Awful: Double Murder At The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong

Filed Under: Hotels, Ritz-Carlton

Gosh, this is just a horrible story. The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, located on the top 15 floors of Hong Kong’s tallest building, is one of the best hotels in the city. Unfortunately a rather gruesome incident occurred there over the weekend.

A 42 year old South Korean man has been arrested after his 42 year old wife and six year old son were found dead in their hotel room on Sunday morning. All of this unfolded after the police were called over reports of fighting at the hotel. Apparently the man was too drunk to recall what happened.

Per The Guardian:

The suspect was believed to have consumed alcohol and appeared unconscious in the hotel suite with minor wounds to his hand and face, police assistant district commander Chan Tsz-Leung said.

The woman suffered multiple cuts and wounds to her neck and a wound was also found on the throat of the boy.

Police retrieved a five-inch-long knife at the scene, Chan said. The motive for the killings remained unclear, with the suspect still in hospital and unfit to talk to police.

The suspect was the CEO of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in South Korea, and apparently he called a friend that morning to tell him that his family was going to commit suicide because he had “failed in business.”

What a horribly tragic situation all around. I can’t even imagine what this is like for the families and friends of the victims, those at the hotel, etc.

Hotel murders aren’t that uncommon, and obviously they put hotels in a tough spot. While this is insignificant in comparison to the murder that happened (though this is a blog about hotels and airlines, which is why I’m bringing it up), Is it appropriate for hotels to do a deep clean of the room and then start reselling it?

I can see both sides of this. On one hand, it seems silly to just never sell the room again. On the other hand, I know I’d be uncomfortable if I were in a room where I knew a violent murder happened. It’s one thing if someone died in their sleep or overdosed on something, but to me a violent murder is different. Perhaps this is a case of “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.”

What do you think a hotel should do with a room in which a murder happened? Would you knowingly stay in such a room?

(Photo credit to the hotel)

  1. If I didn’t know about the room, I would not care. If I knew, I probably would not care either. I live in a condo where the previous owner committed suicide. Been here for 15+ years. I feel the same about the room in Vegas at the Mandalay Bay.

  2. It’s a travel blog and this is an article about a hotel room so why exactly isn’t it relevant. You people need to calm yourselves down.

  3. People are often murdered in hotel rooms. Not sure how this is really news for this website? I’d rather a follow up article about how RC is handling the PR around the Riyadh property. After all, ongoing incarceration and torture are newsworthy…

  4. Lucky,

    I never see you post on the dozens of hotel murders and other crimes that happen here in the US. This appears to have been a tragic domestic situation that won’t impact availability of the hotel for future customers. Why is this particularly relevant for this site?

  5. I found the story to be quite interesting actually ben. So thanks for writing a post about. Please ignore GBTB, Mike and Ben.

    I enjoy posts like this because it brings up very valid questions. I can’t imagine what the revenue for that room a year is especially if it were a suite. How do hotels handle such a grizzly scene. Seems like it must go through a complete cleaning and changing of carpets sheets bed furniture etc.

    Any articles on what other hotels have done?

    Again please keep doing posts like this. For whatever reason gbtb mike and Ben are super sensitive and negative (today’s society, SAD!) but keep it up ben! Love all your posts. If they have a problem with it they can stop reading!!! You can’t please everyone

  6. I stayed at that hotel few years back. I will not stay there again…. not due to the deaths, but other factor. Four Seasons is much better…more elegant in every way. Although I do have to say it was incredible to be sleeping and swimming on such a high floor.

  7. I know the hotel caters to a lot of foreign travelers but in Chinese culture they don’t like to buy homes where someone has passed away inside of the home. I assume it’s the same for hotels. So I don’ know what they will do. not sure if there’s a Chinese ritual where they can cleanse the room. I know there’s people that do that in the United States. But that room is money and would doubt they don’t use the room for customers moving forward.

  8. Odd that you posted about this. I have seen this on other travel websites that are more are more like tabloids than legitimate travel blogs. Please don’t go down that road and become like them. Short of an entire hotel property being shutdown or something the travel value of this information is of limited use to your readers and we can get this type of news from media sources. You have one of the best blogs out there and I hope this is not new trend for your page going forward.

  9. I can’t believe you had the gall to write this so soon. The theme of your article isn’t about how sad and tragic it is, it is about what the hotel should do with the room?! Shame.

  10. Of course they should–and will–sell the room again. They don’t give out the room number in news stories, so how would anyone even know? Maybe if you lived in Hong Kong or knew someone who worked at the property you’d be able to ascertain the exact location of the crime, but for anyone traveling in from a foreign country there is no way of ever finding out.

