British lecturer killed, Chinese lover arrested

Shenzhen woman reportedly turned herself in for murdering him over 'emotional dispute'

HONG KONG • The girlfriend of a British lecturer has been arrested, along with two men, over his murder in southern China, mainland Chinese police said yesterday.

Mr Hilary Bower, 60, who taught English at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, was murdered over an "emotional dispute", according to the mainland Chinese police.

Local media reports said Mr Bower was dismembered after he was killed. They also painted a complex picture of his love life that involved several women. He had been missing for more than three weeks.

He was last seen on March 21 at a border point between Hong Kong and the neighbouring southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, where he is reported to have lived.

The Shenzhen police confirmed yesterday that he was murdered on March 22.

A 38-year-old woman surnamed Xu and two men "murdered her foreigner boyfriend Hilary Bower over an emotional dispute", the Shenzhen public security bureau said on its Twitter-like Sina Weibo account.

It said Mr Bower and Ms Xu lived together for 17 years.

The trio were arrested on April 8, and the case is still under investigation, it added.

Hong Kong media, citing unnamed public security sources, reported that Ms Xu turned herself in to the police in Dongguan city on April 7. She told officers she murdered and then dismembered Mr Bower with the help of two men.

The Dongguan public security bureau could not confirm the details when contacted by Agence France- Presse. Local media said Mr Bower had a number of girlfriends on the mainland.

One of them, named by media as Ms Shi Xiumei, went to a police station in Hong Kong on March 30 and reported Mr Bower missing, the city's police said earlier this week.

He was reported to have been living with Ms Shi and their six-year- old son.

Fears were previously raised that his death could be linked to a million-dollar property deal.

A friend of Mr Bower, Mr Richard Charles, told the South China Morning Post he believed it could be related to a recent property sale, for which Mr Bower was due to receive HK$9 million (S$1.6 million).

Mr Bower's brother Robin arrived in Shenzhen on Wednesday, hoping to meet the Chinese authorities in search of answers, said the Post.

The British consulate has not confirmed that Mr Bower was killed, and said yesterday that it was supporting the family "at this difficult time", without giving more details.

Mr Bower had also taught in China, South Korea, Thailand, Spain and Kuwait, according to his personal homepage on the university website.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2016, with the headline 'British lecturer killed, Chinese lover arrested'. Subscribe