“Dr Death” drops bombshell at Teoh inquest


Thailand’s most senior forensic pathologist, the renowned Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand, dropped a bombshell at the Teoh Beng Hock inquest today.

Dr Pornthip is the Director-General of the Central Forensic Science Institute, Ministry of Justice, in Bangkok - Photo credit: thaitsunamihelp.org

This is the latest via Twitter from Malaysian Insider:

  • Dr Pornthip steps out of witness box.
  • Dr Pornthip says, “I never want to criticise the police & doctors.”
  • Dr Pornthip requests Azmil to make statement to media, stresses she is here to offer opinion only.
  • Magistrate Azmil Munthapa Abas, acting as coroner, thanks Dr Pornthip for helping inquest.
  • Dr Pornthip says will take longer time due to decomposition of body but that won’t affect her final analysis.
  • Dr Pornthip tells court she is prepared to do 2nd autopsy even if have to exhume Teoh’s body.
  • Dr Pornthip disagrees with Tan’s suggestion.
  • Tan suggests to Dr Pornthip that she doesn’t have enough basis to conclude Teoh’s death is 80pct homicide & 20pct suicide.
  • Tan reads out Dr Prashant’s nine reasons for concluding Teoh committed suicide, one by one.
  • Dr Pornthip says she can’t answer Tan’s questions because the investigation is incomplete.
  • Dr Pornthip says if bone fragments were found in the anal area, it’d be compatible with injury caused there by fall from a height.
  • Dr Pornthip replies yes to Tan but adds its uncommon.
  • Tan reads Dr Prashant’s analysis on anal injury and asks Dr Pornthip if penetration can be caused by bone fracture after a high fall.
  • Dr Pornthip says strangulation signs may not always leave marks on the skin but can be detected under the skin.
  • Tan shows Teoh’s photos to Dr Pornthip & asks if she spots signs of strangulations she had described earlier. She says no.
  • Dr Pornthip says she didn’t get copies of all documents from the Selangor government which engaged her.
  • Replying to Tan Hock Chuan, Dr Pornthip wished she had a chance to talk to the two pathologists who did Teoh autopsy on the results.
  • Dr Pornthip returns to witness box for cross-examination after court resumes after lunch.
  • Court allows Dr Pornthip to examine Teoh’s shoes to confirm her hypothesis that he was dragged before falling to death.
  • Coroner’s court breaks for lunch and will resume at 2pm.
  • DPP Kevin Morais, acting for the MACC, asks Dr Pornthip to clarify definition of strangulation.
  • Dr Pornthip says Teoh’s death is 80pct homicide and 20pct suicide.
  • Dr Pornthip confirms that Teoh was alive when he hit the ground but may have been unconscious even before falling.
  • Dr Pornthip says skull fracture not typical of injury from fall but more compatible from blunt force applied directly to the skull.
  • Dr Pornthip notes round marks on Teoh’s neck could mean ‘manual strangulation’ with fingers.
  • Dr Pornthip says injury to Teoh’s anus caused by penetration with object before fall, based on pictures taken from death site.
  • Dr Pornthip gives a graphic power point display based on a post-mortem pictures to show & explain Teoh’s injuries.
  • Dr Pornthip tells court not all injuries on Teoh’s body consistent with fall from a height.
  • Dr Pornthip explains her views are based on Teoh’s autopsy report.
  • Questioned by Malik, Dr Pornthip says Teoh died from a fall about 6am to 8am on July 16, 2009.
  • Dr Pornthip tells court she has conducted more than 10,000 autopsies, of which about 100 dealt with fatal falls from a high place.
  • Court resumes with Dr Pornthip taking oath at witness box.
  • Teoh Beng Hock’s parents, elder brother & younger sister in court to hear Dr Pornthip’s testimony.
  • Court stands down until 10.15am to set up equipment for Dr Pornthip’s evidence, expected to last an hour.
  • Selangor lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar introduces Dr Pornthip as expert witness for the inquest.
  • AG’s lawyer Tan Hock Chuan introduces UKM forensic chief Prof Shahrom Abd Wahid to sit in for back-up explanation.
  • Court sets up projector system in front of witness box for evidence from Dr Pornthip.
  • The Selangor government has engaged Dr Pornthip to testify as expert witness.
  • Famous Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand to testify today. She worked on Asian Tsunami victims & David Carradine’s death.
  • Coroner’s court resumes hearing on Teoh Beng Hock’s death today.
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David Kallenbach

Dr. Pornthip’s claims to having performed over 10,000 autopsies requires further close scrutiny given her propensity to … exaggerate (such as her admission to forcing a second autopsy by (allegedly) lying to the authorities).

