Prosecutors have suggested that a University of Hong Kong professor on trial for allegedly killing his wife two years ago murdered her over a dispute about money, saying he calmly strangled her as if he was “doing one of his engineering experiments.”
Cheung Kie-chung, 56, has pleaded not guilty to murder but admits manslaughter, after Chan Wai-man died in their bedroom on August 17, 2018.
Cheung, a former associate professor of mechanical engineering, had previously told the High Court that the killing was triggered by a dispute over orange juice and their daughter leaving the house that night. He also claimed he had been repeatedly insulted by Chan during an argument.
But the prosecution dismissed these claims, saying Cheung launched an attack because he was angry with her for depositing a HK$4 million cheque he gave her into her own account, without seeking his agreement.
Cheung earlier testified that his wife had asked him to write her three cheques totalling HK$16.7 million as proof that he owed her money, but he didn’t actually have the funds to honour the cheques.
Prosecutors alleged that Cheung was anxious that his wife would cash the other two cheques as well.
They said he was fully under control of himself and had used pliers to twist electrical wires around Chan’s neck to make as tight a knot as possible to kill her – claims the former HKU scholar vehemently denied.
“I lost control then… I did make the knot, but I can’t recall why I made it, let alone twisting the knot for the purpose of making it tighter,” Cheung said, emotionally.
He also cried out loud when prosecutors asked if he had become the sole owner of the five properties belonging to him and his wife.
“It doesn’t matter who owns the flats now. She is dead now,” he said.
Meanwhile, the son of the couple told the court that his father experienced bigger mood swings and became less tolerant in the two years leading up to the killing.
Scott Cheung said it became easier for his father to get angry or irritated, and arguments between his parents also got more intense.
He also described his mother as a straight-forward, outspoken and strong-willed person, who would try all means possible to make family members do what she wanted.
He also said his mother would criticise his father for not earning much, saying the family “would have become beggars” if not for her investments.
The trial continues.