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Ex-husband and relatives charged in killing of Hong Kong model after body parts found

In this image taken from video footage run by TVB Hong Kong, journalists film a police van believed to be carrying relatives of murdered model Abby Choi on its arrival at the Kowloon City Law Courts Building in Hong Kong, Monday, Feb. 27, 2023.
AP
In this image taken from video footage run by TVB Hong Kong, journalists film a police van believed to be carrying relatives of murdered model Abby Choi on its arrival at the Kowloon City Law Courts Building in Hong Kong, Monday, Feb. 27, 2023.

Updated February 27, 2023 at 3:59 AM ET

HONG KONG — 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 parts of her body in a refrigerator.

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 a glamorous life of photo shoots and fashion shows with more than 100,000 followers on Instagram. Her last post was Feb. 19, featuring a photoshoot she had done with L'Officiel Monaco, a fashion publication.

Choi went missing Feb. 21, according to a report filed later with the Hong Kong Police.

On Friday, police found her dismembered body in a refrigerator in a house rented by Kwong Kau in Lung Mei Tsuen, a suburban part of Hong Kong about a 30-minute drive from the border with mainland China.

On Sunday, authorities discovered a young woman's skull believed to be Choi's in a cooking pot that was seized from the house. Officials believe that a hole on the right rear of the skull is where the fatal attack struck her.

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.

Choi's friend Bernard Cheng said she had four children: two sons ages 10 and 3, and two daughters ages 8 and 6. Kwong, 28, fathered the elder two, and her current husband, Chris Tam, was the father of the younger children.

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 was a very kind person and always wanted to help people," he was quoted as saying in the post. "I feel anyone who had a chance to be her family or her friend are blessed."

Pao, who is married to Cheng, told The Associated Press that she has known Choi for over seven years.

"She was the type of person that wouldn't have enemies," she said.

Cheng said Choi had very good relationships with her family, and would travel with the families of her current and former husbands together. Choi's current father-in-law is one of the founders of a famous Hong Kong chain of Yunnan rice noodle shops, local newspaper The Standard reported.

The gruesome killing of Choi has gripped many in Hong Kong and across the border in mainland China, as the self-governed southern Chinese city is widely considered safe with a very low level of violent crime.

Her case is one of the most shocking 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 hearing of the murder case was adjourned to May.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.