22 May 1955
|Other names||The Jars Murderer|
The Rainy Night Butcher
The Rainy Night Killer
The Hong Kong Butcher
|Criminal penalty||Death by Hanging, Commuted to Life Imprisonment (Without Parole)|
|17 August 1982|
Lam, who worked as a taxi driver, would pick up female passengers, strangle them with electrical wire, take them to his family home, and dismember them. His English moniker, "The Jars Murderer", was coined when the police revealed that he had hoarded sexual organs in tupperware containers. He was a keen photographer and frequently took pictures and video of his victims, filming himself performing an act of necrophilia with his fourth victim. The Chinese press nicknamed him "The Rainy Night butcher" (Traditional Chinese ?) because several of his attacks occurred during inclement weather.
Lam shared his bedroom with his brother, who was unaware of his activities; Lam worked the nightshift, so was able to dismember victims at home during the daytime without his immediate family finding out. The brother was initially a suspect in the investigation, but police later determined that Lam acted alone. The bodies were disposed of via his taxi in the New Territories and on Hong Kong Island, and all were eventually located.
Lam was arrested by plain clothes officers on 17 August 1982. He had attempted to develop photographs of one of his dismembered victims at a Hong Kong Kodak shop. The shop manager in Mong Kok tipped off the police and they were waiting for him when he returned to pick up the photos. When confronted Lam claimed that the photographs belonged to a friend of his who worked on a ship who would meet him shortly; when the man did not appear the police accompanied Lam to his parents' first floor apartment on Kwei Chau Street and performed a search. The police located an old ammunition box in the bedroom he shared with his brother; the box contained pornography and more photographs of body parts, video tapes and several Tupperware containers containing women's sexual organs.
On 8 April in 1983, at the end of a long three-week trial with a seven-men jury, Lam was found guilty of four counts of murder and sentenced to death by hanging. On 29 August in 1984, Lam's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, as was the tradition before the abolition of the death penalty in Hong Kong in 1993. He is currently serving his life sentence at the maximum-security prison facility at Shek Pik. When speaking to psychiatrist Dr. William Green, Lam stated that he "ate part of the intestine of one of the victims", and that his motivation was not primarily sexual, but that "it was God who told him to kill the victims".
The victims in this case were identified by two lecturers from the Prince Philip Dental Hospital, part of the University of Hong Kong who created and perfected a new system of photo-superimposition. This involved taking an ante-mortem photograph of the possible victim with a radio-graph (x-ray) of post-mortem skull of the possible victim and superimposing the photo on the skull and matching similarities just as is done with finger-prints.
A fictionalised Lam was later portrayed by Lawrence Ng in the 1994 film The Underground Banker. It imagines Lam, now released from prison, as a reformed Buddhist who is friendly and helpful to his neighbour and only returns to his psychotic killing state to help his neighbour take revenge on Triads who raped, murdered or maimed most of his family.
The 1999 film Trust me U Die is sometimes known by the alternate title The New Dr. Lamb, but has no connection to Lam Kor-Wan or the previous film except that both star Simon Yam.