokesperson described the suspect as “very violent.” A government press release published in the evening warned that the man is believed to be an “extremely dangerous person” with suspected violent tendencies.

The taxi driver, who lived in Tin Shui Wai with his family, leaves behind his wife and three children. He was the family’s breadwinner, local media reported.

‘Gang-stalking’ conspiracy

In the hours after the murder made headlines, internet sleuths have dug up Choi’s social media profiles and YouTube videos. Online, Choi has alleged that he is part of a community targeted by “gang-stalking,” a conspiracy theory referring to the belief that one is being “electronically harassed” via mind-control weapons.

According to the New York Times, people experiencing psychotic symptoms are susceptible to the conspiracy.

Those who believe they are being targeted are convinced that strangers are following them and intent on destroying their lives.

The suspect. Photo: Facebook/Hong Kong Police

That exact sentiment was echoed by Choi, who described his experience as a “targeted individual” in a video on the That Gang Stalking Show YouTube channel two years ago. He also said that colleagues at work were using a kind of technology called “V2K” to harass him.

Choi has also written about his turmoil online. In a Facebook group for “targeted individuals,” he said in a post last year that he has faced “4.3 years” of torture via “electromagnetic connection” and had his social life severely affected.

On Wednesday, the host of the That Gang Stalking Show, Doug, posted a two-and-a-half-hour live video talking about Choi’s status as a wanted man. Doug said he was first alerted to the case after seeing a flood of comments on Choi’s 2019 video about the murder.

Doug, host of the “That Gang Stalking Show” YouTube channel, talks about the murder in a live video. Photo: YouTube/That Gang Stalking Show

He said Choi’s video received 20,000 views in less than 24 hours. “I know we don’t even get that many views in a month. That’s just crazy,” he added.

After reading out loud the South China Morning Post‘s headline about the case, Doug reasoned that Choi might have been driven “insane with chronic V2K campaigns.” He also theorized that the taxi driver was harassing him, and that Choi “broke” under the “severe duress.”

Police are appealing for tips on the suspect. Anyone with information is urged to contact officers, a government press release states.

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