    Do you think the Beverly Hilton stopped renting out the room where Whitney Houston died? Not on your life!

  11. I like this post! (I wanted to comment to that effect given all the negative comments. I’m a big fan of the posts that are travel related but not necessarily reviews)

  12. @Sean

    “I enjoy posts like this because it brings up very valid questions. I can’t imagine what the revenue for that room a year is especially if it were a suite. How do hotels handle such a grizzly scene. Seems like it must go through a complete cleaning and changing of carpets sheets bed furniture etc.

    Any articles on what other hotels have done?”

    Ghoulish much?

  13. I think Lucky brings up a legitimate question, and it would certainly be a dilemma for both the hotel management as well as the guests.

    My personal opinion is that this is probably a case of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

  14. Good lord people. Chill out. This is a post about hotels and airlines, as he says. Wring your hands elsewhere.

    In my opinion they can clean the room and move on. It’s not a famous case. Things happen. Do you know everything that ever happened in your house or apartment? Probably not. No harm to you.

  15. Some hotels will renumber rooms. In Las Vegas, there is consideration to remodel the rooms on the shooter’s floor, including changing the location of the walls so that, for practical purposes, that infamous room won’t exist. The space would either be occupied by another room or a lounge.

    I once visited the airport in Vienna and paid respects to the victims of the Vienna and Rome airport attacks by standing where it happened and having a moment of silence. I saw from news photos where it happened. I think the terminal was demolished recently, many years after the terrorist attack.

    On that visit to Vienna, I also stood where James Bond stood when waving for a taxi near the Prada. In contrast, that was a happy visit.

  16. lol all the people complaining about this article as not appropriate were apparently interested enough to click and read.

    I have a reservation at RC HKG in March and do find this relevant.

  17. My word the commentators on this site are getting increasingly pathetic. If you can’t handle talking about death like a grown-up, why don’t you do us all a favour and go away?

    As to the article, obviously they’re going to reuse the room – it would be beyond absurd if they didn’t.

  18. this blog is about hotels, planes and travel. so, same as Lucky would write about a plane incident / crash (god forbid) he would write about an incident in a hotel. Don’t see why there is any sort of problem with this article. you guys need to calm down

  19. Keep on writing. This is a travel blog. If death is involved, so be it. He is not exposing a photo of the crime scene. Chill

  20. well reported, pls show articles as you see fit. you are the owner of the blog, dont worry about what other said people. readers can choose whether they read but should not ask you what to report on, this is the way in the news today.

  21. Fortunately, it’s in HK where Taoist exorcists are a plenty. I’m sure, they would hire one from Wong Tai Sin Temple. Like previous posters have said, Chinese don’t like staying in places where somebody died in an unnatural death. They believe, the deceased soul would linger in the room, until another death occur to take their place.

  22. Interesting article, guess I’d never thought about this. Also wonder what damage, if any will be done to the RK brand in KHG and how long that will last. I’m personally surprised by the sensitivity of those that comment negatively about the article, but they are equally entitled to that opinion.

  23. I started crying uncontrollably after reading this post. Three hours later, with my eyes still filled with tears, I called my psychiatrist who said the blog post is a mental health hazard. Ben, what….have….you….done?? 😉

  24. I don’t disagree with you writing this post, it’s an interesting subject. However I do disagree with the title as it makes it sound like you’re reporting a news story on a murder at a hotel. I think if you’d used a title that reflects what you’re actually writing about no one would have been upset by this

  25. Hotels are intimately familiar with death. People often get hotel rooms just to commit suicide. Murders are common as well. It is just a part of the business. The staff clean it up, and the next person moves in. We’ve all probably stayed in rooms where untoward things happened that we didn’t know about.

  26. Setting the family tragedy (that happens multiple times a day all over the world) aside, so what? Ritz will renovate the room entirely (presumably not costing them a penny thanks to their insurance policy) and reuse it. In six months, nobody will know.

    If you start worrying about whether you sleep in a former murder crime scene, then you should probably stay clear of most hotels and definitely not switch on a black light.

    Thus the question is why cover this tragedy in the first place?

  27. Lucky,

    It’s not fair to ask this question while the family are still grieving. I think you should take down this article and issue an apology.


  28. Sad and gruesome story that is worth writing about here, but should have simply provided the facts without going into all the speculations about the potential economic impact because, as some have stated, it is in very poor taste.

    I was, in fact, in Hong Kong and could see the tower housing the RC from my harbour view suite upgrade at Conrad HK, likely contemporaneously with the incident. Sunday was a beautiful day, as the pano picture I took that day shows:

    Just arrived at ORD, waiting to catch my flight for LGA, and l already regret the weather that I have enjoyed for the past 4 weeks and just left behind 🙁

  29. Discussing the hotel economics of this situation might have been acceptable if it was a week or two from now, but not the day after the crime. While events like this happen all the time, it is important to show respect to the victim and family in the immediate hours following the crime. This is universally observed by all cultures.

