Cheung Kie-chung was a popular math whizz known for being nice, and in his school days, would help classmates with homework, let others copy his answers, and tip off friends about test topics.Yet, he probably never calculated that he would one day end up behind bars – at Hong Kong’s maximum-security Stanley Prison following his arrest for a shocking crime two years ago.On Thursday night, the University of Hong Kong professor was found guilty of murdering his wife.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.A High Court jury of four men and three women on Thursday returned the verdict by a majority vote of 5-2 after less than eight hours of deliberations, following 11 days of gripping testimonies.My first reaction was, ‘Which bastard pulled the prank?Chan Leung-choi, childhood friendThe respected professor of mechanical engineering is expected to get life imprisonment for killing his wife, after her decomposing body was found in a suitcase stored inside a sealed home-made wooden box placed at his campus office on August 28, 2018.By then, police had been looking for Tina Chan Wai-man, 53, for eight days, as Cheung himself had reported her missing on August 20, reassuring students as officers traced her final movements and scoured the campus.“They are here to investigate a missing person case involving my family,” Cheung explained in an email to fellow residents at Wei Lun Hall, a university dormitory where he served as warden. “There is nothing to worry about.”But investigators had their suspicions when they saw him moving a large wooden box and students noticed a foul smell on the floor where his office was located.Cheung, 56, was arrested the following day.Prosecutors would go on to depict him as a calculating man who murdered his wife in cold blood for money, while he argued he had no intention of killing her, explaining that he was provoked in the heat of the moment during a row, and had been suffering from depression that would substantially impair his mental responsibility for his actions. Hong Kong professor and wife were ‘actually quite happy together’ before killingChildhood friend, Chan Leung-choi, who had known Cheung for more than 50 years and testified for him at trial, said the defence was in line with his observation of his friend over the years, as he had noticed Cheung losing weight and looking worn out lately, as well as seemingly weathering a change in his marriage.Still, Chan could not shake off the initial shock of learning the news about the killing.“My first reaction was, ‘Which bastard pulled the prank?’” Chan recalled. “I thought it was fake news. Then [a television station] reported it, I realised it was really happening, and I started to worry.”The two men had attended primary and secondary school together, until Cheung left Hong Kong to pursue a bachelor’s degree at the University of Birmingham, then a PhD from the University of Wales in Britain, where he met and married Tina Chan within a year of courtship.Cheung later returned to Hong Kong with his wife and daughter Nancy in the early 1990s and began his teaching career: first at City Polytechnic – now City University – in 1991, then as an associate professor at HKU in 1992.Chan Leung-choi said Cheung was very popular back in his school days as he had excelled in every subject, especially in maths, and was very helpful towards his fellow classmates.He also described Cheung as an easy-going, people pleaser, who did not know how to say no to others.“Cheung Kie-chung is an incredibly nice guy so no one could believe this incident,” Chan said of their circle. “We didn’t think it was possible. So we made up our minds to stop speculating and start thinking how to support him.”Chan recalled consulting lawyers to find out where Cheung had been held, only to hear that he was in an emotional state and had suicidal thoughts.Cheung was placed on suicide watch following prosecutors’ request on his first hearing on August 30. Hong Kong professor charged with murdering his wife ‘not a good guy’Chan observed that his friend’s condition showed improvement by the time he visited in September, as Cheung appeared calm and was able to make jokes.He was also thinking about his two children, Nancy, 30, and son Scot, 28, asking Chan to look after and have tea with them.The High Court heard the pair had visited their father in prison but steered clear of mentioning the incident.Instead they brought him clothes and books on engineering, biometrics and ancient mystic energy.Cheung’s classmates also visited and wrote him letters, collecting messages from their chat group, to which Cheung responded, four pages at a time.They also brought him a calculator and new maths puzzles to keep his mind busy, such as working out the frequencies on the 12-pitch scale used in ancient Chinese music.At trial, Cheung’s counsel Graham Harris SC had asked Chan: “The support you have given him in recent times, was it because you believe he deserved it?”“Absolutely,” Chan replied.Madam Justice Anthea Pang Po-kam will hear mitigation and sentence Cheung on December 3.More from South China Morning Post: * Hong Kong university professor accused of murdering wife describes happy marriage, growing tension during High Court testimony * Hong Kong professor Cheung Kie-chung found guilty of murdering his wife in 2018This article From popular kid and nice-guy maths whizz to wife killer: the downfall of Hong Kong professor Cheung Kie-chung first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to further deepen cooperation and promote a “digital Silk Road” with Southeast Asia as Beijing moves to cement its influence in the Asia-Pacific.The commitment comes just as the new US administration says it wants to pivot towards the region and resume a leadership role.In a recorded message on Friday, Xi also sought to assure the Asian leaders that China gave top priority to its relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), a 10-member regional bloc, and that as the only major growing economy, China would continue its opening-up strategy to drive the global recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic – a move and that would benefit Asean.