Hong Kong university professor arrested for alleged murder of wife after body found in suitcase in his office

Associate Professor Cheung Kie Chung, 53, was arrested after police found the decomposing body of his 52-year-old wife at his office. PHOTO: CROUCHER FOUNDATION

HONG KONG - A university professor has been arrested over the alleged murder of his wife, after her body was found in a suitcase in his office, Hong Kong media reported on Wednesday (Aug 29).

According to media reports, Associate Professor Cheung Kie Chung, 53, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong was arrested on Tuesday after police found the decomposing body of his 52-year-old wife at his office.

The body was inside a suitcase which was placed inside a wooden box, Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported.

According to South China Morning Post (SCMP), the victim was found in her underwear, with an electric wire tied around her neck, suggesting she could have been strangled.

While police said the time and cause of her death had yet to be determined, sources told SCMP that an initial examination showed the woman had been dead for days, and there were no other obvious wounds on her body.

Prof Cheung had reported his wife missing on Aug 20. Police were told that she had left their home at one of the residential halls on the campus after a dispute in the early hours of Aug 17.

Prof Cheung, who is the warden of the hall, lives there with his family, including his son and daughter.

Police said a family dispute over toilet hygiene initially took place between Prof Cheung's wife and his daughter on the evening of Aug 16. The daughter then left home. The next day, Prof Cheung's wife blamed him for not supporting her during the dispute, according to police. The wife then went missing and a missing persons report was filed, HKFP reported.

Police grew suspicious after CCTV footage showed Prof Cheung moving a wooden box out of the building, and there was no footage of his wife leaving the premises.

After days of investigation, officers raided Prof Cheung's office on Tuesday afternoon and found the wooden box, which contained the suitcase with the body. Prof Cheung, who was in the office during the raid, was then arrested.

"There was blood seeping out of the suitcase, and it stank," said Superintendent Law Kwok Hoi of the Hong Kong Island crime squad.

Prof Cheung claimed his wife had left University of Hong Kong's Wei Lun Hall, where they lived, after an argument on Aug 17. PHOTO: WWW.CEDARS.HKU.HK

Investigators suspect Prof Cheung's wife was killed at their home, SCMP said.

In an e-mail sent to hall residents on Monday, Prof Cheung said: "You may have noticed the presence of police officers in (the hall) and the surrounding areas in the past few days.

"They are here to investigate a missing person case involving my family. There is nothing to worry about among the students. I apologise for the anxiety that this has caused."

Former university student Roger Wong Hoi Fung, who met Prof Cheung last Friday, said: "He was 100 per cent normal. He was sharp as usual, like he could pinpoint a misspelled word from a document."

Mr Wong recalled he had briefly met Cheung's wife some years ago, describing the couple as "completely normal", SCMP reported.

"They were no different from any middle-aged couple," said Mr Wong, who described Prof Cheung as a "well-respected, principled man who would fight for justice".

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