Hong Kong in gun tragedy

Hongkongers are shocked by Kowloon Bay shooting

Hong Kong in gun tragedy

When Chinese neighbours have a dispute it can be deadly. Last month an argument between two neighbours over feng shui led to a knife attack in Lushan, Henan province, leading to the death of eight people, including three children. Police said the killings occurred because the family living opposite to the assailant fixed a mirror on a gate, a move the knife-wielder thought was ominous for him, says China News Service.

Last week, a heated argument between two neighbours also had a tragic ending in Hong Kong. Late last month residents in a public housing estate in Kowloon Bay complained that they heard loud shouting on the 21st floor of the complex. These were followed by three gunshots. Police quickly arrived on the scene and found Liu Kai-chung, 43, in the lift lobby near his home, shot twice in the chest and once in the back. Three empty 7.62mm cartridges were found beside the dead man, local media reported.

After watching footage from the security cameras, police identified Li Tak-yan, 51, who lived 11 floors below Liu, as the killer. The shooting sparked a 12-hour siege, which ended when the Special Duties Unit used stun grenades and tear gas to storm the attacker’s flat. (Li fired twice at the officers as they entered his flat, while the police returned fire.) They later found him fatally wounded with a gun by his side. Two pistols were also discovered inside his flat.

So what happened? Ming Pao Daily says the motive for the crime remains a mystery. An expert on violent crime told the newspaper that it was likely that the attacker was seeking revenge. Police say an investigation is ongoing.

But as it turns out, Li has had a history of attacking his neighbours. In 2011, he served jail time for wounding another neighbour with a chopper and hammer. A Hunan native, Li moved to Hong Kong in 1980 but he became badly affected by the collapse of his trading business after 1997, and his marriage ended in 2010.

The victim Liu, too, was also a migrant, in his case from Beijing, says The Sun, a Hong Kong newspaper.

Still, the biggest question remains how the man obtained a firearm in Hong Kong where there are strict gun control measures and private gun ownership is extremely unusual. Li Yongquan, the president of the Hong Kong Shooters Confederation, told the Apple Daily that the make of the pistol – known colloquially as a Black Star – used to be the choice of weapon for mainland police. When they abandoned the model for more sophisticated firearms, the obsolete guns started flooding the black market and became a popular choice of weapon for the triads in the eighties.

“In the nineties people crossed the border from the mainland and some of them brought Black Star guns with the intent to commit crimes,” Superintendent Lam Sai-kit, of the Hong Kong Island regional crime unit, told the South China Morning Post back in 2006.

The Hong Kong Police, meanwhile, says it suspects that the murder weapon also came from China and is now working with Guangdong authorities to trace the guns.

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