'Deadly Concoction' airs Friday, April 22nd, at 9pm/8c on Dateline NBC. Browse the story's interactive timeline of events.
Hong Kong was lit up like an X-Box game on double espresso. Green lasers slashing the skyscrapers Kowloon side, red and gold beams rippling off Victoria Harbour. Driving in, craning our necks like hicks from the sticks, looking straight up the facade of the Bank of China cross-hatched with bars of light for umpty-ump stories.
Maybe residents get jaded with their city's nightly sound and light spectacular but even jetlagged and dazed as producer Marianne O'Donnell and I were after a 14-hour slog, we realized that arriving in Hong Kong at night is a "whoa" experience.
But we weren't shop-op tourists. We'd come to Hong Kong to try to make sense of the Pink Milkshake Murder case. That's what everyone there called it.
The detail of the pink milkshake—the one laced with knock-out nasties like date-rape drug—had captivated Hong Kong all through the monsoon summer a few years back.
The concoction had been blended up by an American banker's wife, served to the millionaire investment banker unwittingly, by their child.
(L-R) Andrew and Rob Kissel
Days later, Rob Kissell, was found stuffed inside an oriental carpet in a storage lock-up of his high-rise apartment, bludgeoned to death, said the authorities, by his fashionable wife Nancy. She struck him five times, the cops said, with a decorative metal object, an heirloom piece, a very heavy one.
Pieces of broken skull pierced the banker's brain.
"...blood was everywhere..." Hong Kong reporter Albert Wong would tell me when we talked about testimony from the sensational murder trial that followed.
It was hard to make-up: How behind locked doors Nancy Kissel slept in the same room as her husband's corpse, keeping the household help at bay in their sprawling luxury apartment. "She told her domestic helpers don't bother to clean up the room," Albert remembered, "while she continued changing the linen, changing the rugs, and then eventually wrapping him up in the rug, tying it up and ordering removal men to take it to a storeroom."
The jury would hear from the accused herself about an abusive marriage: drugs, affairs, rough sex. Was any or all of it true?
"It's going to be a Black Rain day tomorrow," someone said. And sure, enough, the next morning the skyline on the Kowloon side disappeared under the blackest skies I'd ever seen. Punctuation points of lightning and claps of thunder.
We had four days to finish our interviews, get our pictures, find the places where key events had taken place.
Then it would be time to get back to the states to wrap-up the second half of our story, the one about the stabbing murder of the Hong Kong banker's brother, back in Connecticut.
Robert and Andrew Kissel, two brothers, the banker and the swindler, millionaire's both, each found dead in the basement.
It was hard not to think that the two must have been born on a Black Rain day.
The full Dateline report 'Deadly Concoction' airs Friday, April 22nd, at 9pm/8c: