Police arrested a University of Hong Kong (HKU) professor after the body of his 53-year-old wife was found in a suitcase in his office, more than a week after he reported her missing.
Dr. Cheung Kie-chung, also 53, was taken away from his office by police on Tuesday evening and detained overnight for further investigation, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Cheung is an associate professor at HKU’s department of mechanical engineering and the assistant dean of the university’s Faculty of Engineering.
He lives in Wei Lun Hall, one of the residential halls directly administered by the university, with his family, including a daughter and a son. He is the dormitory’s warden.
On Aug. 20, Cheung filed a police report, saying his wife had not returned home after she had an argument with him and left three days earlier.
Superintendent Law Kwok-hoi of the Hong Kong Island Regional Crime Headquarters said the argument allegedly resulted from a quarrel between Cheung’s wife and daughter over toilet hygiene on Aug. 16.
The wife blamed him the next day for not supporting her during her quarrel with the daughter. She then left and had not returned since, according to Cheung’s account.
Following up on the missing person case, police went through video footage from security cameras installed at Wei Lun Hall. They did not see the wife leaving the building on that day, prompting them to suspect that the professor could be lying.
The CCTV footage also showed Cheung moving a big wooden box out of the building.
Suspecting foul play, police raided Cheung’s office at Haking Wong Building on HKU’s Pokfulam Road campus on Tuesday afternoon and found the wooden box.
The box contained a suitcase with blood seeping out of it. Inside the suitcase was a woman’s decomposing body, believed to be that of Cheung’s wife. She was only in her underwear.
Police said an electric wire was found tied around the dead woman’s neck, suggesting that she might have been strangled before she was stuffed into the suitcase.
A post-mortem examination was to be conducted to ascertain the actual cause of death.
On Monday Cheung reportedly sent an email to staff and residents in the hall, telling them not to be worried about the presence of police officers in the past few days since they were only investigating a missing person case involving his family. He apologized for the anxiety caused.
Dr. Roger Wong Hoi-fung, a former biology research assistant professor at the Hong Kong Baptist University, told media after Cheung’s arrest that they had a meal together on Friday and Cheung did not mention any issue regarding his wife or family at that time.
Wong said Cheung looked completely normal during the meal, and he could not believe that Cheung, a good friend of his, was involved in a murder case.
In response to media inquiries, an HKU spokesperson said the case is being handled by the law enforcement agencies and the university is cooperating in the investigation.
Cheung, a member of the HKU governing council, has worked at the university for 16 years. He is also honorary treasurer of the HKU student union.
– Contact us at [email protected]