Who was Joy Chan? Private school student, 18, hanged herself as boyfriend watched horrified on FaceTime

Who was Joy Chan? Private school student, 18, hanged herself as boyfriend watched horrified on FaceTime
The Monmouth School for Girls (Facebook/Haberdashers' Monmouth Schools)

MONMOUTH, WALES: A Hong Kong man called Jeremy Mak had to witness something gruesome last month. On February 9, an 18-year-old student died at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny, Wales, where she had been brought from the Monmouth School for Girls by a teacher four days earlier. As per reports, doctors pronounced her “brain-stem dead” after she was taken to an intensive care unit.

But what makes this tragedy more horrifying is that her death was caused by an attempt at suicide. And what is perhaps even more horrific is that her attempt to hang herself was witnessed by her boyfriend, Mak, in a different continent. 


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As per a report in the Daily Mail, Mak raised the alarm after he watched his girlfriend, Joy Chan, trying to kill herself on FaceTime. She was reportedly alone in her room when this happened. Mak, who saw the attempt unfolding before his own eyes, almost 6,000 miles away, immediately called the school to alert them. Staff members found Chan and rushed her to the hospital.

Who is Joy Chan?

Hei Tung Chan, also known as Joy, was an 18-year-old A-level student at the Monmouth School for Girls. As per reports, Chan was one of the dozens of pupils from Hong Kong banned from going home for half-term from their British school. 

Chan, as per a report, had been suspended from the school after being caught buying alcohol for under-age pupils. It was also reported that she had “boyfriend trouble”. Speaking to the Mail, Emma Butts, an assistant house parent at the school, said: “I had to dial 999 for a girl who drank too much alcohol. Joy was suspended and it was explained to her that what she did was illegal and had consequences. Basically, she was grounded in the boarding house -- she was unhappy but she took it maturely.”


The report also said that an entry was made in a duty book at the boarding school, which read: “Joy is having issues with boyfriends”. She had reportedly been upset after an ex-boyfriend had tweeted an image of her but there was no evidence it had been distributed to anyone else. It was also reported that she had performed badly in a mock A-level economics exam and was “upset with herself”.

Maria Toma, a schoolmate of Chan, said in a written statement: “Every time I saw her she was smiling - she had a bubbly personality. But on a few occasions I heard Joy crying in her room, she would be arguing in Chinese and kicking things. She smoked and drank and was considered a bad example and not liked by other Chinese girls at the school.”

Jessica Miles, her headteacher, described her as a “lovely, warm and talented” student. “We are deeply saddened by the death of one of our students. Hei Tung Chan (Joy) was a lovely, warm, talented part of our school community and she will be sorely missed by us all,” she said.


Miles further said, “We extend our heartfelt condolences to her parents and family, and are supporting them at this tragic time. We are offering pastoral care to our pupils and have professional counselors on hand to help them come to terms with this devastating loss.”

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7 by texting HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

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