Pomonok man, 73, charged with murder of live-in girlfriend

By Gina Martinez

An elderly Fresh Meadows man has been charged in the murder of his live-in girlfriend, the Queens district attorney said.

Chitwah Tse, 73, allegedly bludgeoned his girlfriend, Huizhen Zhan, 63, in their basement apartment in Pomonok July 31 and when officers were looking at him as a suspect, he attempted to commit suicide by jumping off a balcony in Tribeca, according to DA Richard Brown.

“The defendant is accused of fatally bludgeoning the woman with whom he shared an apartment and a life together and then fleeing the scene without telling anyone what he had done until many hours after,” Brown said. “He now faces serious charges that could lead to him spending the rest of his life behind bars if convicted.”

Zhan’s body was discovered Aug. 1 at about 7:15 p.m. by police inside her basement apartment, the DA said. Tse and Zhan shared a two- bedroom basement apartment on 65th Avenue with a third person.

On July 31 Zhan spoke to a friend and asked that they call her back at 5:30 a.m. the next day so she could wake up and go to Westchester, the DA said. The same day sometime after midnight their roommate allegedly heard loud banging coming from the rear bedroom shared by Tse and Zhan, the DA said.

The following morning on Aug. 1 at 5:28 a.m. Zhan’s friend called and Tse told the friend “We are awake, Goodbye” without Zhan speaking on the phone.

Later on at 9:15 a.m. the roommate saw Tse talk on the phone before leaving the apartment, the DA said. At 6 p.m. in Chinatown, Tse met with two relatives and said, “I’m sorry for all I have done, I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again,”according to Brown.

At 7:15 p.m. a lawyer, Garo Kapikian, called the 107th Precinct and told police a new client, Tse, walked into his office earlier in the afternoon and informed him there was a corpse in his basement apartment, the DA said. Officers responded to the Pomonok address and entered through the front door where there was no sign of forced entry and both doors to the bedrooms were locked.

When police broke down both bedroom doors, they saw Zhan’s body lying on a bed in the rear bedroom, the DA said. Her body was covered with a sheet that was soaked in blood, there was also blood on the walls and ceiling and broken glass on the bed, the DA said. When officers removed the sheets, they discovered deep lacerations on Zhan’s body. Her cellphone was discovered on her bedside table, and police found blood in the adjoining bathroom’s shower stall and toilet, DA Brown said.

Zhan’s death was ruled a homicide due to blunt force trauma by the chief medical examiner Aug. 2

The following day on Aug. 3 at 2 p.m. the NYPD Hostage Negotiation Team went to the Manhattan law offices of Kapikian after Tse climbed over a balcony railing and then an I-beam on the adjoining balcony railing on the 22nd floor and threatened to jump, Brown said. Tse refused to leave the I-beam until after 6 p.m. when the Hostage Negotiation Team was able to grab him, the DA said. When police observed, Tse he appeared to have scratches and lacerations on his fingers, hands and chest, and was sent to Bellevue Hospital, according to the DA.

Tse is currently being held without bail and will return to court on Sept. 27

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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