Pathologist unable to find cause of death for model

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 March, 2006, 12:00am

A pathologist could not ascertain the cause of model Annie Pang Chor-ying's death because only the skeleton was left when her remains were found in her Yau Ma Tei flat in 1999, the Coroner's Court heard yesterday.

Hau Kong-lung said Pang's death could possibly have been caused by natural disease, trauma, suffocation or a drug overdose, but he was unable to tell even after a detailed examination of the skeleton. The pathologist told coroner's officer Dee Crebbin he could not find anything unusual to make him feel suspicious about the death.

Coroner Colin Mackintosh heard that Dr Hau was asked by police to conduct an examination after the skeleton was discovered on October 7, 1999, in the bedroom of a Yau Ma Tei flat that the model rented from lawyer John Fang, the brother of former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang.

Arriving at the flat the next day, he saw the skeleton lying on the floor next to the bed. The head and three upper vertebrae of the neck were in a rubbish bin next to the skeleton.

'The skull was actually found upside down in the rubbish bin,' he said.

Dr Hau said he believed her head was leaning against the edge of the rubbish bin when Pang died at least one to two years before the remains were found.

He said decomposition probably resulted in the head becoming detached after the soft tissue binding the bones disintegrated.

'I found it natural for the skull to fall inside the rubbish bin' he said, adding that there was no cut mark or sign of injury on the neck bones or any other bones of the skeleton.

'Traces of morphine were found in the hair sample,' he said.

He suspected Pang had a history of drug use because the finding 'indicates previous exposure to morphine substances such as cocaine and heroin'.

Chan Ming-ming, of the Yau Ma Tei Psychiatric Centre, told the court Pang had revealed her drug history when Dr Chan had first met her on December 9, 1994.

Dr Chan said Pang had complained about discomfort in her head, having uncontrolled thoughts and feeling anxious.

Pang told the doctor she took hypnotics, including midazolam. Pang also said she was worried when she realised she was taking an increasing quantity of them.

Dr Chan said Pang took heroin and Ice in the week before they met. She had last seen Pang on May 2, 1995, when Pang complained of convulsions and vague pain throughout her body.

Dr Chan said Pang's mental state was unstable and she had a problem with salivation. She believed these were 'withdrawal symptoms' as Pang had said she was quitting her drug habit.

The inquest into Pang's death continues on Monday.