Hong Kong girl, 15, had plastic ties embedded in her skin, doctor testifies at murder trial
Forensic pathologist tells High Court girl was dead ‘within minutes’ of tightening of straps
A 15-year-old girl had straps wrapped so tightly around her neck that the plastic embedded into her skin and possibly killed her within minutes, a forensic pathologist told a Hong Kong murder trial on Tuesday.
The High Court heard that was one of three causes contributing to the death of Kwok Wai-ming by “mechanical asphyxia”, about a day before she was dumped half-naked in the public refuse collection point at Portland Street, Mong Kok, on December 9, 2014.
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Dr Foo Ka-chung said the girl was found in a “fetal position”, with adhesive tape covering her nose and mouth and plastic straps around her left ankle and so tightly encircling her neck that they were “embedded into the skin”.
An autopsy revealed there were bruises, abrasions and lacerations over her body – some thought to be defensive injuries – and signs of sexual trauma, Foo said.
The forensic pathologist concluded that Kwok had “tried to struggle or protect herself in the attack” but eventually died of “mechanical asphyxia” caused by the plastic straps, adhesive tapes and manual strangulation. The time of her death was placed “within minutes” after the final tightening of the straps.
He also found “there was no obvious inconsistency” between his findings and the account of events offered by Lau Cheung-fai, 37, who had admitted to investigators that he struck Kwok with a ketchup bottle, bounded her with ties and tape, and sexually assaulted her.
The unemployed Lau has denied murdering Kwok, who agreed to model for him, in his Mong Kok flat on or about December 8, 2014.
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The court heard that he too was injured when Foo examined him the following day.
Abrasions were found on his lips, neck, and fingers, with reddish marks on his chest and bruises on his legs.
Foo said it was possible the abrasions could have been caused by Kwok scratching him, and agreed with the prosecutor that the lip injury might have been the result of a fight.
The jury trial continues on Wednesday before Mr Justice Kevin Zervos.