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Friday, Feb 03, 2023

Family of three commits suicide at home over daughter's debts worth more than HK$600,000

A family of three committed suicide by burning charcoal at their Yuen Long home on Friday suspectedly because they were frustrated for being unable to settle the daughter's debts worth over HK$600,000. The tragedy also took the life of a poodle. 
The tragedy occurred in a flat at Tin Sum Tsuen, Hung Shui Kiu shortly after midnight. A man received a message from the daughter surnamed Shum who said she was unhappy, so he reached the Yuen Long flat but no one answered the door and he also failed to contact Shum. He immediately filed a police report after finding the smell of burning charcoal coming out of the flat. 

Firefighters later arrived and broke into the home, only to find three people had fallen unconscious already. Forty-eight-year-old Shum and her parents, both aged 72, were then pronounced dead at the scene. 

Police officers also found the dead body of a poodle, believed to be the family's pet. The case was initially listed an attempted suicide and was changed to dead bodies found. It is now handled by Yuen Long district crime squad. 

According to a cousin, Shum was a manager at an airport shop that sells leather goods. Yet, the shop's business plummeted because of the Covid-19 pandemic and her income shrank significantly. Shum then attempted to make a fortune by turning to investments and stocks but eventually owed creditors more than HK$600,000. 

She also broke up with his boyfriend whom she had been dating for seven years because of her debt issue. Devastated and heartbroken, Shum moved back to the Yuen Long home to live with her parents. 

On Tuesday, Shum attempted suicide once already by taking pills and opening the gas pipe. Fortunately, her parents stopped her in time and Shum was sent to hospital. 

Although Shum's parents had borrowed about HK$100,000 from relatives, they were still overwhelmed by the huge sum of debts which they couldn't settle. 

The parents told relatives they wished to commit suicide on Wednesday and the family couldn't be reached the next day. The cousin then visited the family's Yuen Long home in the evening, only to find the trio had killed themselves already.

If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts, help is available. You can reach out to seek help by dialing the following helplines.

Suicide Prevention Service: 2382 0000

Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong: 2389 2222

Social Welfare Department: 2343 225

Caritas Family Crisis Support Hotline: 18288

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