A 59-year-old woman appeared in court yesterday for the first day of her murder trial, after she was found last week in a Wan Chai hotel room, collapsed in a semi-conscious state, alongside the dead body of a man with whom she was allegedly having an affair.
Prosecutors believe that the woman, Cheung Yin-king, murdered Chu Wai-kwun, 62, at the Charterhouse on Wan Chai Road between Wednesday, Dec. 19 and Thursday, Dec. 20.
According to police reports, hotel staff found both Cheung and Chu collapsed in their room on Thursday morning around 10:50am, and contacted the authorities.
Chu was declared dead at the scene, while Cheung, who appeared to be semi-conscious at the time, was sent to Ruttonjee Hospital.
The case had originally been treated as a double suicide, but on Christmas Eve, authorities announced that it had instead shifted into a murder case, with police suspecting that Chu had unknowingly ingested drinks that Cheung had spiked with sleeping drugs, while Cheung herself attempted to commit suicide by taking the pills directly.
Ming Pao reports that a search of the room yielded a number of items to support this theory, including alcohol, sleeping pills, bleach, an unopened beef knife, and two suicide notes written by Cheung.
Further investigation by police found that Cheung had purchased all of these items in the days before Chu died, and that she had expressed suicidal thoughts to friends prior to the incident.
Chu, according to Apple Daily, was part of the family that owns Yiu Fung, a popular specialty foods store selling Chinese snacks, pickles, and preserved fruits with several branches across Hong Kong. The family says that he had not expressed any suicidal thoughts before his death.
Cheung and Chu were primary school classmates, and started having an affair three years ago after reconnecting at a school reunion.
Appearing at Eastern Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Cheung only spoke up to confirm that she understood the murder charge, Apple Daily reports.
Her lawyer did not apply for bail, and the case has been adjourned until March 20, pending further investigation by police.