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80% chance of homicide in Teoh’s case

Pic of Teoh Beng Hock being held by mourner
Teoh Beng Hock suffered several injuries before his fall

SHAH ALAM, 21 Oct 2009: Well-known Thai pathologist Dr Porntip Rojanasunan told the coroner’s court here today that there was an 80% possibility of homicide and 20% chance of suicide in the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock

Testifying in English, she said Teoh suffered several injuries before he suffered a fall and died after being questioned by the Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC).

She said the injuries on Teoh included a penetration in the anal region, an abrasion on the thigh and strangle bruises on the neck, and they were incompatible with a fall from a height.         

The 54-year-old expert, who was asked by the Selangor government to testify on the cause of Teoh’s death, said her findings were based on the autopsy reports of Dr Khairul Azman and Dr Prashant Naresh Samberkar and post-mortem pictures made available to her.

Teoh, the political aide of Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on 16 July on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam, after giving a statement in the case of alleged misuse of state allocations at the Selangor MACC office. The MACC office is located in Plaza Masalam.

Dr Porntip is now director-general of the Central Institute of Forensic Science, Ministry of Justice, Thailand, and has 27 years experience in the field of forensic science.

The Thai expert came to the court at 8.50am wearing a tight top, long black skirt and boots, with a funky red and light brown streaked hairstyle.

She also prepared a slide presentation for the court to better understand her testimony.

“From the post-mortem picture, I found that there was a contusion on the right side of the neck, which we (pathologists) call a handle bruise, and this injury is compatible with injury caused by manual strangulation,” said Dr Porntip, who has conducted more than 10,000 post-mortems.

She said the injury was not indicated in the autopsy reports prepared by Dr Khairul Azman and Dr Prashant, which were given to her for examination.

“I also found penetration injury in the anal region which can be caused by inserting an object in that particular part. I have never seen such injury in cases of a fall from a height,” she said, pointing to the post-mortem pictures displayed on the slide.

She said she also found an abrasion on an upper thigh of Teoh which could have been caused by beating.

“Another injury which I found was fracture of the skull, which may have been caused by a direct blunt force to the skull prior to the fall,” said Dr Porntip, who is the 30th witness at the inquest.

She said it was possible that Teoh was unconscious when he fell from the fifth floor, based on the absence of reaction injuries on the body. She added that the wounds looked like pre-fall injuries, and the severe chest injury was the result of the primary impact on the ground.

When asked by counsel for the Selangor government, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, as to the abrasion mark found under Teoh’s shoe, the forensic expert said: “It looks like the body was dragged.

“In normal cases of a fall from a height, the shoes would not have left an abrasion mark like this,” she explained.

When asked by coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas whether the floor surface could have caused the dragging effect, Dr Porntip replied: “Hard and rough surface.”

“However my forensic team did not find anything that may have caused this effect when they examined the 14th floor (MACC office) the last time,” she said. — Bernama

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9 Responses to “80% chance of homicide in Teoh’s case”

  1. TEOH'S FRIEND says:

    Hopefully, Dr Porntip’s testimony will relieve Teoh’s sympathisers’ belief that he was killed rather than he committed suicide. Why it did not occur to the government-appointed pathologists to look at the other side of the coin for clues of homicide or was it [that] they only looked for clues [that] the relevant authorities wanted to establish? Malaysia boleh!

  2. Nicholas Aw says:

    Dr Porntip Rojanasunan comes with unquestionable credentials. The silent majority already know that Teoh Beng Hock did not take his own life. Why would a man who was to get married the next day do so?

    The fact remains that despite Dr Porntip Rojanasunan’s findings and appearance at the inquest, no conclusive evidence is present. Even though the coroner might rule that TBH did not commit suicide, I am skeptical that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.

    Whatever the outcome, one thing is for sure: the whole world is watching just as what happened at the Altantuya trial. With the passing of time, everything will be forgotten just as Razak Baginda is now comfortably settled in the UK. As they say: out of sight, out of mind. But one thing is for sure, the guilty ones who go [away] scot-free today will have to face the Creator on Judgement Day.

  3. elaine says:

    I was speechless when I read this. Cruelty and brutal anal penetration that brought immense pain and utter shame and humiliation to this man cut deep into the core of [my] being. How can human beings do this to another human being? For power? Fame? Money? For what? That we have decided to sell our soul so cheap? Have we lost the religious sense of fear of God when we profess our faith and carry out our ritual of worship in temples, churches and mosques? Have the leaders of the country heard the cries of Teoh for justice? Have their conscience [been] touched and converted? Or [do] we still live in denial and pretend nothing has really happened…..

