Boring Hong Kong newspapers lead today with the official confirmation of China’s new leadership, including the appointment of Li Keqiang as the new Premier – an event that was pretty much cast in stone years ago. Alongside the reports are lengthy discussions and analyses, all skirting around the fact that nobody has a clue about these people or what they think.
The more entertaining newspapers, on the other hand, cover gruesome murders. On average, Hong Kong has barely a couple of homicides a month, so when three gory cases come along on successive days, it’s quite something. Faster than you can say ‘clustering illusion’, the Standard’s tastefully blood-spattered ‘Mary Ma’ editorial demands to know what’s happening.
All three cases, totaling four slayings and a suicide, are domestic, which is not statistically improbable. In the first, discovered on Friday, a 29-year-old male plus a companion are accused of killing both his parents in dismemberment-of-bodies, heads-in-fridge fashion. Debts, a childhood of forced piano lessons and subsequent inability to get a girlfriend may figure in all this, along of course with spending too much time alone on the computer – which as we all know turns anyone into a violent criminal, present company excepted.
In the second, an 18-year-old, again with a companion, is accused in the killing of his father and injuring of his mother. Among potentially juicy ingredients here are creepy comics, freaking out at the crime scene reconstruction, and maybe even the fact that the mother is Filipino (marriages to Filipinos are fairly uncommon among Hong Kong Chinese men, who perhaps find it hard to handle the Southeast Asians’ incessant cheerfulness). Plus, no doubt, excessive computer use.
The third is rather up-market. The male victim was a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, racehorse owner and ‘fruit logistics’ magnate living in a luxury Tsimshatsui duplex that rented for HK$130,000 (now of course subject to a discount for possibly being haunted). The ex-wife stabbed him nearly a hundred times and, after a call to her German current-but-separated husband, threw herself from the 77th floor window. Two little kids survive. All very messy, in every sense.
Of the crimes, the third would probably be destined for the highest profile if it weren’t for the fact that with the perpetrator beyond the reach of the law there will be no trial. A movie maybe? On the surface, all three tragedies look like pretty classic examples of Hong Kong murders (and suicides for that matter), with the key element looking, essentially, like unacknowledged and untreated mental problems that fester and intensify before erupting. They won’t go down in history alongside the Braemar Hill killings (memorable for dashing the colonial-era assumption that Chinese didn’t kill white people) or the Nancy Kissel milkshake-and-carpet dysfunctional-luxury-lifestyle extravaganza. And obviously, none comes remotely close to the ultimate, archetypal Big Lychee homicide: the Hello Kitty murder.
We are all relieved that among those people who have not been unlawfully killed in recent days is BC Lo, vice-chairman of something called the HK Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. His SCMP article on Saturday calling for ‘joined-up thinking’ on Hong Kong’s tourist influx proposes exciting new ways to attract even more visitors, especially once the Zhuhai bridge opens in a few years’ time. Among his profound and visionary proposals for cramming tens of millions of additional tourists into the city…
…the government can consider using Lantau as a holding area. As long as we develop the area properly, our guests will be happy to shop, wine and dine there before returning home or going into the city centre.