Before her murder and dismemberment, Hong Kong socialite Abby Choi appeared to maintain a close relationship with the family of her former husband and murder suspect before relations soured over a multi-million-dollar dispute.
As Hong Kong police continue to piece together details and traces of body parts belonging to the mutilated fashion model, local media reports and social media sources revealed that the 28-year-old continued to support her ex-husband and his family financially after their divorce.
Ms Choi, who had a reported net worth of around HK$100 million (S$17 million) and hailed from a wealthy family with business dealings in China, also arranged for her former in-laws and two children to live in a luxury apartment and helped her former brother-in-law purchase a home himself.
Four suspects have been taken into custody and face murder charges. They are her 28-year-old ex-husband, Alex Kwong, his elder brother Anthony Kwong and their parents. Ms Choi married Alex when she was 18.
Police say Kwong’s father, a former cop, was behind the “meticulously planned” murder involving tools such as a meat slicer and an electric saw, as well as the gruesome discovery of pots of soup containing human tissue that are believed to belong to Ms Choi, who went missing last Tuesday.
The elder Kwong was reportedly dissatisfied with Ms Choi’s attempted sale of an apartment worth around HK$72.8 million that was registered in his name. Lawyers had advised Ms Choi that she could take the sale proceeds of the property if she could present proof that she had been paying for it.
It is unclear when Ms Choi divorced Alex, but in 2016, she underwent wedding rites with Mr Tam Chuk-Kwan, son of the founder of TamJai Yunnan Mixian eatery, without legally registering the marriage, local media reported.
A close acquaintance of Ms Choi, Ms Pao Jo-yee, was cited by HK media as saying that Ms Choi’s former and current partners had cordial relations.
Multiple images on Anthony’s social media show Ms Choi and Anthony posing for photos at birthday celebrations, yacht parties and a trip to Macau, where he tagged her as his “sis”. Mr Tam was also allegedly present at one beach outing with Anthony and Ms Choi last year.
Anthony, 31, had been Ms Choi’s personal driver and former business partner. His Instagram page is strewn with photos hinting at his high living, including fine dining and being behind the wheel of luxury automobiles like a Rolls-Royce.
Local media reported that Anthony may have personally driven Ms Choi to the village house where police suspect she was killed, under the guise of taking her to meet her children.
On some Instagram posts where he shared images and videos alleged to be Ms Choi’s children, netizens have left searing comments over his suspected involvement with the murder.
Ms Choi and Anthony were directors of companies that owned Bear Bear Snack, a pancake stall that was reportedly involved in contractual disputes incurring more than HK$130,000.
Before their arrests on Friday, Anthony and his parents allegedly provided misleading information in an attempt to impede investigations.
After a manhunt involving rewards amounting to more than HK$2 million, Alex was arrested at a pier on Saturday while “trying to abscond”. Police said he had a criminal history and was already on the run for six years for a separate gold investment scam.