A man from Hong Kong who killed his landlord in Taiwan is now facing 15 years in jail rather than life imprisonment, following a successful appeal.

Mak Ka-ki, 24, was a student at Chinese Culture University in Taiwan, but was later expelled. He entered into an argument with his elderly landlord over rent arrears in December 2014 and killed him with a knife and some dumbbells. He then wrapped the corpse in a blanket and left it in the hallway, before calling the police and pretending to have discovered the body.

The victim visiting Mak’s apartment.

According to the charges, Mak was renting an apartment in Shilin from the victim for NT$100,000 (around HK$23,000) a year. However, the rent was increased to NT$10,000 a month, and Mak was falling behind on his payments. The landlord often knocked on Mak’s door or called him repeatedly to ask him for the rent.

Mak Ka-ki.

Mak admitted to the crime at the Shilin District Court last year, saying that he was willing to accept punishment and apologising to the family of the victim, Apple Daily reported. Mak was sentenced to life imprisonment but while awaiting an appeal, both parties reached an agreement, with Mak’s parents paying almost NT$5 million (around HK$1.2m) to the family of the deceased.

The victim’s family agreed not to insist upon Mak’s life sentence and the High Court amended the sentence to 15 years on Thursday. The sentence can still be appealed, Ming Pao reported.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.