Gambler jailed for allowing parents to die in suicide pact
A High Court judge has condemned and jailed a 42-year-old man for aiding and abetting his parents' suicide after they jumped from the roof of a 13-story building in Yuen Long.
Lau Ka-wai, a former driver, ducked out of the suicide pact and was sentenced to five years and six months by Judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng, who said: "It is so [ironic] that the defendant's life was saved by his father's speech."
Lau pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting the suicide of his parents.
The court heard that Lau's parents - Lau Siu-bun, 73, and Hui Chui-fong, 66 - had been paying off their son's gambling debts of more than HK$1.8 million. They even sold their flat and took out loans.
On February 10, 2021, Lau and his parents decided to commit suicide by jumping off the rooftop of their home at Ho Choi Building on 50 On Hing Street in Yuen Long as they had not been able to repay the son's debts and had been hounded by creditors for more than eight years.
They told relatives, friends and colleagues about their decision to kill themselves, a relative later told police.
Lau admitted in court that he and his father assisted the mother in standing on a chair to jump to her death.
The father then stopped Lau by telling him to stay alive as he would have less pressure if his parents died. The father then jumped off the rooftop to his death.
Lau decided to give up the suicide attempt and was arrested by police who arrived at the scene.
In mitigation, Lau's lawyer said he had no criminal record. He came to Hong Kong from the mainland in 1990, got married but divorced in 2017.
He said Lau pleaded guilty to save court time and was willing to bear legal consequences, while blaming himself for the loss of his parents. He would pay tribute to his parents' tombstones when he is released from jail.
Chan said Lau was indifferent to his parents' deaths. He said in Lau's mitigation letter he only asked for a lenient sentence and had not mention of any pain or sorrow at losing his parents.
Chan said Lau's parents had no suicidal tendencies and were not suffering from depression.
He said the couple had tried their best to repay Lau's debts and the main reason for their death was the huge stress and despair brought by the debts.
"I was a driver for a listed company, where I believe I can find a proper driver job after being released from jail and will not create problems for society," Lau wrote in his mitigation letter.
"I hope I can repay my girlfriend, relatives and friends who have shown me love and support after rehabilitation," he said.