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Hong Kong police hunt for evidence in case of slain and dismembered model

Police van arriving at Hong Kong courthouse
A police van believed to be carrying relatives of slain model Abby Choi arrives at a Hong Kong courthouse Monday.
(TVB Hong Kong)
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Hong Kong police began searching a landfill Tuesday for evidence related to the grisly killing of model Abby Choi, whose dismembered body parts were found in a refrigerator and pots.

Choi’s former husband, Alex Kwong; his father, Kwong Kau; and his brother, Anthony Kwong, were charged with murder after police found her remains in a house rented by Kwong Kau in a suburban part of Hong Kong near the border with mainland China. Alex Kwong’s mother, Jenny Li, faces one count of perverting the course of justice. All four have been detained without bail.

They have not yet entered their pleas, and it does not appear that their lawyers have commented on the case to the media. The hearing was adjourned until May.

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On Tuesday morning, more than 100 officers wearing protective gear went to North East New Territories Landfill in Ta Kwu Ling, about a 15-minute drive from mainland China, to search for more body parts with excavators and shovels. Police had said earlier they were still looking for Choi’s hands and torso.

“The suspects threw away several bags of important evidence in the morning of Feb. 22. They may be some human body parts, or they could be the clothes and the phone of the victim, or even the weapons,” Hong Kong Police Supt. Alan Chung told reporters.

Chung said they had not found anything substantive at the landfill yet other than bones, which police could not ascertain were human or animal.

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Choi’s family, dressed in black, gathered near the house where her remains were found to pay respects. They earlier visited a mortuary to identify her.

Alex Kwong appeared in another court Tuesday for a previous theft case in which he had jumped bail.

Another woman who had been arrested on suspicion of assisting other suspects in the case was released on bail pending further investigation, police said. She was believed to have been having an affair with Kwong Kau, the police said earlier.

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Choi, who had more than 100,000 followers on Instagram, disappeared Feb. 21, according to a report filed with the Hong Kong Police. Her last post was on Feb. 19 and featured a photo shoot she had done with fashion magazine L’Officiel Monaco.

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Choi had financial disputes involving millions of dollars with her ex-husband and his family, police said, adding that “some people” were unhappy with how Choi handled her finances.

The gruesome killing has transfixed many in Hong Kong and across the border in mainland China, since the city has a very low level of violent crime.

Choi’s friend Bernard Cheng said earlier that he initially thought she had been kidnapped.

“I haven’t imagined a person who’s so good, so full of love, so innocent, a person who doesn’t do anything bad, will be killed like this,” he said. “My heart is still heavy. I can’t sleep well.”

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Cheng said Choi had four children, between 3 and 10 years old. Alex Kwong, 28, was the father of the older two, who are now being taken care of by Choi’s mother. Choi had remarried, to Chris Tam, the father of the younger children, who are staying with his family.

Cheng said Choi had good relationships with her family, including her in-laws, and would travel with the families of her current and former husbands together.

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While violent crime is rare in Hong Kong, the case recalls a handful of other shocking killings. In 2013, a man killed his parents, whose heads were later found in refrigerators. In an infamous 1999 case, a woman was kidnapped and tortured by three members of an organized crime group before her death. Her skull was later found stuffed in a Hello Kitty doll.

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