[UPDATE - 4.08pm, November 10]
A friend of the three defendants accused of murdering 15-year-old Tsang Ming-sze testified in the High Court on Monday that she had been told the three only intended to teach the boy a lesson for talking badly about another person.
Form two student Ming-sze’s body was found by a man rowing his boat off Tseung Kwan O on August 11, 2012. He had been killed on August 8.
The witness, a 19-year-old woman surnamed Lau, told the court on Thursday that she had watched her friends beat Ming-sze until he lost consciousness, early on the 8th, at a southeastern pier in Tseung Kwan O.
Lau testified the defendants had been playing cards and drinking beer when she arrived.
When Ming-sze arrived, the defendants assaulted him for at least 10 minutes until he passed out.
The defendants then poured beer on Ming-sze to revive him and carried him away. Lau told the court she was curious and wanted to go with the defendants, but they had told her not to, as it would give her nightmares. They also told her not to say a word to anyone, she testified.
Lau left with Au Yeung Chun-yee, a key figure in the case, who told her that they only wanted to teach Ming-sze a lesson and never thought it would end up so seriously.
Lau told the court that she had watched the defendants use mosquito repellent to wipe the railings and ground at the pier because they believed it would get rid of their fingerprints.
The three defendants – Shek Ka-kwan, 23; Lai Chun-man, 30; and Ricky Mui Chun-yu, 35 – have denied a joint charge of murder in the Court of First Instance. Au Yeung Chun-yee and a fifth person, Yung Kwun-kit, have pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
When the trial began last Tuesday, prosecutor Nicholas Adams said Ming-sze had been beaten and thrown into the sea in Tseung Kwan O with a rock tied to his toes, after he allegedly spread rumours that Au was promiscuous. Au and the three defendants were friends.
On Wednesday the coroner told the court that Ming-sze’s injuries were consistent with a beating, but could have also been caused by fish eating the body as he had been in the water for two days or more. None of the injuries would have been fatal, the coroner said, so the likeliest cause of death was drowning.
Adams told the court earlier that Ming-sze had bad-mouthed the girl Au, who wanted him to be taught a lesson. So, on August 8, 2012, Lai, Mui and Shek beat and kicked Ming-sze senseless, causing him to slump on the ground, the court heard. Au Yeung witnessed the assault, Adams said.
Shek, Mui and Yung then tried to wiped away fingerprints at the scene and took Ming-sze into bushes near the Lohas Park housing estate, where the teen begged for mercy. Shek and Mui tossed him into the sea as Yung acted as a lookout, the court heard.
The trial continues.