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News Woman ‘ordered to kill family’


A CONTROLLING and manipulative man from Maidstone accused of ordering a woman to kill her family has been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act.


When armed police arrested 57-


year-old Hon Cheong Chu at his home in Tarragon Road they found four handguns, a bolt-action rifle, two air weapons and a single-bolt firearm. The jury heard he had been in a controlling and abusive relation- ship with his victim for many years, and was described as the “emperor” of the house. Following the raid on his home,


he was charged with offences in- cluding soliciting murder, assault and possession of ammunition and


Higher fines


for dog mess MAIDSTONE Council is poised to impose the toughest fines the law will allow on irresponsible dog owners and litter bugs. As we went to press, councillors


were expected to approve a £5 rise in fixed penalty fines for those caught dropping litter, not clearing up after their dogs and letting them run in gated parks reserved for children. The council says the increase in


fines to £80 – the maximum per- mitted under the Clean Neigh- bourhood and Environment Act 2005 – will further reduce litter and fouling in the borough’s parks and open spaces. Areport to the council’s commu-


nities, housing and environment committee, which was due to con- sider the issue on December 8, added: “Our DogWatch campaign has assisted with the enforcement of dog fouling within the borough. The introduction of higher fines, we believe, will further deter those current offenders who form a small irresponsible minority of dog-own- ers in the borough.” Private company Kingdom has


held the contract to enforce litter controls in the borough since 2011 and since then has issued nearly 19,000 fixed penalty fines. If ap- proved, the new £80 fines will come into force from April 1.


Fewer deaths


A SIGNIFICANT improvement in mortality rates has been reported by NHS West Kent Clinical Com- missioning Group. This could be due to management of long-term conditions such as cardiovascular disease and breathing difficulties (COPD).


Formore local news www.downsmail.co.uk


firearms. Hewas convicted follow- ing a trial at Maidstone Crown Court. The jury heard how on one occa-


sion in 2008 Chu became upset be- cause the woman was talking about her family with pride. He or- dered her to take off her glasses be- fore slapping her across the face. In November 2013 he punched


her in the face and kicked her after another disagreement. However, the situation escalated in March last year, when Chu ordered her to return to Hong Kong to kill her


family, saying if she did not, he would harm someone close to her. Following his arrest onMarch 26


2014, officers seized ammunition and firearms, three of which were loaded. Investigating officer Detective Constable Christopher Waterfall said: “Hon Cheong Chu is a ma- nipulative man who controlled his victim over many years, to the ex- tent that his threat to harm some- one close to her if she did not kill her own family was one she did not take lightly.


“The fact Chu was found with a number of loaded weapons in his possession proved just how impor- tant itwas to take every precaution necessary in taking him safely into custody. “Chu is clearly a dangerous man


and I ampleased he will now serve a lengthy period in amental health institution where he is no longer a risk.” He praised Chu’s victim who, he


said “showed great courage in speaking out and ensuring he was brought to justice”.


Opera raises £11,000 for hospice


A FESTIVAL concert featuring one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular comic operas raised £11,000 for Heart of Kent Hospice. Achoir of 150 singers, led by Maid-


stone Choral Union, sang HMS Pinafore atMaidstone’s Mote Hall to a packed and appreciative audience. The choir’s music director, Martin Hindmarsh, led the choir and orches- tra while Dr Colin Morris directed the 10 performers who sang the individ- ual parts. Dr Morris, a distinguished Gilbert and Sullivan performer, also played the part of Sir Joseph Porter. An audience of more than 500


watched the performance, including the Mayor of Maidstone Cllr Daniel Moriarty and CllrDavid Pickett, Maid- stone Choral Union’s new president.


The concert was part of Voices for Hospices, a world-wide event held every two years to raise funds for hos- pices.


Maidstone Choral Union has led


the event for Heart of Kent Hospice since Voices for Hospices began in 1991.


Christmas


Carol retold CHARLES Dickens’ best- loved and most heart-warming story, A Christmas Carol, is to be recreated by Hazlitt-based European Arts Company at 7.30pm on Friday, December 18. The story was Dickens’ first


Children’s festive concert


KENT County Junior Choir and Kent County Junior Singers will perform festive songs and carols at All Saints’ Church, Maidstone at 5.30pm on Sunday, December 13. Tickets are £8 (£5 concessions)


on the door and the audience is in- vited to join in with the carols. For more details visit www.kent-music.com or call 01622 358402. The choirs draw members from


across the county and will be con- ducted by leading voice coaches


Andy Millest, Ciara Considine and Karen Hill. Liz Samson, who manages the


choirs for Kent Music, said: “It’s a great chance for children aged eight to 15, who are developing their love of music, to sing to- gether, make new friends and per- form in inspiring venues.” New members are invited to au-


dition in theNewYear; details can be found at www.kent-music.com or call Valerie Cordina on 01622 358402.


public reading and also his last. He performed it more than 150 times and said after the first night: “The success was most wonderful and prodigious – perfectly overwhelming and as- tounding altogether!” The story will be performed


at the Hazlitt’s Exchange Studio by John O’Connor and directed by Peter Craze, the team behind The Trials of Oscar Wilde and The Picture of Dorian Gray, both of which have transferred to theWest End. Tickets are £13.50 (£11.50 for concessions) from www.ha- zlitttheatre.com.


Maidstone Town Xmas 2015 31


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