    Even politicians know this, and are usually seen waiting a few days before discussing the politics of a tragedy.

    By launching in to a discussion about hotel economics, all you have done is undermined the few preceding paragraphs where you say how sad this event is. Your empathy doesn’t sound sincere.

    I agree with Murray and think you should issue a formal apology to your readers and the victim’s family.

  30. Geeze people

    It’s a travel blog (all things travel). Would you rather read a review of CX biz again? It’s not all sunshine and rainbows out there folks.

  31. I recently flew on G-VIIK, a British Airways Boeing 777-200ER. That plane is death. Years earlier, while at Denver, a refueler hooked up the hose to refuel the plane. The connection wasn’t tight and it flew off, hitting the ground or something, and creating a spark. There was an inferno and the man was burnt alive. He died. The plane was “substantially damaged” but repaired and put back to service.

    I learned of the history while boarding. I didn’t board then scream at the top of my lungs “this plane is death! A man was burned alive! We are all going to die! Yowwwwwwww!”, which is true. We eventually all die.

    Instead, I enjoyed the rear facing and very private seat. BA is not known for a good business class product but I enjoyed it very much aside from the creepy history of the plane.

  32. no problem with the article. you cover airlines and hotels. interesting to read something different. keep up the good work…

  33. It is in very poor taste that you have left details which would identify the family involved. A little discretion wouldn’t go amiss….

    Just because you want to shift out ‘thousands of words a day’, it doesn’t mean you should report on the minutiae of every single happening in the world. Have some consideration.

    How would you feel if this happened to your family, Ben, and then found some blogger discussing the economical impact of the murder of your family on a hotel room? I think you would be upset and find it crass. Why isn’t this any different?

  34. A very sad story, but I think it’s fine to post about it here. It is travel related because we travel in the real world and sadly stuff like this happens sometimes. I’m sure other people had the same thought – “Would I want to stay in the same room/hotel where that happened?” I don’t know the answer to that – but it’s a question that I would have too.

  35. I think it was an interesting question and people need to calm the f down.

    Lucky, I’d rather not know as a guest. I think I’d be looking for ghosts at night 🙂

  36. This article has been spat out barely 24hrs after two people were murdered, one of them a child…and all you can then say is that you would be uncomfortable if you stayed in that room in future.

    The way you wrote this implies that you don’t care about the murder itself, but rather you care about its impact on you.

  37. It’s a disgusting post. What possessed you to sensationalize and put a price on the murder of a mother and a child?!

  38. Hey Lucky. I’m a long time reader and a fan. I just want to say that I fully support these articles because it’s a side of the hotel business that doesn’t really get discussed much. Nothing in this article was disrespectful to the victims so I see nothing wrong with discussing economics.
    And I’d stay at the hotel without a problem but would prefer not to know the actual room. If I was assigned the room without knowing I’d have no problem.

  39. @David Gonzalez

    If this was your family being reported on would you support the article still? Including the unnecessary grizzly details of the murder…

  40. This is obviously a high profile hotel in Hong Kong that many readers would be expected to book. I think it’s also obvious that Lucky was trying to do us a favor and help keep us informed. As for the hyper sensitive commenters blasting Lucky for some supposed offense, it’s much more offensive that they would prefer their fellow readers risk booking themselves into a fresh crime scene.

  41. @chancer

    He could have kept it far more succinct.

    “An unfortunate double murder recently took place at the Ritz Carlton in Hong Kong. It’s a terrible loss for everyone concerned and my sympathies lie with the family and hotel staff in these circumstances.”

    Something like this would be more appropriate, if he really wanted to divulge the details.

  42. @ Steve – The details came from The Guardian. Why don’t you contact the paper and say how insensitive they were to cover the story? You may want to check your spelling first.

  43. I think this story should have been approached from another angle: can you get some points as compensation if you have a booking there? Or a complimentary espresso at the very least.

  44. “How do hotels handle such a grizzly scene. Seems like it must go through a complete cleaning and changing of carpets sheets bed furniture etc…” Were they murdered by the husband or a grizzly? Either way I imagine it is grisly.

  45. One of my favorite hotels in the world…I’m not sure how I would know the room had a murder if I did stay in it. I will not be asking which one it is when I do stay there in March.

    As for the post.. I would love for lucky to go all Gene Hackman from Crimson Tide mutiny scene on some of the people posting on his blog.

