22 January 2019
Chan's bed (inset) was among items police took from the flat for further investigation. Photos: RTHK
Chan's bed (inset) was among items police took from the flat for further investigation. Photos: RTHK

Maid dies in bid to rescue elderly employer from house fire

The bodies of an elderly woman and her Indonesian domestic helper were found after a house caught fire in Yuen Long, Apple Daily reported Sunday.

After an initial investigation, police believe that the maid, identified as Ayumi, 35, died while trying to protect her 96-year-old employer, surnamed Chan, from the blaze.

Chan’s daughter said her family hired Ayumi six years ago to look after the elderly woman.

After Chan suffered from a stroke two years ago, she and Ayumi lived in a ground-floor apartment in the house in Tse Uk Tsuen in Pat Heung.

Chan’s daughter said she went to visit them at about 9:42 a.m. Saturday but found the door locked from the inside. There was no response to her knocking.

She said she saw through the window her mother lying unconscious on the bed.

The smell of heavy smoke came from the house.

She called firefighters and police, who broke into the flat and found the two bodies.

Burns were seen on Chan’s lower body and on the right hand and left foot of the body of the maid, which was in a sitting position on a spring bed by the door.

A preliminary forensic report said the two women had been dead for a day.

Senior Inspector Kwan Wang-shan from the crime investigation unit said multiple origins of the fire were noticed in the flat.

However, after an inspection, staff from the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department did not think a short circuit was the cause of the fire but believed the source was something on Chan’s bed.

Since no note was found at the scene, police ruled out the possibility of suicide.

Murder during a robbery was also deemed unlikely, as there was no sign of looting.

Facebook posts by Ayumi on Thursday showed nothing strange or unusual.

Police will continue to investigate the incident.

Expressing deep sorrow, Labour Party lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said the government should provide more elderly homes staffed with professional caretakers.

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