The Old Yoga Ball Filled With Carbon Monoxide Trick | Who Solved This Case? Inspector Columbo?
I read this story and I immediately started asking questions – The Old Yoga Ball Filled With Carbon Monoxide Trick? Are you kidding me?
Apparently an anesthesiologist in China figured out a way to fill an exercise ball with carbon monoxide (CO) – no small feat in and of itself – and then figured out way to leak the CO into the interior of the car, murdering his wife and daughter and make the whole thing look like an accident. Allegedly. His motivation? Young, student bottom-knocking. He was reportedly bumping uglies with a young student and his wife wouldn’t give him a divorce. What else to do except to work out some crazy Sherlock Holmes-level poison scheme to murder said wife (and daughter). The really terrifying part? His young student girlfriend helped him figure out the murder plot! How could anyone sleep next to the person that helped plan his spouse’s murder?
As Maxwell Smart would say – “The Old Yoga Ball Filled With Carbon Monoxide Trick.”
Khaw Kim-sun, a 53-year-old anesthesiologist, certainly has no background in “Planning a Poisoning 101.” According to the South China Morning Post, Khaw ordered tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of carbon monoxide, claiming that he planned to use it in a science experiment. The newspaper reported that when his colleagues saw him pumping the toxic gas into a couple of yoga balls, he apparently told them that he was going to test it on rabbits. he hid the yoga ball(s) in the trunk of his wife’s car (a yellow mini-Cooper, no less)!
During the police investigation into his wife and daughter’s deaths, Khaw apparently told investigators that he took the carbon monoxide-filled yoga balls home to attempt to kill rats, but his housekeeper told authorities that were none, according to the South China Morning Post.
Autopsy results showed that Wong, Khaw’s wife, had a carbon monoxide level of 50 percent in her bloodstream, the expert said; the couple’s daughter, Khaw Li-ling, had a carbon monoxide level of 41 percent in hers. Both the wife and daughter were brought to the same hospital where Khaw works.
How terribly sad. If true, Khaw Kim-sun is a real monster. These two women had no way to defend themselves. He is reportedly very upset at having “accidentally” killed his daughter. Sure. What a jerk. No qualms about murdering his wife, but he is all broken up over some collateral damage in the form of his daughter.
Gotta hand it to the Chinese investigators that doped this out in time for the blood samples to have some utility. Typically, once you remove the victim from source of the CO, the blood concentration drops pretty rapidly, usually in a couple of hours. Finding a mother/daughter team unconscious in a car – first thing I’m considering is an opioid of some kind – heroin or oxycodone or fentanyl or even methadone. I’m sure once the detectives began questioning the husband, his story (which he had so carefully crafted) began falling apart. Didn’t take long for those Chinese sleuths to dope out the old yoga ball filled with carbon monoxide trick.
I can’t have any sympathy for Khaw Kim-sun (if, he is indeed guilty – which all the evidence seems to suggest). I hate carbon monoxide. Its the most insidious of poisons – odorless, colorless and with no actual way to identify its presence before you slip into a coma and die (without a CO detector) – but who, besides me, drives around town with a CO detector in their car? If convicted, Khaw Kim-sun will not be the first person to consider CO as a poison source.
There is a whole section in Criminal Poisoning (a book to which I contributed a chapter on strychnine poisoning) that describes the use of CO as a murder weapon.