Hong Kong court finds academic guilty in ‘yoga-ball’ murder case

The professor also told police after his arrest that Lily knew about the dangerous gas in the yoga ball, and suggested she may have wanted to commit suicide. (Shutter stock)
Updated 19 September 2018
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Hong Kong court finds academic guilty in ‘yoga-ball’ murder case

  • The wife, Wong Siew-fing, and 16-year-old daughter Lily were found by the roadside in a locked yellow Mini Cooper in 2015
  • Police found a deflated yoga ball in the back of the car

HONG KONG: A Malaysian professor was jailed for life in Hong Kong Wednesday for murdering his wife and teenage daughter using a yoga ball filled with carbon monoxide which he had placed in their car.
Khaw Kim-sun, 53, shook his head and looked at his three other children sitting in court on hearing the verdict, broadcaster RTHK reported. One of them burst into tears.
Prosecutors had told the High Court that Khaw left the inflatable ball in the boot of a car and the gas leaked out and killed them.
His wife Wong Siew-fing and 16-year-old daughter Lily were found by the roadside in a locked yellow Mini Cooper in 2015 in a case which initially baffled police.
The pair were certified dead at the same hospital where Khaw worked and a post-mortem concluded they had died from inhaling carbon monoxide. Police found a deflated yoga ball in the back of the car.
Prosecutors accused Khaw, a specialist in anaesthesiology and an associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, of hatching a murder plot because he was having an affair with a student.
The court heard earlier in the trial that Khaw had told colleagues he planned to use the gas on rabbits. He later told police he had taken it to get rid of rats at home.
The professor also told police after his arrest that Lily knew about the dangerous gas in the yoga ball, and suggested she may have wanted to commit suicide.
Khaw’s case was the second murder investigation involving an academic in recent months.
In August a University of Hong Kong professor was arrested on suspicion of killing his wife after police found a body stuffed in a suitcase in his office.


Iranian TV anchor held as witness is released from US jail

Updated 17 min 3 sec ago
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Iranian TV anchor held as witness is released from US jail

  • Marzieh Hashemi was detained by federal agents last week in St. Louis and transported to Washington
  • Her detention comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from a nuclear deal

WASHINGTON: A prominent American-born anchorwoman on Iranian state television who was jailed in the US as a material witness has been released from jail, activists and a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Marzieh Hashemi, 59, was released from jail in Washington on Wednesday evening after being detained for more than 10 days, according to Abed Ayoub, an attorney with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Hashemi, who works for the Press TV network’s English-language service, was detained by federal agents Jan. 13 in St. Louis, Missouri, where she had filmed a Black Lives Matter documentary after visiting relatives in the New Orleans area, her son said. She was then transported to Washington and had remained behind bars since then.
Hashemi appeared at least twice before a US District judge in Washington, and court papers said she would be released immediately after her testimony before a grand jury. Court documents did not include details on the criminal case in which she was named a witness.
Federal law allows judges to order witnesses to be detained if the government can prove that their testimony has extraordinary value for a criminal case and that they would be a flight risk and unlikely to respond to a subpoena. The statute generally requires those witnesses to be promptly released once they are deposed.
A person familiar with the matter said Hashemi had fulfilled her obligation as a material witness and was released. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Hashemi is a US citizen and was born Melanie Franklin. She lives in Tehran and comes back to the United States about once a year to see her family, usually scheduling documentary work in the US, her son said.
Asked whether his mother had been involved in any criminal activity or knew anyone who might be implicated in a crime, Hossein Hashemi said, “We don’t have any information along those lines.”
He didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking comment on Wednesday.
Marzieh Hashemi’s detention comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from a nuclear deal. Iran also faces increasing criticism of its own arrests of dual citizens and other people with Western ties.
Earlier Wednesday, dozens of activists protested outside the federal courthouse in Washington, where Hashemi was scheduled to appear before the grand jury. They held signs and chanted, “Free, free, Marzieh!” and “Shame, shame, USA!“