A 29-year-old woman was arrested on Monday on suspicion of murder, after she allegedly smothered her three daughters.

Speaking to reporters on Monday evening, Superintendent Alan Chung of the Kowloon West regional crime unit said there was no evidence suggesting the woman, an Indian national, suffered from any mental illness: “Findings from a preliminary investigation did not suggest that the three children had a bad relationship with their mother.”

Superintendent Alan Chung
Superintendent Alan Chung. Photo: Police, via Facebook screenshot.
Distressing content.

After receiving a report at 11am, officers found three girls – aged five, four and two – unconscious on a bed, locked behind a door in a subdivided flat at 115 Kweilin Street in Sham Shui Po. Paramedics administered emergency treatment and the children were rushed to hospital, but they were later pronounced dead.

Chung said he understood the children were killed in the morning, one or two hours before officers received the initial report: “We will not rule out the possibility that the mother earlier today smothered her three daughters to death with her own hands.”

He said the suspect called her mother and confessed to killing the children. The woman’s brother then filed a police report.

He added that bloodstained pillows were seized from the scene as evidence, and that the children were found with blood on their noses and mouths. 

sham shui po murder 115 Kweilin St
115 Kweilin St. File photo: Googlemaps.

Police had located the father of the three children, who lived separately – Chung said – but they did not find any evidence suggesting he had been arguing with the mother, adding they had not been in touch for “quite a while.”

Officers will investigate whether emotional disputes between the father and the mother were involved.

‘Very serious case of domestic violence’

Chung also said the Social Welfare Department had been in contact with the family, but its file was closed late last year: “This is a very serious case of domestic violence, involving three young innocent girls. The police force attaches great importance to all domestic violence, especially those involving human lives and serious injuries.”

The mother, currently unemployed, relied on Comprehensive Social Security Assistance to support the family, and had been living in the Kweilin Street apartment for about a year, police said. The two elder daughters were in kindergarten, and the youngest, at two years old, was not yet in school.

Eric Chan Kwok-ki
Chief Secretary Eric Chan. File Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Separately, at a press conference, Chief Secretary Eric Chan said he was saddened by the incident and called on people to look out for their friends and family. “For grown adults, no matter how unhappy we are, whatever emotional issues we have … we cannot take those feelings out on little kids,” Chan said.

Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Alice Mak – also at the press briefing – said authorities would hold an emotional support seminar at the Sham Shui Po Kaifong Welfare Association with the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Social Sciences.

When asked whether the government’s support for ethnic minorities was sufficient, Mak said the government has eight support service centres for minorities, and that “some public service forms are available in different languages.”

Alice Mak
Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Alice Mak. File Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

“The Social Welfare Department will approach the relatives concerned as soon as possible and render appropriate assistance according to their welfare needs,” the department said in a statement on Monday.

Together with a local NGO, the department will set up a mobile service counter outside Exit C2 of Sham Shui Po MTR station at 4pm on Tuesday, where social workers will provide assistance and service information.

💡If you are suffering from sexual or domestic violence, regardless of your age or gender, contact the police, Harmony House (click for details) and/or the Social Welfare Department on 28948896. Dial 999 in emergencies.
💡If you are in need of support, please call: The Samaritans 2896 0000 (24-hour, multilingual), Suicide Prevention Centre 2382 0000 or the Social Welfare Department 2343 2255. The Hong Kong Society of Counselling and Psychology provides a WhatsApp hotline in English and Chinese: 6218 1084. See also: HKFP’s comprehensive guide to mental health services in Hong Kong.

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James is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press with an interest in culture and social issues. He has a bachelor’s degree in English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, with a minor in Journalism. He was previously a reporter at The Standard.