Citywide manhunt under way for 'extremely dangerous' suspect wanted in killing of Hong Kong taxi driver

Police officers investigate the killing of a Hong Kong taxi driver on Tuesday (Oct 12).
PHOTO: Handout

A manhunt is underway for the suspected killer of a Hong Kong taxi driver who died in the early morning hours shortly after being slashed in the neck with a sharp object in Sai Wan.

The force on Tuesday (Oct 12) afternoon released a photo of the suspect, believed to be aged between 30 and 35, saying he was considered “extremely dangerous, and could have violent tendencies”.

Residents first called police at 4.54am to report that they had seen a man attack a taxi driver at the junction of Eastern Street and Queen’s Road West, and that the victim had collapsed near his cab and fallen unconscious.

The 48-year-old man was certified dead roughly an hour after he was rushed to Queen Mary Hospital.

A photo of the suspect released by police on Tuesday afternoon. PHOTO: Handout

A source said the suspect went by the name “Matthew Choi”.

A man with the same name appeared in court in November 2019 charged with possessing offensive weapons after two knives were allegedly found at his home.

The defendant in that case, who was 29 at the time and described as being of mixed race, was said to have expressed a desire to imitate mass shootings like those seen in the United States.

The prosecution noted at the time that the defendant had at one point been remanded in a psychiatric facility, but a subsequent report said there was no evidence he was mentally ill, despite him having a “radical personality”.

The Post was unable to immediately verify whether the suspect in Tuesday’s killing and the defendant in the 2019 case were the same person.

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Superintendent Sam Sin Kwok-ming, assistant commander for Western district, said on Tuesday that he believed the attack took place inside the taxi, and that the driver had died of excessive blood loss.

A 7cm-long, 2cm-deep cut was found on the right side of his neck, near the main artery, but not severing it.

The victim’s possessions were found on his person or inside the taxi, suggesting the attack was not a robbery.

An investigation found that the suspect hailed the taxi near the scene of the attack, and fled afterwards to an alley off Eastern Street, where he dumped some bloodstained outerwear, surgical masks and towels in a public toilet.

“On the rooftop of a nearby building, we discovered a bag full of surgical masks with blood stains, as well as a sharp knife with a 16cm blade.

"The whole length of the knife is 25cm. It is a very dangerous weapon. We believe this knife is linked to the case,” Sin said, adding that officers were still trying to determine a motive.

“This includes whether they were involved in a dispute, or if the suspect suffered from mental illness or hyper-aggressive tendencies. The suspect is very violent. We appeal to members of the public to stay in a safe place if they spot the man, then call police when feasible.”

Officers found that before the attack, the man had been to a hotel nearby. The force is looking into whether he was a resident there, or if he was just visiting a guest.

After the attack, the suspect fled along Mui Fong Street, Queen’s Road West and Centre Street.

He was described as being about 1.8 metres tall, with black hair and very fair skin. He was wearing a short-sleeved black T-shirt, a pair of dark-coloured shorts and sports shoes at the time of the attack.

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The force has asked anyone with knowledge of the case to contact police at 6148 0552 or 9709 1695.

Bloodstained sections of Eastern Street and Queen’s Road West were still cordoned off for investigation as of 11am, with a large number of police present and the taxi still parked outside the Ramada Hong Kong Harbour View hotel.

Sin said it was unclear whether the blood belonged to the suspect or the victim.

A police source said a brick, hat and surgical masks with bloodstains were also found nearby, and officers were investigating whether they were tied to the case.

Separately, a 78-year-old man succumbed to his injuries at midnight after allegedly being attacked by his 31-year-old son at their Kwai Chung residence at 4pm on Monday.

The son, who has a history of mental illness, is suspected of slashing his father on the head, chest and limbs with a knife at Yuen Lai Court.

The son also suffered an injury to his arm during the alleged attack and was arrested after being rushed to hospital.

Hong Kong has recorded 10 cases of homicide in the first half of 2021, compared to five cases over the same period last year.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.