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Hong Kong courts

Scarf probably used to strangle Hong Kong wardrobe murder victim, court hears

Doctor who carried out postmortem on flight attendant also says accused’s claim of attempting resuscitation does not match physical findings

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 April, 2018, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 April, 2018, 11:18pm

A Hong Kong flight attendant was probably strangled by her ex-boyfriend with a scarf and not just his bare hands, before her body was hidden in a wardrobe, a doctor told a court on Friday.

The government pathologist’s testimony also countered claims by defendant Oscar Mok Chun-yin, 30, who earlier told police he had tried to resuscitate his ex-girlfriend, Arbe Chan Man-yi, 26, after squeezing her neck at her flat in Tsuen Wan on December 4, 2013.

Mok has denied murdering Chan but does not dispute that he killed her, citing an uncontrollable rage upon finding out she had a new boyfriend.

‘I didn’t mean to kill her,’ wardrobe murder accused told police after strangling girlfriend

Testifying at the High Court on Friday, Dr Lai Sai-chak said his examination led him to believe the accused had most likely used a tool for the strangulation.

Lai also observed a conspicuous lack of injuries to Chan’s chest. People receiving resuscitation are normally injured by it.

“[It’s] either an exaggeration or he did not do it at all,” the doctor said, referring to the accused.

According to prosecutors, Mok went to see Chan hoping to reconcile with her on December 4, 2013. But the encounter took a fatal turn after he learned of her new boyfriend. Mok then killed Chan before hiding her body in a wardrobe, he told police in an interview in 2017.

Days after the killing, Mok fled to mainland China, where he eventually met a new girlfriend with whom he fathered a son, now two years old. He spoke to police after mainland authorities handed him back to Hong Kong in February last year. 

On Friday, Lai told the court he conducted a postmortem on Chan and found injuries on the front of her neck.

Pressing or squeezing only by his bare hands did not seem to be a satisfactory explanation
Dr Lai Sai-chak, pathologist

The doctor said the injuries included various horizontal cuts. There were also three scratch marks as well as a bruise mark that could have been caused by Mok exerting pressure on the scarf with his fingers.

The court heard that Chan was dressed in her Dragonair flight attendant’s uniform and scarf when her body was discovered on December 8, 2013. Lai found two more bruises at the back of her neck.

He said if Mok had indeed strangled Chan by pressing and squeezing her neck as the accused claimed, it would be difficult to see how the assault would produce the horizontal abrasions.

“Pressing or squeezing only by his bare hands did not seem to be a satisfactory explanation,” Lai added.

The doctor went on to conclude that Chan was most likely strangled with a “ligature” – namely, the scarf. He said its use was possibly coupled with more strangulation by hand, either before or after the scarf was used to constrict Chan’s breathing.

The case continues on Monday before Mr Justice Joseph Yau Chi-lap.