SHAH ALAM – There is an ‘80% possibility’ of homicide and ‘20% chance’ of suicide in the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock.
Thai pathologist Dr Porntip Rojanasunan said this at the coroner’s court here Wednesday when testifying in the inquest of the late political aide to Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah.
She said Teoh suffered several injuries before he fell and died at the Plaza Masalam building here on July 16.
The political aide, 30, had been at the Selangor office of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on the 14th floor of the building a day earlier to help in the MACC’s probe of alleged misuse of state allocations by exco members. He was found dead at 5th floor of the plaza.
Dr Porntip said the injuries on Teoh included a penetration in the anal region, an abrasion on the thigh and strangle bruises on the neck, which were all incompatible with a fall from a height.
A celebrity corpse investigator
The 54-year-old expert, who was asked by the Selangor government to testify on the cause of Teoh’s death, said her findings were based on autopsy reports by Dr Khairul Azman and Dr Prashant Naresh Samberkar and post-mortem pictures made available to her.
The renowned and flamboyant Dr Pornthip is the director and co-founder of the Thai Justice Ministry’s Central Institute of Forensic Science.
She is well-known for her prowess in cracking open complicated homicide cases and is a celebrity of sorts in her homeland.
She is the author of Investigation of Corpses which sold 100,000 copies in Thailand, and also led a group of international forensic scientists in 2004 to identify the remains of the Asian tsunami victims.
Her life and work was narrated in a National Geographic documentary entitled Crime Scene Bangkok in 2004.
The Thai expert came to the court at 8.50am wearing a tight-top, long black skirt and boots, with a funky red and light brown streaks hair-style.
She had also prepared a slide presentation to assist the court to better understand her testimony.
“From the post-mortem picture, I found that there was a contusion on the right side of the neck, which we (pathologists) call a handle bruise, and this injury is compatible with injury caused by manual strangulation,” said Dr Porntip, who has conducted more than 10,000 post-mortems.
She said the injury was not indicated in the autopsy reports prepared by Dr Khairul Azman and Dr Prashant, which were given to her for examination.
‘Never seen such injury in cases of a fall’
“I also found penetration injury in the anal region which can be caused by inserting an object in that particular part. I have never seen such injury in cases of a fall from a height,” she said, pointing to the post-mortem pictures displayed on the slide.
She said she also found an abrasion on an upper thigh of Teoh which could have been caused by beating.
“Another injury which I found was fracture of the skull, which may have been caused by a direct blunt force to the skull prior to the fall,” said Dr Porntip, who is the 30th witness at the inquest.
She said it was possible that Teoh was unconscious when he fell from the fifth floor, based on the absence of reaction injuries on the body, and added that the wounds looked like pre-fall injuries, and the severe chest injury was the result of the primary impact on the ground.
When asked by counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, for the Selangor government, as to the abrasion mark found under Teoh’s shoe, the forensic expert said: “It looks like the body had been dragged.
“In normal cases of a fall from a height, the shoes would not have left an abrasion mark like this,” she explained.
When asked by coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas whether the floor surface could have caused the dragging effect, Dr Porntip replied: “Hard and rough surface.”
“However my forensic team did not find anything that may have caused this effect when they examined the 14th floor (MACC office) the last time,” she said. – Bernama
Director of the Forensic Science Institute, Ministry of Justice and human rights activist
Name in Thai: พรทิพย์ โรจนสุนันท์
Date of Birth: 1955-12-21
Place of Birth: Bangkok
1999 Forensic Pathology จาก Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Washington, DC สหรัฐอเมริกา
Honor/Achievements: 2003 Conferred with royal decoration Chulchomklao (fourth degree) and the title “Khunying”
Marital Status: Married to Viroj Rojanasunand with one daughter, Yaravee Rojanasunand