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“China will unswervingly expand its opening up to the outside world, enhancing its domestic and international economic linkages, and driving the world’s common recovery through its own recovery, from which all countries in the world, including Asean, will benefit,” Xi said via video link to participants at the China-Asean Expo in the southwestern Chinese city of Nanning.“Looking to the future, there will be even more room for cooperation between China and Asean.”Xi’s remarks came just two days after US president-elect Joe Biden announced that his foreign policy agenda would see the United States retake its global leadership role and strengthen its alliances in the Asia-Pacific.On Friday, in another sign that Beijing is stepping up engagement with its neighbours, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi wrapped up his trip to key US allies, Japan and South Korea, pledging that China would join the two nations to revive their pandemic-hit economies.Xi, who is the first Chinese president to give a keynote speech since the China-Asean Expo was established in 2004, told the summit that while the world was confronted by instability and uncertainty because of the rise of unilateralism and protectionism, China had made its relationship with Asean a priority. China to assess new prospects for Japan ties as Wang Yi meets PM Suga“China regards Asean as a priority in its neighbourhood diplomacy and a key area for high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative,” Xi said referring to one of his pet projects to develop trade, investment and infrastructure along both the ancient maritime and land Silk Roads.“[China] supports Asean’s central position in East Asian cooperation, and supports Asean to play a greater role in building an open and inclusive regional architecture,” Xi said, adding that China would “actively consider” Asean’s need for Covid-19 vaccines.Xi also said China would continue to cooperate with Asean countries in the next five years on various areas, including infrastructure and public health, and would “positively consider the needs of Asean countries” when vaccines were ready. China may cut belt and road lending to ensure future of projectSpecifically, Xi said China could work with Asean countries to establish a “China-Asean digital port to promote digital connectivity, and build a ‘digital Silk Road’.”Beijing has sought closer ties with Asean, a regional grouping of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, to try to offset pressure from the protracted trade war launched by US President Donald Trump in 2018.This year, the 10-member bloc overtook the European Union as the largest trading partner to China, having also surpassed the US last year amid trade friction between the world’s largest economies.In what Beijing touted as a historic milestone in its economic integration with the region, China and the 10 countries of Asean, as well as Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia, signed up to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free-trade bloc, earlier this month.The trade pact, which would see significant tariff cuts among member states in the next decade, could further expand China’s economic influence in the Asia-Pacific and counter pressure from the China-US economic decoupling.On Friday, Xi welcomed the signing of the RCEP – which covers about 30 per cent of the world’s population and gross domestic product – and said more measures were expected to ease regional travel and cargo transport when pandemic conditions improved.South China Sea: the dispute that could start a military conflictShi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said the need for China to improve ties with Asean and its member states had become more urgent as political, security and ideological tensions had risen with advanced countries.However, persistent disputes over the South China Sea remained a major problem between Beijing and oceanic Asean countries, Shi said.“There is no change in their positions on the South China Sea. The US has heavy influence on some oceanic Asean countries, though they also know it’s unrealistic for a hi-tech decoupling with China,” he said.“The future of China-Asean relations will be influenced by Biden’s policy over the South China Sea.”He added that the Asean members varied in their acceptance of Beijing’s digital Silk Road proposal.Wang Huiyao, director of the Centre for China and Globalisation, said cooperation on the digital economy was an extension of the growing economic engagement between Asean and China.He also said Biden’s return to multilateralism would open more channels for dialogue between China and the United States, with bilateral relations expected to follow the path of “cooperative competition”.Additional reporting by Wendy WuMore from South China Morning Post: * US and Taiwan promote alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative * Asean braces for Trump administration’s parting shot at China * South China Sea: China asks Asean for quick resolution to code of conduct * Asean can help avert South China Sea conflict amid ‘superpower rivalry’, Philippine defence minister saysThis article ‘Let’s build a digital Silk Road’: Xi Jinping looks to cement China’s ties with Asean first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
A federal appeals court on Friday flatly dismissed President Donald Trump's claim that the election was unfair and refused to freeze Joe Biden's win in the key state of Pennsylvania.
The Ministry of Health confirmed six new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Saturday (28 November), taking the country’s total case count to 58,205.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both closed at records Friday as markets continued to look past rising coronavirus cases toward a better 2021 economy with likely Covid-19 vaccines. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index led the major indices, finishing up 0.9 percent to 12,205.85, scoring a second straight record following a holiday-shortened session. The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.2 percent at 3,638.35, also a record, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1 percent to 29,910.37.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she has "piles of cash" at home as she has no bank account after the United States slapped sanctions on her in response to a draconian security law China imposed on the city.
