A man caught for allegedly raping and robbing a Hong Kong student has killed himself in a police cell yesterday (May 11).
A police source told South China Morning Post (SCMP) that the suspect managed to obtain a computer cable within Sau Mau Ping police station. He was moved to another cell after he meddled with the fire duct inside his cell, setting off a fire alarm and sprinklers in the wee hours of the morning.
It was only at about 9am that officers found him dead in the new cell, hanging from the cable he had stolen.
Ironically, it was also a cable - for a mobile phone, that the rape suspect had used to tie up his victim with before allegedly raping her on Sunday morning (May 7).
In the incident that triggered a police manhunt, the 22-year-old woman was held hostage for a few hours in a hidden flowerbed area under a bridge in Kowloon Bay after she confronted him for snatching her iPhone earlier while she was walking home.
Although she shouted for help as she gave chase, nobody responded as the area was deserted since it was already past midnight.
The suspect forced her to reveal her bank passwords before fleeing with her phone, two bank cards and an identity card, reported Apple Daily. She managed to free herself a few hours later.
The police managed to zero in on a suspect after getting a description from the victim even though he was wearing dark glasses throughout that fateful night.
Surnamed Lam, the 48-year-old was arrested at nearby Po Tat Estate on Wednesday, after officers monitored him for a whole day, reported SCMP.
Reportedly unemployed, Lam had at least 20 prior convictions for non-sexual crimes such as car theft and drugs.
His death might have ended a criminal case, but it has opened another case for the coroner and also a can of worms for the authorities.
Questions have been raised on security loopholes or negligence, that could have made it easy for the rape suspect to kill himself
Police commissioner Stephen Lo swiftly called for a probe to determine if officers had followed procedures, such as carrying out a body search and inspecting the detention cell, SCMP reported.
The news site said there have been several cases of suspects committing or attempting suicide in police cells in recent years.