Malaysian doctor gets life term for 'yoga ball' murders of wife and daughter in Hong Kong

HONG KONG - A Malaysian doctor has been sentenced to life behind bars for poisoning and killing his wife and daughter with a leaking yoga ball which he plumped up with carbon monoxide.

A jury made up of nine people unanimously found Khaw Kim Sun, 53, guilty of two counts of murder for the deaths of Ms Wong Siew Fing, 47, and Ms Lily Khaw Li Ling, 16, on May 22, 2015.

The mother and daughter were found dead on a roadside in a yellow Mini Cooper driven by Ms Wong, gassed by the inflatable yoga ball which prosecutors alleged - without providing evidence - that Khaw had placed in the boot.

Khaw, a doctor at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin and associate professor in anaesthesiology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, was seen by colleagues filling two yoga balls with carbon monoxide.

He told them he planned to use the gas on rabbits in an experiment, but later told police it was meant to get rid of rats at home.

He said that he put the two balls in his car and deflated one the next day as it was leaking.

Prosecutors alleged that Khaw, who was having an affair with a student and whose wife refused to divorce him, had orchestrated a "deliberate and calculated" plot in ordering carbon monoxide through his university office and claiming it was for research purposes.

Khaw claimed that his teenage daughter probably used the yoga ball to commit suicide.

But the jury did not believe him. High Court judge Judianna Barnes on Wednesday (Sept 19) said the murders were premeditated and sentenced him to life in prison for each count of murder, Apple Daily reported.

After the sentence was passed, Khaw reportedly turned to look at his three other children, who were also in court to hear the verdict, shaking his head as if to say he did not do it despite the court decision, according to Apple Daily.

Khaw's case was one of two murder cases in the Chinese territory that have made headlines worldwide recently.

University of Hong Kong associate professor Cheung Kie Chung, 53, was in August charged with the murder of his wife whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase in his office after he reported her missing.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.