The vice-chancellor and president of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) said on Wednesday that he was deeply shocked and saddened over a suspected campus murder incident that saw a university professor get arrested.
“I am sure that you are as saddened and shocked as I am. While the details are uncertain, what is clear is that a tragic event has occurred, and many students, staff and alumni will be affected. Our thoughts are with the affected ones at this very difficult time,” Prof. Zhang Xiang wrote in an email to HKU staff and students.
He sent the message a day after the police took into custody Dr. Cheung Kie-chung, a 53-year-old professor, after they found the body of Chueng’s wife hidden in his office on the HKU’s Pokfulam Road campus.
On Wednesday, the police officially charged Cheung, who is an associate professor at HKU’s department of mechanical engineering and the assistant dean of the university’s Faculty of Engineering, with murdering his wife.
The arrest Tuesday came more than a week after the professor reported his wife missing. A search of his office yielded a suitcase with his wife’s body inside it.
There is suspicion that the professor may have killed his wife in a fit of anger following a fierce quarrel.
Cheung has worked at the HKU for 16 years.
Addressing an inaugural ceremony for freshmen, Vice-Chancellor Zhang said on Wednesday that HKU will offer support to staff and students to help them cope with the news of the terrible campus crime.
Students living in Wei Lun Hall, a HKU residential facility where Cheung has served as warden and also had his quarters there, will get counseling services, Zhang said.
Meanwhile, someone will be tasked to serve as warden for the hall on a temporary basis.
Earlier, following up on the missing-person case filed by Cheung, police went through video footage from security cameras installed at Wei Lun Hall. They did not see the wife leave the building on the day of her alleged disappearance, prompting them to suspect that the professor could be lying.
During a search in Cheung’s office, police officers found a big wooden box with a suitcase inside it. Inside the suitcase, they uncovered a decomposing body of a woman, believed to be that of Cheung’s wife.
Chueng, who is a member of the HKU Council, was taken back to his residence in Wei Lun Hall, in the early hours of Wednesday, as investigators sought help in collecting evidence.
Police suspect the murder took place in the residential quarter.
On Thursday, Cheung was taken to the Eastern Magistrates’ Court.
A prosecutor told the court that the professor needs to be put under special supervision while on remand as he has reported feeling suicidal, according to RTHK.
The court then ordered Cheung to be put on suicide watch while in custody.
As of now, he was not required to enter a plea. The prosecutor has asked for the case to be adjourned to allow more time for a police investigation.
The case has been adjourned until November 22.
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