A couple believed to have been in financial trouble were found dead in an apartment in Yuen Long, Hong Kong, on Wednesday. A basin of burnt charcoal was inside the room, leading investigators to suspect suicide.
The deceased, a 54-year-old man surnamed Shum and his 56-year-old wife surnamed Cheng, said to be a warehouse worker and a housewife, were found lying on the bed in the apartment on Sau Fu Street in Yuen Long when firemen broke into the flat, Apple Daily reported.
This is the second such tragedy to happen in Hong Kong in less than a week.
A neighbor had reportedly noticed an unpleasant odor coming from the apartment over the past few days. The smell became worse and the building’s security guard was notified at 10 am on Wednesday.
When there was no answer at the door, the security guard called the police.
Firemen broke into the apartment and found the couple, who were wearing face masks, lying on the bed with a basin of burnt charcoal nearby.
They couple had apparently turned on the air-conditioner and placed some essential oils near it, perhaps to combat the smell of the burning charcoal.
No suicide note was found, but officers located a bank statement showing the couple, who had been married for 20 years and had no children, had around HK$100,000 (US$12,739) of debts.
After an initial investigation, police officers believed that the couple had died more than one week before their bodies were discovered. They will further investigate the reason for the suicides and the actual cause of death will be determined after an autopsy.
On Monday, a family of three, including a 7-year-old boy, was found dead at home in Western District, also killed by burning charcoal. It was believed that the couple had fed their son sleeping pills because they were in financial troubles.