Hong Kong has a low crime rate, particularly when it comes to violent crime. However, that doesn’t mean that shockingly bad things never happen. Although many of us know of England’s “Moors Murders”, and some of the more infamous serial killers, there have also been several spine-chilling murderers closer to home. As Halloween draws closer, we investigate some of the horrifying true crime stories that have taken place in Asia. Disclaimer: Don’t read this before bed!
The Milkshake Murder, Hong Kong
The Nancy Kissel murder case captivated Hong Kong in 2003, and not just for the nature of the crime itself. It also involved an investment banker expat – at the time, no other criminal case involving an expatriate had received so much attention.
On 2 November 2003, 40-year-old Robert Kissel was murdered in the apartment; his wife Nancy was arrested and later convicted. In fact, she was convicted twice: once in 2005, and again at a retrial in 2011. She received a life sentence on both occasions.
So, how did Robert die? Nancy laced a strawberry milkshake with sedatives, and then got their six-year-old daughter to hand it over. When Robert succumbed to the effects, Nancy bludgeoned him to death with a statuette, rolled his body up in a carpet and placed it in their storeroom. The victim was found after being reported missing by a colleague.
As recently as 2014, Nancy Kissel has said she has no regrets about her actions, claiming to have suffered clinical depression and to have been in an abusive relationship.
Yishun Triple Murder, Singapore
It was 2008 and Ms Zhang Meng was hungry. She wanted crabs for dinner, and she wanted her lover, Wang Zhijian, 42, to pay for them. When he refused, she humiliated him. After a huge row, they went to bed angry in their flat in Yishun, Singapore.
Claiming to be “in a daze” with his “whole body trembling”, Wang got up from bed naked, took a knife and repeatedly stabbed Ms Zang, 41. He then killed her 17-year-old daughter Feng Jianyu. Continuing his rampage, Wang turned on another mother-daughter pair who were staying in the apartment. The mother Yang Jie, 36, escaped onto the ledge outside. She hung onto the bamboo pole holders but fell to her death from the sixth-floor kitchen window. Ms Li Meilin, who was 15, survived.
Tattoos on Wang’s body pointed towards a tumultuous relationship with Ms Zhang: in May 2007 he had her portrait inked onto his back to express his “sincere” love. Eight months later, he added another: “The skeleton resembled the ‘dead god’ (Ms Zhang) slowly and gradually swallowing my heart,” he said.
The Killer Bomoh of Malaysia
After a glitzy career as a pop singer with the stage name Mona Fandey, Maznah binti Ismail gave up singing to become a shaman (as you do!). Her new career attracted a myriad of rich and powerful clients, one being Batu Talam state assemblyman, Mazlan Idris. Maznah, then 37, persuaded Mazlan that she possessed mystic powers which could boost his political career and render him invincible. The ambitious US-educated politician fell for it.
In July 1993, after paying Maznah RM500,000 and several land titles, Mazlan went to her home in Raub, Pahang for the ritual to bring him success. Upon laying down and closing his eyes, Mona and her husband beheaded him. They then cut up the corpse and buried him under a storeroom.
As a search for Mazlan escalated, Maznah bought herself a Mercedes Benz, jewellery and electrical appliances. The police soon caught onto her newly gained wealth and discovered Mazlan’s body. Maznah, her husband and two accomplices were hanged at the Kajang Prison on 21 November 2001.
Hello Kitty Horror in Hong Kong
In 1999, Fan Man-yee, a 23-year-old nightclub hostess, was kidnapped. She was held captive by three men in a flat in Tsim Sha Tsui, which was eerily decorated with Hello Kitty toys. For almost a month, she was violently tortured by Chan Man-lok, 34, Leung Shing-cho, 27, and Leung Wai-lun, 21.
When Fan died, they threw her body in the bin and sewed her skull into the head of a giant Hello Kitty doll. The case came to light when a teenage girl complained of nightmares and being “haunted” by a ghost … it turned out she was the girlfriend of one of the killers and had joined in with the torture. The killers were sentenced to life imprisonment in November 2000. They stood expressionless as the sentence was announced.
South Korea Killer
Yoo Young-chul began his killing spree in Seoul aged 33 by breaking into homes and bludgeoning wealthy senior citizens with a self-made hammer. After being rejected by an escort girl, he then began preying on prostitutes and female masseuses.
Altogether, he murdered 21 people throughout 2003 and 2004. It was later discovered that he had a hatred for the wealthy – and for women. He also admitted to dismembering and mutilating the bodies, and even eating the organs of his victims.
He is currently in jail awaiting execution. The film The Chaser reflected his story and was a box office hit in 2008.
Pork Bun Massacre, Macau
Restaurant owner Zheng Lin and nine of his family members were killed by Huang Zhiheng in his Eight Immortals restaurant in Macau in August 1984. Lin was in financial trouble after racking up gambling debts, and Huang Zhiheng wanted money that was owed to him.
Huang visited the restaurant and the scene quickly became violent with him smashing glass bottles and using the jagged pieces as weapons. He then took the largest butcher knives from the kitchen and spent eight hours dismembering the ten bodies. A year later, the police started to recover limbs of the victims in the sea and in bins.
After the killings, Huang proceeded to operate the restaurant himself which prompted speculation that he had cooked his victims’ remains and served their meat inside the pork buns — a signature dish (which rapidly became very unpopular). Huang committed suicide while in prison in 1986. His crime was portrayed in 1993 Hong Kong crime thriller The Untold Story.
Thailand’s Most Terrifying Man
Si Quey was executed by a firing squad in 1959, aged 32. His crime? The abduction and murder of seven young children in Thailand. He’d suffocated them and eaten their organs, believing it would make him immortal. Bangkok’s Siriraj Medical School took his bullet-ridden body to study before his gruesome embalmed corpse was placed in a glass display case in Siriraj Medical Hospital’s Forensic Museum.
The cadaver —which had a sign on the case saying ‘Cannibal’ — became a popular attraction. Only in July 2020 was his body cremated. Although recent research shed doubt on his ability to carry out multiple murders, Si Quey has been immortalised. He was long recognised by Thais as a bogeyman, causing parents to warn their children: “If you misbehave, Si Quey will come and catch you.”
The Curry Murder in Singapore
Caretaker Ayakanno Marimuthu, 37, was reported missing by his wife, Naragatha Vally Ramiah, 33, in 1984. It wasn’t until three years later, in 1987, that an informant tipped off the police on what had happened; Ayakanno had been beaten to death with an iron rod, chopped up, and cooked in curry with chilli, spices and rice in a large aluminium pot. Initially sceptical and disgusted, the detective passed the information onto his superiors and an investigation ensued.
Understandably, the story sparked panic in Singapore, with many wondering whether they’d been eating human flesh. Naragatha and her three brothers, Balakrishna, Ramayah and Chandra, were charged but later released due to lack of evidence. The crime has never been solved. The victim’s remains, the murder weapon and pot used for cooking were never found.
This article first appeared on expatliving.sg.
Too spooked by this and keen to read something lighter in the lead up to 31 October? See our Halloween recipe ideas!