At 52 it simply means she has without having a holiday for the past 27 years and say 4 months udnertaken an autopsy a day. That would mean that Dr. Pornthip was actively conducting autopsies at the rate of one a day (no holidays) since the age of 25.

There is something about this woman that needs more than just closer examination….


All same lah semua cover up(?)




Folks I hear that the Selangor govt is (allegedly) paying her … for her services. I wonder if the Selangor PR govt in the interest of transparency will confirm this fact as this involve public funds. I am not against employing of foreign experts or paying them what they worth but paying someone (an) exhorbitant amount could possibly lead to accusations that the expert being made to take a stance to help her paymaster. I think the charges for an autopsy (could) be much heftier and hope this too would be made public since we the rakyat (could be) picking… Read more »


its the price to pay to set things straight since banyak-banyak ppl already serong.
the tbh case is of national concern for the obvious fact that it questions the accountability of the ppl at MACC and the Govt.
The selangor govt got involved because it happened in ……………….. duh.
we are gladly picking up the tab.
u dont wanna go to MACC for late nite investigations now, do you, Mr/Ms K?


I don’t see any accusations with Dr Death’s statement. I don’t know much about autopsy, but I don’t think it’s wrong to draw an inference from reports. It’s just one of the many phases of investigation isn’t it? If she has conducted an autopsy, visited the crime seen, and possess all empirical data (K’s criteria), it doesn’t have to be 80% anymore isn’t it? Come on, it’s just one of the many phases of investigation isn’t it? Even doctors provide provisional diagnoses based on the patients’ history before he/she arrives at the definite diagnosis after physical examination and lab investigations.… Read more »


Dear layman I think you are missing the point here. Let me lay out the key issues : 1. Dr PR cannot make a guess at 80% level based purely on the documents and photos alone especially when this new theory is completely at odd with 2 other pathologists. A responsible pathologist would have made more physical analysis and investigation to support this new theory. 2. Dr PR didnt provide any emprical data on how this “80%” confidence level was arrived at. 3. The evidences and proofs for homicide cited by Dr PR were so simple that any pathologists would… Read more »


Morning Dew @ 11.05pm The “facts” that you have presented is not something new but been presented in some other blogs that I have seen. Let me re-state that I am not saying this is not a homicide or suicide. All I am saying is that without a 2nd autopsy and further analysis, Dr PR has way of making such claims. The arguments of Dr PR are deeply flawed and her predictions are unprofessional since she did not : 1. conduct an autopsy 2. visit the scene of crime 3. speak to the 2 pathologists 4. there is absolutely no… Read more »


I think they will claim that since there is a 20% probability so this is not convincingly conclusive as there is a 20% shadow of a doubt. Enough to throw away the expert opinion….?


It’s not 80:20, it’s 80:(20+2×95), or well over 2(suicide) to 1(murder) isn’t it? Nice of Dr Porn to give us odds. How ‘probably’ did the other pathologists put it?

I am /jolly/ impressed by the credentials of my fellow commenters, I can tell you.

Sang Song

Well, Dr Pornthip’s 80/20 conclusion is based on conclusions derived from informed findings by the two local pathologists and her years of experience on this topic.

In the realm of statistics, this conclusion was arrived from her extensive involvement in over 10,000 forensic and high rise suicide cases and the factual findings from our local pathologists.

She had access to voluminous documents provided.Hence the probability of her conclusion is beyond any shadow of doubt.


Well, a guess from reports is still a guess from reports. From my understanding, Dr Death was just saying that, based on the reports, it is more likely to be a homicide than suicide. ‘No professional makes a quantitive estimate without access to all data, documents, body, scene of crime’? Is this a fact? I’m not too sure. Once proven it becomes 100%? So what are the other figures for? I personally don’t think it’s unprofessional to make a guestimate. But I personally believe the chances of 2 eminent pathologists ‘missing out’ such obvious signs of homicide is not low… Read more »

Phua Kai Lit

Dear K 2:16 pm My last message to you on this topic: : You minored in maths at uni? Well, I teach stats at university level, my friend. (I don’t claim to be an expert though, my area of expertise is public health of which biostatistics is a major component) Again, statistics is all about probability, my friend. If you remember your statistics and hyppothesis testing and all that, you reject your null hypothesis and accept your research hypothesis using certain decision rules. If you accept your research hypothesis, there is still a small possibility that you are wrong (given… Read more »