  4. 2nd class says:

    So Dr Prashant’s findings in Kugan’s case is not reliable and should be thrown out of court?

  5. Victor says:

    Dear Editors: Elsewhere you see reports (Malaysian Insider, for e.g.) that attributed to Rojanasunan for saying Teoh did not die from a fall, hence contradicting the verdict of government appointed pathologist. This is false. Rojanasunan did not say nor did she mean that.

    For the record get a number of things straight, and be precise when reporting:

    1. Thai names. Like westerners, first or given name before surname. Hence Dr Rojanasunan, not Dr Porntip (unless you are on first name basis, observe a little courtesy.)

    2. Law of Averages. Briefly, this relates to the chance of an event happening after evening out the odds. The result is a mathematical quotient. Hence 80-to-20 out of, say, 100 percent. There is no such thing as “80% possibility”.

    3. Words. There is a Grand Canyon-sized gap between the words “possibility” and “probability”. Check the dictionary. The issue in question – whether homicide or suicide – is a probability factor sourced from the Law of Averages. It is possible for the sun to rise in the west. There is only a 0.00000000000000000000000000001 percent probability the sun will rise in the west. Possibility is voodoo stuff; probability is mathematical science. Dr Rojanasunan meant 80% probability, and she is dealing with science.

    Reporters, online and print, are so inane, it surprises they get into print. One would think you could do better because if you can’t get elementary fact rights, how do you illuminate your readers as you have claimed is the mission?

    Then there is this Malaysian preoccupation with sex. At Lim Kit Siang’s blog, the man allowed for seizing the opportunity with the name Porntip, and immediately had it published to say “porn” to give it all sorts of political interpretations. Not only are Malaysians appearing stupid, they read so very Anglophile in their language thinking, and so perverse. Worse than that, all three are true.

  6. davis says:

    Dr. Porntip, Khawp Khun.

  7. Gopal Raj Kumar says:

    It may seem like an opportunity to ridicule someone held in high esteem by many for what reason God knows. Her high profile and platforms perhaps.

    Porntip may be a qualified forensic pathologist in Thailand. She however lacks the skills for keeping her personal profile out of her work at the expense of her professional credibility.

    Let us assume she has some divine capacity to make findings in the nature of what she has in the absence of a body (corpse) that there is an 80% chance the man was murdered and a 20% chance he took his own life.

    In the first place there is no way in which anyone could conclusively tell a court that a particular wound was caused by a certain act or instrument.

    In this particular case she is reported as saying the marks around TBH’s neck were caused by physical stangulation. It is inadmissibale as evidence. Here is why.

    The marks around his neck and body observed in photos of a dead TBH without a physical examination of the body and tissue from the body in this respect becomes inadmissible hearsay. If admitted it can only be admitted to corroborate the claim of physical strangulation and not of suicide or murder.

    In any event she may only say that the marks are consistent with physical strangulation (I think whoever reported it may have meant physical strangulation by another person using his hands) and not that “it WAS caused by…….” which is misleading.

    As to the 80%-20% ratio she provides for a suicide to murder probability in her finding she provides the defendants an opportunity to get out of their mischief. Because if her evidence is to be admitted (and I hope not in such a condition in which she presents it) the fact that she alludes to an element of doubt in her findings she provides a critical tool for the defendants to seek an acquittal on the charges or a finding of not guilty because of the element of doubt she has already introduced in her report.

    How could someone like her discover the mental elements necessary for TBH to have taken his own life? That of itself is speculation.

    To impute murder at least has some legislative backing, because the legislation has provisions which could shift the onus of proof on to the defendants to discharge on the charge.

  8. 1. I say let Dr Pornthip do the investigation.

    2. The questions which we should all ask are :

    a. If TBH died from suicide, what is his motive? People do not just jump out of buildings one morning just for the sake of jumping. Something must have bothered/scared him?

    b. If TBH died from homicide. What is the motive? Ask any policeman around the world, all murders have motives. Who benefited the most from TBH’s [death]?

    3. Many pro-PR supporters jump in ecstasy when Dr Pornthip suggested that there could be an 80% chance of homicide and 20% of suicide. Many pro-BN supporters also whack the personality and physical features of Dr Pornthip upon hearing/reading this.

    4. I believe both reactions are premature. The notion that if TBH died because homicide = PR right, BN wrong, OR TBH died because of suicide = BN right, PR wrong is down right silly.

  9. megabigBLUR says:

    To Victor: this is a syndicated news article from the Bernama agency as you can see at the end of the article – they do indeed have notoriously bad reporting. Please don’t blame the Nut Graph’s editors.

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