HONG KONG (AP) – Hong Kong police began searching a landfill Tuesday for evidence related to the gruesome slaying of model Abby Choi, whose dismembered body was found in a refrigerator and pots.
Alex Kwong’s ex-husband, his father Kwong Kau and his brother Anthony Kwong were charged with murder after police found her remains in a house rented by Kwong Kau in a suburban part of Hong Kong near the border with mainland China. Alex Kwong’s mother, Jenny Li, has one cause to face in the course of justice. The four were held without bail.
They have not yet entered their pleas, and their lawyers do not appear to have commented on the case to the media. The hearing was adjourned until May.
On Tuesday morning, more than 100 officers wearing protective gear went to the Northeast New Territories Landfill in Ta Kwu Ling, about a 15-minute drive from mainland China, to search for the missing body parts with excavators and shovels. Police earlier said they were still looking for his hands and torso.
“The suspects threw away several bags of important evidence on the morning of February 22. They could be part of the person’s body or they could be the victim’s clothes and phone, or even the weapons,” Superintendent Alan Chung told reporters.
Chung said they have not been able to find anything substantial yet, except for bones, which the police could not determine if they were human or animal.
Choi’s family, dressed in black, gathered near the house where her family members were found to be paying respects. They had earlier visited a mortuary to identify her. Some of the mourners were emotional but the family did not seem to answer the reporters’ questions.
Alex Kwong appeared in another court on Tuesday for a previous theft case, where he jumped bail.
Another woman who was arrested for allegedly helping other suspects in the case was released pending further investigation, police said. She is believed to have been in a relationship with the ex-husband’s father, the force said earlier.
Choi, who had more than 100,000 followers on Instagram, disappeared on February 21, according to a report later filed with the Hong Kong Police. Her last post was on February 19, in which she did a photo shoot with the fashion magazine L’Officiel Monaco.
Choi had financial disputes involving tens of thousands of Hong Kong dollars (millions of dollars) with her ex-husband and his family, police said, adding that “some people” were unhappy with Choi’s handling of her finances.
The gruesome killing has spread widely in Hong Kong and across the border in mainland China, as the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city has a very low level of violent crime.
Choi’s friend Bernard Cheng said earlier that he initially thought she had been kidnapped.
“I never imagined someone so good, so full of love, so innocent, someone who doesn’t do anything bad to be killed like this,” he said. “My heart is still heavy. I can’t sleep well.”
Cheng said Choi had four children, aged between 3 and 10. Alex Kwong, 28, was the father of the older two, who are being cared for by Choi’s mother. Choi remarried to Chris Tam, the father of the youngest children, who is staying with his family.
Choi had a good relationship with her family, including her brothers, Cheng said, and would travel with her husband’s and ex-husband’s families together.
Although violent crime is rare in Hong Kong, the case brings to mind a handful of other gruesome killings. In 2013, a man killed his parents and their heads were later found in refrigerators. In another famous case in 1999, a woman was kidnapped and tortured by three members of an organized crime group before her death. Her head was later found to be stuffed in a Hello Kitty doll.