Accidents happen all the time. Some of them, like breaking a coffee mug or falling off a bike, are relatively innocuous. They’ll ruin your day, but not your life. Some accidents, however, can have deadly consequences for those involved.
Recently, Chinese police and paramedics were called to the scene of what looked like an incident involving a carbon monoxide leak in a car. They quickly labeled the case an accident, until they realized that this tragedy may not have been an accident after all…
Tong Yuk-ling stepped out for her morning jog. Everything seemed normal when she noticed a car parked on the side of the road straight ahead of her. The runner gazed into the Mini Cooper to see two women sound asleep within. They appeared to be peacefully napping.
One More Pass
The runner thought nothing of the strange sight until she ran back the other way. As she passed the car again, she halted briefly to check on its occupants. It had been 45 minutes since she’d seen them and the women inside the Mini Cooper appeared just as motionless as before.
The other thing that the runner noticed was that even though it hadn’t rained, the windshield wipers were on. It was a strange coincidence to be sure. She called the police, who then took the two women to a nearby hospital in Sha Tin. Unfortunately, help had come too late.
Late Rescue Attempt
Wong Siew-fung and her daughter Khaw Li-ling, had been dead a long while when the runner found them in the Mini Cooper. Evidence indicated that the two had died from inhaling carbon monoxide. There was something different about this case, however.
Because the two women had died of carbon monoxide poisoning, the Mini Cooper was subjected to a thorough inspection. Oddly enough, the car showed no defects at all. The exhaust worked fine, the ventilation system was intact, and nothing had been altered within the car to force carbon monoxide back into the cab.
The investigating officials did notice something strange within the vehicle, however. The trunk contained a deflated exercise ball, which some preliminary tests indicated might have contained a lethal amount of carbon monoxide. But who would fill a ball with deadly gas and put it in the back of a car?
Khaw Kim-sun, 53, father and husband of the victims, was grieving. The associate professor had just learned that his wife and his 16-year-old daughter had both been found dead in their vehicle; the apparent victims of some sort of strange carbon monoxide poisoning. He appeared to take the news rather hard even though he and his wife weren’t on the best terms.
The reason that he and his wife weren’t on the best terms was because the associate professor had been having an affair with one of his students. Because of this new relationship, he had been seeking to divorce for some time, albeit unsuccessfully.
Unfortunately for him, his wife was having none of it. She wasn’t about to lose her husband to some fling. Despite the fact that Khaw asked her many times for a divorce, she refused to cooperate with or enter into any formal proceedings.
It was because of his affair and attempt to divorce his wife that police immediately turned their attention to Khaw as the main suspect. It was very possible that he had deliberately placed the gas-filled ball in his wife’s car with the intention to kill her. Yet, if he just intended to kill his wife to get out of the marriage, why kill his daughter as well?
The police actually don’t believe he intended to kill his daughter at all. They realized this when they’d heard that Khaw had urged his daughter to stay home that day and to finish her homework. He didn’t want her to go driving with her mother for some reason. Evidently, she didn’t listen to him.
The police and prosecution had even more evidence against Khaw by virtue of his background as well. Khaw was an anesthetist in addition to an associate professor, he even worked at Prince of Wales Hospital where his wife and daughter were brought following their deaths. This proved that he knew how deadly and toxic carbon monoxide was.
In addition to possessing this knowledge, Khaw also had ample access to the gas via a flimsy research project he’d embarked on as an associate professor. His research assistant, investigation would eventually determine, happened to be the same student he’d been having an affair with.
There was also evidence that some of Khaw’s colleagues had seen him filling up two separate exercise balls with the deadly gas. When they asked him why in the world he was filling them with carbon monoxide, he told them that he planned to use the balls to gas rabbits. It was an odd answer to be sure.
A Scientist Would Know …
Khaw’s colleagues were shocked by his plan. First and foremost, any scientist would know that such an experiment would not be transferable to human beings. Secondly, even if it was, it was exceptionally dangerous to store such toxic gasses in something as flimsy as an inflatable ball. They weren’t exactly known for their long-term durability.
Not His First Attempt
Also, Khaw obviously understood the risk to himself. Transferring the balls home would be just as dangerous as filling them and he seemed to have minimized that risk by having a carbon monoxide meter in his car when he took the two balls home. It became increasingly apparent that Khaw was the one behind his family’s murder.
Invoices in Khaw’s name also indicated that he’d spent a lot of money on high-purity carbon monoxide. Though he posited that it was for his experiment, of course. When the police arrived at his home and asked about the purpose of the balls and the gas, he gave a different answer than he’d given his colleagues.
Khaw told police officers that he had taken the gas home in the yoga balls in order to exterminate rats in his house. Not only would a scientist working with carbon monoxide know this was extremely dangerous, but a domestic helper in his employ told the police that Khaw had no rodents in his home. Still, Khaw had one more card to play.
Khaw suggested that it was his daughter, Li-ling who might have used the gas-filled balls from his experiments to commit suicide. This was a lie and was confirmed by Li-ling’s teachers who said she was a happy and fulfilled student. That he would even attempt to lie about such a thing was inexcusable.
It Does Kill
It is very likely that Khaw planted the carbon monoxide filled ball(s) inside the car with the intention of killing his wife. Khaw has since plead not guilty and is awaiting a verdict. Though he has yet to be convicted, the facts all seem to point to his direct involvement in what appears to be a double homicide.