16th March 2023 – (Hong Kong) On 14th March, a murder case shook the residents of Kwai Fong Terrace in Kwai Tsing District. 63-year-old Leung was returning home when she allegedly caught a burglar in the act. The thief then attacked her with a crowbar, causing severe head injuries and leading to her death. The perpetrator was reportedly brutal and caused multiple fractures and extensive bleeding. The police believe that the suspect was an acquaintance of the victim and have identified him as a resident of the same floor.
The authorities have targeted a male tenant named Deran, who is around 25 years old with tattoos on his arms as a suspect in the murder case. Deran left Hong Kong for Japan within hours after the crime was committed, and the police are trying to bring him back for questioning. Reports suggest that Deran is a compulsive gambler with a significant amount of debt. He also allegedly stole money from his family, who had set aside the funds for his father’s cancer treatment. This led to Deran’s expulsion from his family’s house in June 2019.
Following this, Deran claimed to be part of the anti-government protest movement that arose in Hong Kong in 2019. He became friends with the daughter of Leung’s neighbour and was allowed to move into her unit Kwai Fong Terrace. However, it was later confirmed that their relationship was purely platonic, and Deran had another girlfriend. He also lied to his acquaintances about his occupation and education, claiming to be a wealthy professional with multiple degrees.
Deran’s past reveals that he lived with his family and was a freshman at The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong and he was involved in the pro-democracy protest in 2019. However, he dropped out of university and became addicted to gambling. Despite his father’s illness and the family’s financial strain, Deran continued to gamble and accumulate debt. He also stole money meant to treat his father’s illness from his family and was even forced to repay over HK$200,000 to his creditors.
In June 2019, Deran’s mother kicked him out of their apartment, and he has been living in Kwai Fong Estate at his female friend’s home since then. However, his debt problems only worsened, and he may have committed the murder to pay off his creditors.
Deran, reportedly deceived his way into the victim’s neighbourhood by claiming to be a protester in need of shelter during the anti-extradition law protests in 2019.
Deran had claimed to be a City University graduate and nursing student who was also working part-time, according to the mother and daughter who owned the flat where he stayed. The daughter, who was studying abroad in the U.K. at the time, had given Deran permission to stay in the flat temporarily as there was a vacant room.
However, it has been revealed that Deran did not pay any rent since he moved into the flat in April 2020, despite claiming to have contributed towards the rent. He also reportedly had a girlfriend whom he met at an illegal Texas Hold’em poker establishment, where he falsely claimed to be an accountant earning a monthly salary of HK$40,000. Deran had also lied to his girlfriend that the flat in Kwai Fong Terrace was co-owned by his family, and that the woman he lived with was his aunt.
According to recent reports, the safe in the victim’s residence, which only she knew the contents of, held various jewellery pieces, precious metals, and company documents, as per her boyfriend’s disclosure. A preliminary on-site inventory suggests that the victim’s diamonds and gold jewellery, with a total value of over HK$100,000, were missing. The victim co-owned the unit with her boyfriend and used it as an office for her transport business. The initial suspicion is that an opportunistic thief entered the premises with a spare key and committed the crime, believing the victim to be wealthy.
The discovery of the break-in and theft led to a shocking murder case, with many neighbours now feeling unnerved by the proximity of such heinous activity. After the identity of the suspect, Deran, was revealed, residents have become increasingly vigilant, with a particular focus on securing their homes. The chairman of the Kwai Fong Terrace corporation, Lau Kai-on, confirmed that the victim had a cordial relationship with her neighbour, who lives on the same floor, and may have entrusted a spare key to them in good faith. The neighbour has a daughter who has been working and studying in the U.K. for several years, and a young man in his mid-twenties i.e. the suspect had been residing in the unit for the past three to four years, who the neighbour had referred to as their nephew.
Described as a young, slim, and handsome individual with tattoos on his hands, the suspect had been a familiar face in the building where the crime occurred. Law enforcement officials have been conducting door-to-door interviews with residents in the building, but the suspect remains elusive. Many residents have expressed their suspicions that the suspect is responsible for the crime, and their confidence in law enforcement’s ability to solve the case has been shaken.
Meanwhile, the police have confirmed that the suspect is still at large and may be hiding in Japan. The police are now coordinating with Interpol to apprehend him.
Although Hong Kong has extradition agreements with around ten countries, Japan is not among them. However, a criminal justice assistance agreement was signed between Japan and Hong Kong in 2008. Local legal expert suggests that Hong Kong law enforcement officials could make a formal request to Japan to assist in the investigation by providing evidence that links the suspect to the crime. If the suspect is located and apprehended, he could then be extradited to Hong Kong for trial. While this may be a viable option, in the event that Japanese authorities refuse to cooperate, diplomatic channels may have to be explored to ensure that justice is served.