HONG KONG (AP) — The ex-husband and former in-laws of a slain Hong Kong model and influencer appeared in court Monday on a joint murder charge after police found her body parts in a refrigerator.
The ex-husband Alex Kwong, his father Kwong Kau and his brother Anthony Kwong were charged with murdering model Abby Choi. His mother Jenny Li faces one count of perverting the course of justice. The four were placed in custody without bail.
Choi, 28, was a model and influencer who shared her glamorous life of photo shoots and fashion shows with more than 100,000 followers on Instagram. Dressed in a tulle floor-length gown, she had just attended a Dior show at Paris Fashion Week.
Her last post was more than a week ago, featuring a photoshoot she had done with L’Officiel Monaco, a fashion publication.
Choi had financial disputes involving tens of millions of Hong Kong dollars with her ex-husband and his family, police said earlier, adding that “some people” were unhappy with how Choi handled her financial assets.
Her friend, Bernard Cheng, said she has four children: two sons ages 10 and 3 and two daughters ages 8 and 6. The elder two were with Kwong, 28, and the younger children were with her current husband, Chris Tam.
Tam said he was very thankful to have had Choi in his life and praised her for being supportive, friend Pao Jo-yee relayed in a Facebook post.
“When Abby was alive, she’s a very kind person and always wanted to help people,” he was quoted in the post. “I feel anyone who could be her family and friends are blessed.”
Pao, who is married to Cheng, told The Associated Press that she has known Choi for over seven years and Choi treated people around her well.
“She is that type of person that wouldn’t have enemies,” she said.
Cheng said Choi had very good relationships with her family members and would travel with the families of her current and former husbands together. Choi’s current father-in-law is a founder of one of the city’s famous noodle chains, local newspaper The Standard reported.
Choi had been missing for several days when police found her dismembered body and documents Friday, including her legs in a refrigerator, in the house in Lung Mei Tsuen, a suburban part of Hong Kong about a 30-minute drive from the border with mainland China.
Her case is one of the most shocking, violent killings Hong Kong has seen since 2013, when a man killed his parents and their heads were later found in refrigerators. In another famous 1999 case, a woman was kidnapped and tortured by three members from an organized crime group before her death. Her skull was later found stuffed in a Hello Kitty doll.
The gruesome killing of Choi has gripped many in Hong Kong as the southern Chinese city is widely considered safe with a very low level of violent crime. Across the border in mainland China, online discussion over her case went viral on social media.
On Sunday, authorities discovered a young woman’s skull believed to be Choi’s in one of the cooking pots that was seized. Officials believe that a hole on the right rear of the skull is where the fatal attack struck her.
The hearing of the murder case was adjourned to May.