Nelson Cheung: Flowers line takeaway as family of murdered Chinese businessman tell of their bafflement at brutality of attack
A nephew of murdered Chinese businessman Nelson Cheung says his devastated family cannot understand the level of violence used against the popular takeaway owner.
The family spoke out for the first time as police continued their investigation into the savage killing of the 65-year-old, who lived at Rosses Farm in Ballymena.
Mr Cheung was with his wife Winnie (57) travelling along the quiet Caddy Road towards Ballymena in the early hours of Thursday last week when a gang forced their vehicle to stop before stealing the takings from the couple's Double Value takeaway in Randalstown.
During the robbery Mr Cheung was stabbed to death, with some reports saying he had his throat cut. His wife suffered injuries to the head and hands as she tried to protect herself.
She was able to get away and raise the alarm at a nearby farmhouse.
She underwent emergency surgery in the Ulster Hospital and has since been released.
In Randalstown last night people were still leaving floral tributes outside the Double Value, where there are now more than 50 bouquets. One message said: "Barbaric in today's society."
Another read: "It was a pleasure to work for you Nelson and to call you my friend. I will never forget your kindness to me."
At the Cheung family home yesterday there was no one present, the blinds were closed in sombre tribute to Nelson.
In Sourhill in Ballymena, the Cheung's nephew Colin Tang (38) said the stunned family just wanted to know what exactly happened to the respected businessman.
"It has been a shock but we can't understand the motive," said Mr Tang.
"A robbery doesn't match what happened with the amount of violence. We are baffled."
He said he did not know if claims that Mr Cheung had been just two weeks away from retiring and returning to his native Hong Kong were true.
Mr Tang said: "Nelson was very respectable. I respected him a lot. He was very intelligent and was an engineer and once worked on health and safety on the extension at Hong Kong airport.
"Nelson had been here about 10 years, and before that he lived in New Zealand where he and Winnie's son Glasgow Cheung went to university to study law. Nelson had three other children in a previous relationship in Hong Kong."
A neighbour of Mr Cheung's, who didn't wish to be named, said: "Nelson was a great neighbour, and as other people have said, he was a real gentleman. Nobody can believe this has happened to him".
Police made their first arrests the day after Nelson Cheung's murder. On Friday a woman aged 31 and man aged 29 were released unconditionally. A man aged 30 was arrested on Friday and released unconditionally on Sunday, as was a 43-year-old man. Four males were arrested on Saturday aged from 43 to 14 and two females aged 32 and 16. A man aged 25 was arrested on Sunday.