Asian stock markets declined Friday as questions about the effectiveness of one possible coronavirus vaccine weighed on investor optimism. Benchmarks in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney retreated while Shanghai gained. Investors have been encouraged by reports of progress toward a possible vaccine.
Commemorations for Tamil Tiger rebels killed in Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war were banned on Friday after court petitions by the government of strongman President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
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President Emmanuel Macron faces a major challenge to retain France's influence over resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, needing to take account of the large Armenian minority in his country and accused by Azerbaijan of bias.
More than 160 diamonds worth an estimated HK$6.5 million (US$840,000) have been seized during a Hong Kong customs inspection of a truck at a new border checkpoint, the largest bust of its kind in three years.The Shenzhen-bound haul, wrapped in a plastic bag and stuffed in the driver’s trouser pocket, was to be smuggled through the Heung Yuen Wai control point to avoid stringent import restrictions and mainland Chinese taxes amounting to between 10 and 20 per cent of the precious stones’ value, according to a law enforcement source.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The source said it followed a similar diamond-smuggling case from earlier in the year, prompting the local authorities to strengthen the inspection regime for cross-border vehicles at local control points amid fears that Covid-19 travel curbs were fuelling the illegal trade.Last month, HK$1 million worth of rough diamonds were detected when a Hong Kong-bound vehicle was stopped for inspection at Lok Ma Chau control point.The latest seizure was made at Heung Yuen Wai control point in northern Hong Kong on Thursday morning when a truck heading for Shenzhen was selected for a routine inspection. The border checkpoint opened in April.“A plastic bag, carrying 162 diamonds, was seized from the pocket of the driver’s trousers,” the source said. “Each diamond weighs around one carat and the haul is worth about HK$6.5 million.”A 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of attempting to export unmanifested cargo – an offence carrying a maximum penalty of seven years in jail and a HK$2 million fine.In a follow-up raid of a Sham Shui Po flat on Thursday night, Customs and Excise Department officers arrested another man, also aged 33. Enormous diamond sells for HK$120 million at Sotheby’s auction in Hong KongAs of Friday afternoon, the two suspects were still being held for questioning and neither had been charged. Officers from customs’ syndicate crimes investigation bureau are handling the case.The source said he believed the diamonds were being taken to factories over the border, where they would be turned into jewellery for sale on the mainland market.He said mainland shoppers had been staying away from Hong Kong because of the mandatory quarantine orders and closure of major border checkpoints in place to counter the Covid-19 pandemic. Smuggler with 1,000 diamonds in his shoes trips up at border“But there is a high demand for luxury items such as diamonds and precious metal in mainland China and this creates a market for cross-border smugglers,” he said.He said customs officers would also enhance the exchange of intelligence with their mainland counterparts to combat cross-border, diamond-smuggling activities.Hong Kong customs foiled two diamond-running bids in 2019, seizing HK$1.17 million worth of the stones, but there were no reports of similar operations the year before.Officers took possession of HK$18 million worth of diamonds in four cases from 2017. The biggest seizure in recent years was in June that year when officers confiscated HK$11 million worth of diamonds.In March 2017, a smuggler was arrested after mainland officers found 1,000 diamonds hidden in his shoes at Luohu crossing, which links to Hong Kong’s Lo Wu control point. He was targeted for inspection because officers saw him walking on his tiptoes.More from South China Morning Post: * Smuggler from Hong Kong with 1,000 diamonds in his shoes trips up at Shenzhen border * Flawless 102-carat diamond sells for more than HK$120 million at Sotheby’s auction in Hong KongThis article Hong Kong customs seizes more than 160 diamonds worth HK$6.5 million from truck at Shenzhen border first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Meng Wanzhou's defence lawyers leveled new allegations Thursday of a "cover up" by the most senior Canadian law enforcement official to testify so far in the Huawei executive's extradition hearing.
A Malaysian family have cooked up a tasty solution to their economic woes during the pandemic by opening a backyard pizzeria that has proved a hit in their sleepy village.
Six American oil executives held for three years in Venezuela were found guilty of corruption charges by a judge Thursday and immediately sentenced to prison, dashing hopes of a quick release that would send them home to their families in the United States. Alirio Rafael Zambrano, brother to two of the men, said they were “undeniably innocent” and victims of “judicial terrorism.” “We, the family, are heartbroken to be separated even further from our loved ones,” Zambrano said in a phone message from New Jersey.
Dressed in impeccable camouflage fatigues with Kalashnikovs slung over their shoulders, Russian peacekeepers stand guard along the last road linking Armenia with the restive region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
What are the key matches and storylines to look out for in the next round of English Premier League (EPL) action? Yahoo News Singapore lists the top three.
Singapore’s civil servants will not receive their year-end bonus payment this year due to the economic downturn caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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Three shopping malls were among the additions made by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (26 November) to a list of places visited by community cases while infectious.
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