WARNING, STORY CONTAINS DESCRIPTIONS OF GRAPHIC VIOLENCE

Four people arrested over the murder of Hong Kong socialite Abby Choi, who was found dismembered in a village house after going missing, have been remanded in custody without bail.

Abby Choi murder court police
Police set up metal barricades outside the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on February 27, 2023, when four suspects in the murder case of Hong Kong socialite Abby Choi are brought to court for the first time. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Choi’s ex-husband, Alex Kwong, his father Kwong Kau, mother Jenny Li and brother Anthony Kwong, appeared at Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on Monday morning. Besides the mother, who has been charged with perverting the course of justice, the other three were charged with murder.

Gruesome details of the murder have emerged since Friday, when police discovered the 28-year-old’s remains in a house in Lung Mei Village in Tai Po. Equipment including an electric saw, meat grinder, raincoats and gloves were found in the house, superintendent Alan Chung told reporters during the early hours of Saturday.

“The house was only rented a few weeks ago, and there is not much furniture… there were no beds in the bedroom. It is believed that the house was rented for [the purpose of] the murder,” Chung said.

Kowloon City Law Courts
Kowloon City Law Courts Building. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Choi’s personal belongings, including her credit cards and identity card, were also discovered in the house. She was reported as missing in the early hours of Wednesday.

On Sunday, police said that Choi’s skull was found in a stainless steel pot, which also contained ribs and hair. The contents of the pot, which was discovered inside the house, were transported to a morgue for testing. Green radish and carrots were also found in the mixture, Chung added.

kadooria abby choi
Kadooria, the luxury property in Ho Man Tin that Abby Choi reportedly bought. Photo: Google Maps.

Police said a financial dispute between the victim and her ex-husband’s family was believed to be the motive for the killing. According to local media, the family were unhappy with Choi’s plan to sell a luxury property – where they had been living – at Kadoorie Hill, Ho Man Tin. The property is understood to have been paid for by Choi, but registered under her former father-in-law’s name, local media reported.

Arrestees ‘extremely uncooperative’

Police arrested Choi’s ex-husband’s father, mother and brother in the early hours of Saturday, while the 28-year-old ex-husband was apprehended at a pier in Tung Chung on Saturday afternoon.

It was believed that Kwong was attempting to flee Hong Kong by boat.

Chung said on Sunday night that the arrestees were “up until this point, extremely uncooperative,” making the investigation difficult. They had told lies in an attempt to throw officers off track, he added.

abby choi
Police hold up a meat grinder (left) and cleaver (right) found at the village house in Tai Po. Photo: Hong Kong Police Force, video screenshot.

Police also arrested a 47-year-old woman – a mistress of the ex-husband’s father – in Tsim Sha Tsui on suspicion of assisting the alleged offenders. She was said to have helped hide Choi’s ex-husband before his apparent attempt to flee Hong Kong.

The case has been adjourned to May 8 to allow time for forensic examination and the review of telephone records.

Separately, the ex-husband faces seven charges of theft, the trial for which was meant to begin in November 2015, local media reported. But he could not be contacted ahead of the trial, and police issued an arrest warrant for him in August that year.

The case will be handled at District Court on Tuesday.

If you have been disturbed by the details of this case, the Hong Kong Society of Counselling and Psychology provides a WhatsApp hotline in English and Chinese: 6218 1084.

HKFP has also compiled a guide to mental health services available in Hong Kong

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Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.