13 people have been arrested in connection with the murder of a former village head in a brazen knife attack at a Hong Kong tombstone factory last month, with a 15-year-old student among the suspects.
Those detained, 12 men and a woman, aged 15 to 61, included a businessman, driver, janitor, cook and a jobless worker. Some had triad backgrounds, police said.
Among them were the suspected knifemen and their getaway driver, while others provided logistical support in the crime, Chief Inspector Jonathan Kwan Chun-hin of the New Territories north regional crime unit said on Saturday.
The apparently well-organised murder took place in broad daylight on Dec 22 at a tombstone factory on Wo Hing Road outside Wo Hop Shek Village in Fanling.
Security footage showed a gang arriving at the factory in a black seven-seater vehicle, with four men, wearing surgical masks and black clothing, jumping out and rushing into the office.
The 10-second attack killed Pang Yuk-wang, 57, and police were called to the scene at about 11.47am.
Pang was working in the factory, which he was running, at the time of the attack. Shortly after entering the factory, a gang of four ran out and sped off in their vehicle, driven by a fifth suspect.
The victim was taken to North District Hospital, where he was certified dead shortly after 12.30pm. He was the Wo Hop Shek village representative from 2015 to 2019. The Post earlier reported that he was the victim of two assault cases over the past two years.
Pang’s main business was carving tombstones in cemeteries nearby but investigators needed to examine whether he also provided other funeral services.
“The crime was premeditated, with an elaborate plan,” Kwan said. “We believe the motive is related to some land disputes that happened before the victim’s death. We are still investigating whether more motives are involved.”
Acting on intelligence, officers on Friday raided multiple locations in the New Territories and Kowloon, and found 86 grams of suspected crack cocaine, five meat cleavers and some drug-packaging tools that were believed to be linked to the crime.
Eleven suspects were arrested on suspicion of murder and the two others for possession of offensive weapons and trafficking in dangerous drugs, Kwan said.
“Our arrest operations are continuing, and we don’t rule out making more arrests.”
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.