A 12-YEAR-OLD boy in trouble for playing truant may have been killed before he mysteriously plunged from a block of flats. The Coroner's Court was told Ho Tai-wai had suspicious injuries, including a broken spine, which were probably inflicted before the fall. The jury decided there was not enough evidence to say Ho was unlawfully killed and returned an open verdict. Pathologist Dr Beh Swan-lip said the injuries could have been caused by strangulation or by the boy being put in an arm-hold. But extensive police inquiries failed to find a witness to the fall, or a suspect. Ho was found dead on September 20 at the foot of a 10-storey block on King's Road, North Point, hours after being scolded by his parents for skipping school. His mother Li Sai-fung, 37, wept in the witness box as she described how, on the morning of September 20, she told her son not to come home unless he enrolled in school. But Mrs Li said her son was a happy-go-lucky boy who often shrugged off such threats. ''I don't believe he would commit suicide,'' she said. ''He was afraid of heights.'' The boy's father, Ho Yung, 43, who is separated from his wife, saw Ho early that afternoon and also reprimanded his son. He sent Ho back to his mother's flat to collect the school enrolment form, but the son never arrived. When his absence was discovered the parents searched for him until midnight, but learned of his death the next day after reporting him missing to police. Dr Beh said some of Ho's injuries were consistent with a fall, but others were not. He described as ''extremely suspicious'' bruises about the boy's neck and a fracture of the cervical spine. Dr Beh said: ''This is indicative of pressure being applied either by strangulation or an arm-hold. ''He might have been dead or dying before he fell from a height. I'm sure he had lost his consciousness before he fell.''