No sign of a scar after cheating death

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 August, 2011, 12:00am


Detective Inspector Chan Sze-ki underwent numerous operations after cheating death when he was shot in the head at point-blank range in a raid in 1992.

But you wouldn't know it to look at him now. There is no sign of a scar.

'If I did not tell you that I am Chan Sze-ki, you may probably ask: were you really shot? You must be kidding.'

The only visible sign of the surgery that saved Chan's life is a marking on each of his sideburns. Dr John Kwok Ching-kwong, the consultant neurosurgeon who carried out the operations at Kwong Wah Hospital in Yau Ma Tei, cut open Chan's head along the hairline, which meant the hair covered both the scar and bullet wound. 'Even when Dr Kwok cut open my head to perform brain surgery, he was taking care of my cosmetic concerns. What else do I need to worry about?' he said.

The surgeon recalls the critical condition Chan was in. 'In 10 minutes, he would have lost all his blood. His mouth was full of blood and we could not even insert a tube,' Kwok said.

A team of doctors was rushed in from the hospital's intensive care unit to help stem the bleeding. That allowed Kwok to continue saving Chan's life - and his sight.

'The bullet passed between two optical nerves, without causing him blindness. It was really a miracle,' Kwok said.

However, there was still one problem. A crack in his skull caused by the impact of the bullet troubled Chan for nine years after the operation. As part of his brain was pressing down on the crack, Chan's life was again in the balance.

After a brain scan revealed the problem, which put Chan at risk of a potentially fatal type of meningitis, Kwok operated on Chan for the fourth time in 2001. The complex surgery proved to be a success.

Travelling between a police station and the century-old hospital over the past two decades, Chan became more than just a patient to Kwok. 'Now, every time I see Dr Kwok, we exchange our experiences in raising our daughters,' he said. 'When I come back for a medical consultation, I need to say sorry to the patients queuing up outside, as we have a lot to share.'