Phua There is a huge difference between “estimate” based on available and verifiable data and one based on some vague concepts called “past experience” and “guest”. As I had said earlier, no professional will make a quantitive estimate without access to all data, documents, body, scene of crime,etc. If he / she does that, then the person is no better than the pasar malam snake oil peddler. Even if we use a layperson’s concept of probablity, the chances of 2 eminent pathologists missing out such obvious signs of homicide must be very low indeed. As I had said no pathologist… Read more »

Morning Dew

I don’t quite understand how you had concluded that Dr.PR had no access to the evidences ? If she had no access to them then how could she be so specific about her comments. What is even more damning was how wounds not consistent with a fall from height was dismissed, ignored or not commented on by our brilliant pathologists. These were the documents that was available to her : 1) Autopsy Report (I 42) 2) All photos in I 43 (a thick bundle of photographs) 3) All photos in I 55 (scanned photos from the original) 4) All photos… Read more »


Dear Morning Dew Well, this case is not a straight-forward death like a car accident but a death in a suspicious circumstances. As such, to verify the cause, the pathologists needs to access to all physical and all other direct and indirect supporting information. It is easy to pick one piece of evidence and then use it to support your theory. If you recall the pathologists’ testimonies earlier, they did say that while they cannot discount homicide but most wounds are consistent with suicide. In this case, Dr Death claims Teoh was strangled but upom questioning she was unable even… Read more »

Morning Dew

Would you not agree that the documentations of all relevant evidences were already present within the documents given to her ? A physical examination will only confirm and perhaps also result in further discovery. But for all intents and purposes the evidences are already available to her and all who wish to examine it. The strangulation comment was a result of our own 2 pathologists observation of sub-dermal contusion. The 2 earlier pathologists chose to ignore this piece of very VITAL information. Why ? And why do you kept harping on this while your objection was already demolished earlier on… Read more »

Phua Kai Lit

Dear “K 9:09 am” I don’t want to post too many comments on this site. Especially on technical stuff like statistics. But I have to reply to your comments. 1. In statistics, 80% vs 20% is pretty high probability for the former. The usual cut-off point is 95% for acceptance of a particular hypothesis. 2. So, Dr Porntip is saying that the probability of homicide is very high (but there is still a probability of suicide – but the probability is very much lower). You say that hers is a “wild-guess”. I disagree with you, I would say that it… Read more »


Phua Well, just because you studied statistics as a subject doesn’t make you an expert in it. FYI my minor in the Uni was maths and I am able to pretty much discuss any advanced maths subjects. As such I found your comments about statistics rather amusing. Here’s my reply. 1. Making an estimate of 80% / 20% in this case is not statistics but a joke. Statistics involve data that can be analysed and the result proven quantitatively. In this case, the figure was based not on data but some nebulous concept called “past experience”. 2. This is a… Read more »


Folks Some clarification as some people here seemed to be confused.I am certainly NOT the same person as Gerakan K nor I am in any way connected with this person. Interesting case this. I am no pathologist and I don’t even watch CSI. It is hard for us to verify the actual cause as we are neither trained in this field nor we have the necessary data to make any conclussion. However, I must say that I am puzzled by Dr Death’s conclussion since it is highly unprofessional for any professional or scientifically-trained person to make any quantitative prediction without… Read more »

Morning Dew

K, it is not true that she had no access to all the evidences. She based her conclusions – and well reasoned conclusions – from all the evidences that was collected by our 2 pathologists. As an example both our pathologists noted that there were strangulation marks beneath the dermis but it was not obvious from the photograph. Our 2 brilliant pathologists did not comment on this vital piece of information. Why ? On the other hand Dr.PR said that such contusion is consistent with strangulation and not fall from a high place. And to extend from this I would… Read more »


Dear Morning Dew Pls do take note that I am not taking sides or ruling that this could indeed be a homicide. My point is simple. No professional could make a conclussion especially saying that it has 80% certainity without access to all data, documents, scene of crime, body, and the results of all tests. Any conclussion cannot be based on a single supporting fact but a consistent alignment of all relevant parameters. I can’t quite see how experienced pathologists could have missed obvious signs such as strangulation marks. Perhaps you might recall Dr Prashant to be someone of high… Read more »

Morning Dew

Dr.PR did have access to all the relevant details. Her testmony was based on a set of documents which she recounted in court and all were on display in the attorney general’s website. Whatever she had said were based on the findings of our own pathologists but her interpretation was very different in a number of the evidences. For eg. the anal penetration. She said it was from an external object and could not have come from the fractured hip bone. The size of the wound was just too large and the absence of bone fragments in the anus was… Read more »


Eerrr…. A question..

