Assailant in the rape and suicide of a 13-year-old girl identified through fingerprint system, sentenced to 7 years after 40 years

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Photo for illustration purpose only.

28th November 2023 – (Hong Kong) A 40-year-old cold case involving the rape and subsequent suicide of a 13-year-old girl in Tuen Mun has finally seen a breakthrough. The Hong Kong Police Force, leveraging advancements in fingerprint technology, successfully identified the perpetrator, leading to his recent confession and subsequent sentencing to 7 years in prison.

The accused, Wong Chun-Chuen, a 60-year-old chef at the time of his arrest, admitted to the heinous crime that took place on 20th January, 1983, in a unit at the now-demolished San Fat Estate in Tuen Mun. Additionally, he faced an additional charge of robbery for stealing HK$100 from the victim. However, after denying the robbery charge, the prosecution withdrew it, which the court approved, focusing solely on the rape charge.

Wong Chun-Chuen’s confession brought closure to a case that haunted the victim’s family for four decades. The prosecution revealed that the accused had a criminal record consisting of six convictions, including nine charges. The most recent conviction, in the year 2000 for attempted robbery and assault, resulted in imprisonment.

During the court proceedings, it was disclosed that the victim, identified as “X,” had suffered severe trauma as a result of the rape, which ultimately led to her tragic suicide. The defence acknowledged the profound impact of the incident on X but argued that the accused had planned a robbery and did not intentionally commit the act of rape. The defence emphasized that the case dated back many years and that Wong Chun-Chuen had turned a new leaf since his last conviction in 2002.

In passing the sentence, the judge referred to the victim’s older sister’s testimony, revealing that X had remained single for many years and faced numerous hospitalizations, which hindered her ability to work. While the judge acknowledged that the exact reasons behind X’s suicide were unclear, it was evident that the accused had inflicted severe harm upon her. Thus, the judge initially considered a sentence of 10 years but reduced it to 7 years and 9 months due to Wong Chun-Chuen’s guilty plea and demonstrated remorse. Furthermore, taking into account the significant passage of time since the incident and the accused’s subsequent efforts at rehabilitation, the judge further reduced the sentence by 9 months, ultimately sentencing Wong Chun-Chuen to 7 years in prison.

The harrowing details of the crime unfolded as it was revealed that X’s sister and brother-in-law resided in the same unit where the incident occurred. They had entrusted X with a spare key, allowing her to rest there during her free time. On the fateful day, around 11am, Wong Chun-Chuen forcibly entered the unit, claiming to possess a knife, and instructed X to remain silent. He proceeded to bind her hands and feet and gagged her with a sock.

Removing X’s clothing, Wong Chun-Chuen subjected her to unthinkable acts while inquiring about her virginity. X reluctantly confirmed her virginity and pleaded with the assailant to spare her. Ignoring her pleas, Wong Chun-Chuen proceeded to rape her. After leaving the premises, X promptly reported the assault to the authorities. Although the police discovered a palm print at the crime scene, they were unable to ascertain the suspect’s identity at the time.

X’s subsequent mental distress following the incident led to multiple visits to Castle Peak Hospital. Tragically, at the age of 29, on the same day she was discharged from the hospital in April 1999, she took her own life by jumping from a building.

It was only in 2008, when the police introduced a computerised fingerprint matching system, that they were able to definitively link Wong Chun-Chuen to the crime. A warrant was issued for his arrest, culminating in his apprehension on 15th August, 2021, during a police checkpoint in Tsuen Wan. During cautionary statements, Wong Chun-Chuen claimed to have been working as an aluminium window repairman during the time of the incident. He admitted to pushing a female student into a unit but claimed to have no recollection of whether he had committed rape, suggesting the possibility of irrational behaviour.