Kenneth McBride and Nicola Myers were a British teenage couple studying together at the Island school, an international school in Hong Kong. Kenneth and Nicola were very close, they were popular in school and well-liked. It wasn’t difficult for Kenneth to make friends being the president of the Students’ Union, captain of the rowing team and a member of the debate team. Nicola was equally as intelligent and dreamt of becoming an interpreter as she had a passion for linguistics.
Unfortunately, neither Kenneth nor Nicola would live to accomplish their dreams.
On April 20, 1985, Kenneth and Nicola decided to take a walk around the Braemar Hill countryside, a luxury residential neighbourhood where Nicola lived to enjoy the spring flowers and warm air. They stumbled upon a remote pathway and decided it was the perfect quiet spot to study for their upcoming examinations. Kenneth and Nicola were doing nothing wrong, only trying to further their education.
Meanwhile, five hoodlums; Pang Shun-yee, Tam Sze-foon, Chiu Wai-man, Cheung Yau-hang, and Won Sam-lung wandered Braemer Hills, looking for trouble. Bored and with nothing to do, the leader of the group, Pang, ordered the others to steal a cable from the government aerial station. The plan was to sell the cable for cash.
Kenneth and Nicola were within eyeshot of the five triad members and when the cable theft failed several times, they set their eyes on the couple. Thinking the couple were European tourists, the hoodlums assumed they were rich and decided to rob them. The couple only had one dollar on them, and this made the gang livid.
Pang bound and raped Nicola while she watched the other four beat and strangle her boyfriend. He then mutilated her genitalia with sticks and a bottle and took her Nike shoes as a souvenir. Nicola suffered at least five-hundred cuts to her body. Once Kenneth and Nicola were dead, Pang and his crew destroyed their textbooks and left the area.
Discovery and Investigation
When Kenneth and Nicola did not return to their homes their families became instantly worried and reported them as missing to the Hong Kong Police.
Their couples' remains were found the very next morning by a jogger.
The people of Hong Kong, known for its low homicide rate at the time, were appalled. eight-hundred members of the Hong Kong police force attended the crime scene and ten-thousand locals were interviewed. The double-murder was all over the media both in Hong Kong and in the UK. The British were enraged something so awful could have happened to two of their own.
Although there was semen found on Nicola’s undergarments and handprints on the couple’s textbooks, the forensic science technology at the time was lacking and the case went cold.
Soon enough it was November. The spring flowers may have disappeared, but the search for Kenneth and Nicola’s callous murderer did not.
An anonymous businessman in Hong Kong decided to make a very generous donation of HK$500,000 (USD) to be used as a reward for any tips leading to the arrest of the couples murderer. It worked. As soon as the reward was announced, the tips began coming in.
One triad member specifically phoned the Hong Kong police claiming one of the members of his gang were acting suspiciously and that he might have been involved in the murder.
That man was Pang.
Within fourty-eight hours Pang and his henchmen were arrested.
Sentencing and Aftermath
All five participants were found guilty.
Pang, Tam and Chiu were initially sentenced to death but the sentences were later commuted to life imprisonment. The other two perpetrators, Cheung and Won were minors at the time of the murder.
Won’s family asked the families of McBride and Myers to call for leniency and forgive their son. Graciously, they did just that. Won received a sentence of twenty-seven years. He was released in 2004 and obtained a job at a law firm through the government’s criminal rehabilitation program.
Cheung was not as lucky.
He did not have a family to ask for leniency on his behalf. He was abandoned by his parents as a child and left at an orphanage. As he grew older, he dropped out of school and wandered the streets during his free time. It was on one of these occasions he met Pang, who recruited him to be a part of his gang.
He received a sentence of thirty-five years and his appeal for a lighter sentence was denied. He was released from prison in 2007 and began working as an inspection worker.
Tam died in prison from cancer in 2009. Pang and Chiu are thankfully, still in prison at this time.
Island school, where Kenneth and Nicola studied, along with their families, created the Nicola Myers and Kenneth McBride Memorial Fund in 1985 to honour the poor slain couple. The fund supports disadvantaged school children in Hong Kong who are in severe financial need, helping them pursue further education with scholarships.
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