On June 2, a 39-year-old man with schizophrenia attacked two female passers-by with a 12-inch long knife in Hollywood Square, Diamond Hill, Hong Kong. The two women were sent to the hospital and confirmed to be dead.
The police arrested the murderer on the spot. The murderer was charged with two counts of murder, and the case was brought to court on June 5.
The defendant—Szeto Sing-kwong, who claimed to be unemployed, did not plead guilty. The case was adjourned until June 19 for further hearing. Psychiatric reports will be requested for the defendant to determine whether he is fit to plead and if there are any recommendations.
The suspect became unemployed in 2013. He lived with his parents and played video games at home all day long.
In May 2020, he attacked his family and was diagnosed with delusional schizophrenia. He was detained at Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre and later ordered to receive treatment at Kwai Chung Hospital.
He was discharged at the end of the same year but had to undergo psychiatric follow-up every three months. In 2022, the suspect applied to the hospital for an exemption from follow-up visits but was ultimately rejected.
His parents have reported that he has become emotionally volatile and easily agitated since the beginning of 2023.
The Hong Kong, Social Welfare Department confirmed that the arrested man was a follow-up case of the medical social worker of the department.
According to the Hospital Authority, the last follow-up date with the patient was on March 7, and the subsequent follow-up date was initially scheduled to be June 6.
In addition, on May 29, the patient received community outreach services from a case manager.
In an interview with the Epoch Times, Cammy Lee, a Hong Kong psychotherapist, pointed out that most psychiatric patients’ emotions are inward thinking; therefore, depression and anxiety disorders account for the majority of the patients; schizophrenia, violent tendencies, or mania only account for a small percentage, with an incidence rate of only four percent, while only one percent of them are severe.
She advised the public to pay attention to the following when encountering similar situations:
- Not to keep looking at their cell phones or talking on the phone while walking, as this could put them in a dangerous situation.
- Pay attention to the pedestrians around you and be aware if they are holding any dangerous items. For example, after purchasing the knife, this psychiatric patient kept holding it in his hand and did not hide it.
- Pay attention to the facial expression of any suspicious pedestrians around you. Chronically psychotic patients who took medication will have dull eyes and little facial expression.
- Under similar circumstances, if it is safe, you can find chairs, tables, or boards to shield yourself from the attackers or cover them with blankets to calm them down.
Lee said that many Hong Kong people have different degrees of emotional problems, and some may realize that they are emotionally ill and take the initiative to seek help.
But most people with mood disorders are discovered by family members or friends.
Lee said that counseling services have a controlling effect on psychotic patients. A patient who is very active in treatment may recover after ten years. But there is a chance of relapse, so the patient may have to continue to take medication to control the symptoms.
However, she said that the resources invested by the government in counseling follow-up and mental hospitals are limited.
She has not seen any Hong Kong social worker who has followed up with patients for ten years. In the past, a patient suffered from schizophrenia for 20 years without any social worker following up.
In addition, under the current wave of emigration, some social workers have left the city, and their cases may be transferred to other social workers.
Lee also believes medical social workers have heavy workloads and administrative tasks, leaving no time for emotional support work.
On the other hand, she said there is a lot of support available online or in communities such as Integrated Family Service Centers (IFSC) and “Shall we Talk” services provided by authorities. The public can also learn about mental illness through information provided by the Department of Health and develop empathy toward patients. “The perpetrators are victims too.”