  46. I understand Columbine HS is now empty as a tribute to the lives lost as is every other mass shooting school in the US. ..
    With 30,000 killed yearly in the US by guns, It could result in a lot of empty hotel rooms or schools.
    I suspect you could morf this in a marketing tool aimed at a niche group.
    It is only a room–in 24 hours it will be occupied and none will be the wiser nor really care.

  47. # rick Forgot to say : Thoughts and prayers with the victims and of course it is too early to discuss any possible solutions to preventing future hotel murders.

  48. Perfectly acceptable article. This happens in Asia often enough to enquire what indeed does happen to the rooms. I’d want to know.

  49. I don’t have a problem with the article. Pretty certain they will continue to sell this room after a lengthy period of time has elapsed. I believe the Mandalay Bay shooter nest rooms will be a different story.

  50. Delores O’Riordan, lead singer of the Cranberries, a popular band of the 1990’s, died today at the Hilton Park Lane in London. RIP Delores…

    Oh my life is changing everyday
    In every possible way
    And oh my dreams
    It’s never quite as it seems
    Never quite as it seems

  51. A fascinating article came out last month about cadaver labs in hotel conference rooms. Google it for an eye-opening read. I think as hotel enthusiasts, it’s important to know just what goes on in these luxury resorts we aspire to stay in. Don’t hate on Lucky for bringing up the issue. I’d rather know than be ignorant of it.

  52. Lucky we only want the good & happy news around, we have a very fragile mind and cannot start a day with anything negative – even if that’s how life rolls around.

  53. This post is perfectly appropriate for a travel blog and raises a very relevant and interesting question. Like it or not, these things happen and have to be dealt with. It is a reality of the business, whether you find it tasteful or not.

  54. @Lucky – Out of curiosity, what is the most amount of comments you have ever gotten on a single post.
    (Sorry this is off topic)

  55. @W

    He got more posts when he talked about a male celebrity crush he saw on a plane…talked up the entire post…and then didn’t mention which celeb he saw…

    There was uproar for 100 posts until he mentioned who it was….

  56. Next we will probably have the post mortem results on here if some of these morons commenting had their way. You all have double whoppers for brains methinks

  57. Ok, I’ll bite Sparkle Pony, what’s wrong with cadaver labs in a conference room?
    Did you know they provide excellent benefits? Or do you just gross out easily?
    Comes off a tad immature!

  58. Lucky,
    Since you’ve “opened the door” on ‘passing on’ in travel settings, perhaps a posting or two about what happens when a passenger reaches their “final destination” before the plane lands (as in dies peacefully..). Have you ever been on a flight where this occurs? I’ve had this happen on two separate occasions where the (domestic) flight was semi-full; nearby passengers were re-seated and the deceased was completely covered in a blanket. I’ve always wondered what happens on an ultra long international flight. And what happens if a flight is full and the seat neighbors can’t be relocated? Any thoughts?

  59. I think it is a valid question. Many would be afraid to stay in it.

    As for what to do with the room? Make it into a lounge.

  60. To answer the question “What do you think a hotel should do with a room in which a murder happened? Would you knowingly stay in such a room?”

    1) – Clean up and make the room available again when authorities give the go-ahead.
    2) – I would certainly stay in such a room, even knowing what happened.

    I find unusual you have no issues if the person expired while asleep, but feel terrified if he/she was murdered. A touch of animism?

  61. Sparkle Pony, rest assured that they refrain from banquet tables for that purpose. So the chance that your wedding cake would occupy the same spot that hosted “John” or “Jane” occupied the day before is slim to none. Wishing you nothing but rainbows and sunshine in your life.

  62. Sparkle Pony, as an added note I took the time to review the Reuters report you referenced. Having read the report I can see how you would be disturbed!
    Having worked in a surgical department for 20 years I can understand the value of cadaver lab. Unfortunately, as in many profit businesses there are those who abuse the system. I can tell you that any reputable company who use cadaver labs to train go out of their way to protect their reputation and despite the lack of legal parameters in many states, have rules of their own. I have thankfully never had to worry about the quality or care of these cadavers. Trainers go out of their way to be respectful. When not in a hospital setting most will provide equipment for the training sessions. Hopefully you will rest easier at the next event you attend in any hotel.
    As a final note, the stories contained in the report was written to shock and grab the readers attention. That can have two results. Either it scares people and keeps them from considering donation. The second thing is that it allerts people to take care and if they don’t understand what they are asked to sign, that they seek clarification. That would be the best outcome but sadly I doubt that this report was written for that purpose. Peace.

  63. Why the negative comments? Very odd. The blog is relevant and provides insight into a concerning issue for the property owners.

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