Homicide-suicide in Hong Kong, 1989-1998

Forensic Sci Int. 2004 Mar 10;140(2-3):261-7. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2003.12.001.


This study provides the first systematic research of homicide-suicide (HS) in a Chinese society. Data were drawn from the HK Homicide Monitoring Data-base computer file derived from investigation and death reports held by the HK Police Force and the Coroner's Court. During the 10-year study period, 56 events involving 133 deaths were identified. The majority of offenders were males (75%) and most victims were female (64%). The mean age of offenders and victims were 41.9 and 32.3 years, respectively. Spouses and lovers comprised the majority of victims (46.4%) followed by child victims (36%). Most HS events were motivated by separation or termination of marital or sexual relations (39%), economic reasons (25%) and other domestic disputes (20%). The most frequent modes of killing were strangulation/suffocation (26%), stabbing/chopping (24%), followed by gassing/poisoning (14%) and falling from height (14%). The commonest of suicide was falling from height (48%). It was followed by gassing/poisoning (22%) and strangulation/suffocation (13%). Depression (18.3%) was found to be the commonest mental disorder. Most offenders were from low-socio-economic background. Two-third were unemployed and 76.6% had 9 or less years of education. HS in HK were distinguished from those reported in the western literature in respect to the high relevance of economic factors, the absence of mercy killing between old couples, a higher percentage of pedicide-suicides and the infrequent use of firearms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sexual Partners
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*