Why would the good Dr. Porntip suggest a 2nd autopsy if what our “own” 2 CSI findings are right..?????

Why would she even bother..??? Perhaps photos & reports “DO NOT” add up yah….!!!

She “does” speaks on behalf of the dead. And the dead is also trying to “tell” us what happened…!!!

Then we’ll hear that the “expert” with many, many back-up dead bodies is wrong……!

Phua Kai Lit

Dear Katharina Sri

Poor Mr Teoh was probably sexually assaulted in the anus with a “foreign object”. So, he was not raped in the conventional sense.

P.S. May those who did this to him pay for their

Phua Kai Lit

Gerakan K

“A person who knows not and knows not he knows not is a fool”

You don’t know what the definition of
“odds” is??

Here is a basic lesson in statistics:

Probability of getting a “6” with one throw of a die is 1/6

The odds of getting a “6” with one throw of a die is

Faham sekarang ??? Or you need more lessons in basic statistics??

Assoc Professor Phua Kai Lit

Samuel Goh Kim Eng


What more can anyone now openly say
With what happened between night and day
If only all the dead could still freely talk
There would be many other culprits to stalk

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng – 221009
Thur. 22nd Oct. 2009.


We need to be responsible before making a mockery on the death’s findings of Teoh. Dun take side on politics, just be truthful, because any wrongful mockery is tantamount to condemnation when you face God. Even the Malaysian Prime Minister also not making any mockery. Be careful because you will be responsible for what you are saying.

Katharina Sri (former: Noor Aza)

This is so terrible and so tragic – imagine the horror that Mr. Teoh was going through, including being raped probably! …

Look at (those religious politicians and officer) busily condemning attacking personal lives of believers, including petty ones, whilst being silent on such evil and monstrous crimes…!

But that brilliant and most brave lady, Dr. Pornthip is a rarity indeed, such a gem indeed!

Katharina Sri (former: Noor Aza)



Folk, why are you all so caught up with Gerakan K? Just ignore him. Dont give him the satisfaction of commenting abt him… not worth it, sheer waste of time. I felt pain when Dr Porntip described how Beng Hock died – fractured skull and bone, (some people) must have had hit, and beat and punched and kicked him hard, till he died… threw him down and faked suicide…? Becos of power/(position), a young foreign lady (Altantuya) had to die… otherwise all things exposed? (Becos of power (after Perak)?)… Teoh Beng Hock, a Pakatan man, (is now dead)… How many… Read more »

Gerakan K

20% = 1:5 odd

Get your figure right mr so so prof.


Gerakan K,
… you have lost out in Kg Buah Pala, your stake and interest. That goes to Sugu and Steven. They deserve to live under the bridge. LGE did it right

Morning Dew

Gerakan K, you need to pay a bit more attention in class.

1:4 is 1/(1+4) x 100 is 20%

Phua Kai Lit

Yes, “tan, tanjong bungah 11:59am” is spot on.

Another way of looking at it is,
the odds that the late Teoh Beng Hock commited suicide is 1:4

If Gerakan K goes to the race track and bets on a horse that has a 1:4 odds of winning, he will lose his shirt and much more!

So, the next time you try to spin for your political masters (or to rationalise your support for a corrupt and (brutal) regime), don’t make a fool of yourself.

1 Borneo

-Gerakan K- Yes,20% possibility that he commited suicide……but still 80% confirmation that he’s murdered.

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi everyone,

My apologies – I meant “It defies logic that 1 out of 5 chance of suicide is repeatedly highlighted by him to criticise those who hold the 80% has most probable!

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi everyone,

I know a little about Statistics, probability theory included.

I was amused by Gerakan K’s unabashed use of 20% to override the 80% probability. Gerakan K seems to be a ‘great’ product of the political eunuch KTK’s. unashamed politics. It defies logic that 1 out of 4 chance of suicide is repeatedly highlighted by him to criticise those who hold the 80% has most probable!

I’ve avoided commenting on Gerakan K’s comments on all the previous occasions until now when I feel that enough is enough!