Tuesday, February 21, 2006

 
'Dem Bones
More here than most of my readers will probably want to know about the decapitated skeleton that was Annie Pang but I'm posting two stories -- the one that ran Tuesday and one that will run Wednesday as well as a link to a great site, ESWN, that gives you an idea of how the Chinese language press and our English language competition, the South China Morning Post is covering it.
Basically, most of the Chinese papers and the Post went with an angle that the judge/coroner told the jury to disregard as hearsay. It was a very vague statement from Annie's mother that unnamed lawyers had threatened her family due to Annie's lover's (John Fang) high falutin' Hong Kong connections. She claimed that they linked the family (Anson Chan is Fang's better known sister, a pro-democracy HK politician, their mother was a famed artist who died Monday at age 92) to underworld/triad connections.
The judge cut this rambling accusation off and instructed the jury to forget they'd heard it. But most of the other papers went with it.
Here's the link to ESWN post. (Thank you Mr Soong!) "The case of Annie Pang"
http://www.zonaeuropa.com/weblog.htm
And here's story one followed by the second day.




Annie Pang, the 31-year-old former model who was missing for four years until her decapitated skeletal remains were found in a Yau Ma Tei apartment owned by former chief secretary Anson Chan's brother, had three abortions at his demand over a 10-year period, Pang's mother told a coroner's inquest Monday.
Pang's mother, Lam Mui, told coroner Colin Mackintosh and five jurors that her daughter had been sexually involved with Chan's married brother, lawyer John Fang, since about 1985.
She described their relationship as "like husband and wife" and said Pang told her that Fang's marriage was a union "in name only."
Lam said: "I scolded my daughter and told her she's so young. How could she be with such an old man? But she told me his marriage was broken and that he did not share a bed with his wife."
Under questioning by coroner's officer Dee Crebbin and Mary Jean Reimer, a lawyer for Pang's family, Lam described a kept-woman relationship in which Fang provided flats and living expenses for Pang, who worked as a model and later tried breeding and selling dogs.
"They had had an ongoing intimate relationship soon after they met but it seems that the relationship had deteriorated somewhat a year or two before [Pang's death], although the deceased kept in contact with Mr Fang and became involved in other intimate relationships," Crebbin said.
Lam - who said she had never met or spoken with Fang - also said that after he had Pang move from a flat on Jaffe Road to another in Sai Kung in the early 1990s, her daughter complained that he did not see her as often and missed payments for her living expenses.
In a bid for his attention, Pang made a superficial attempt to slit her wrists, Lam said. "She told me she slit her wrists in order to scare Fang so he would visit more often," Lam said.
She denied that her daughter had health problems such as epilepsy or used any drugs other than sleeping pills, though Crebbin said a packet of heroin and a partial syringe were found in the abandoned flat.
Statements from as many as 49 witnesses, including three described as "casual friends/drug addicts" may be heard in the investigation which is expected to last 15 days.
"You will hear evidence that she was involved with others in taking heroin, that she was a model and also loved breeding dogs," Crebbin said.
The coroner's investigation is not a criminal proceeding but an "inquiry into the cause and circumstances of the death [of Pang]," Mackintosh told the jury.
There are many unanswered questions, beginning with why Pang's body remained undiscovered for so long - the last time she was seen was July 1995.
In about August 1995 neighbors complained of a smell they described as "dead rats," Crebbin said.
Also, why, in October 1999 when Fang and a locksmith entered the Waterloo Road apartment to close bathroom and bedroom windows that had caused water leakage into the flat below both said they never saw Pang's uncovered skeleton nor her skull in a waste basket on the floor beside the bed in the 300-square-foot flat.
"Mr Fang said he had to step over some things to reach the [bedroom] window and did not look at what they were," Crebbin said.
The next day he sent a man named Yeung Kwai-choi, who also knew Pang, to clean up the flat which was "in a terrible mess. Extremely untidy, dirty full of dust and cobwebs," Crebbin said.
It was Yeung who saw the skeleton and called police after he notified Fang.
Yeung is said to be the same man who Pang's mother said threatened and beat her daughter when she had visited Fang's office in an attempt to get money.
However, under questioning Lam admitted that she had not mentioned the alleged beating and threats to the police in one interview last year, only to report them a month later.
When asked why, she said, she was "too sad I didn't know what to say. I was so sad I didn't remember." High Court Justice Michael Hartmann ordered the inquest last December because of public interest and "genuine concern" over Pang's death.
In ordering the inquest, Hartmann reversed decisions by both the police and the coroner's office not to investigate the death.

Second day:
Photos and references in decapitated model Annie Pang's diary to her married lover John Fang were missing when they were returned to her family by police in 2001, Pang's eldest sister told a coroner's investigation Tuesday.
Pang Ngor said photos she and other family members had previously seen of her sister vacationing with Fang were not returned; pages had been ripped from Annie's diary, including one with Fang's Chinese first name repeatedly written on it, and a woman's watch with Fang's name engraved on it was also not returned to the family.
The 31-year-old former model was missing for four years until her decapitated skeletal remains were found in October 1999 in a Yau Ma Tei apartment owned by Fang who is the brother of former chief secretary Anson Chan and son of renowned artist Fang Zhaoling who died Monday.Fang had been expected to appear before the coroner's inquest Tuesday but his testimony was delayed due to his mother's death.
The investigation is not a criminal proceeding but an ``inquiry into the cause and circumstances of the death [of Annie Pang],'' coroner Colin Mackintosh said.
Pang's sister said that when the police investigation into her sister's death was originally closed in 2001, some possessions found in Annie's filthy flat were missing or in worse condition when police returned them to the family.
In addition to the diary pages, photos of the couple and watch, she said other photo albums which had been in good condition in two boxes when originally taken by the police were returned damaged.``When the photos were returned to us there were much less than before. The photos were completely damaged with wet and mold,'' Pang said. ``They were stuck together.``When I first saw the diary it was intact and I had seen a page with Mr Fang's name clearly written repeatedly on one page. When it was returned to me that page and others were torn away,'' she added in response to further questions by Mary Jean Reimer, a lawyer representing the Pang family.
Mackintosh had the damaged diary examined by the five jurors and asked that the remaining contents be translated for further investigation.
Some pages are blank and others contain only a few lines of writing, he said.
Pang said police told her that possessions belonging to Fang were returned to him and gave her ``no clear explanation'' for the mutilated diary or damaged photos.In other testimony, Pang's sister painted a picture of a wayward sister hooked on sleeping pills whose life was spiraling out of control amid gambling debts and fears that her long relationship with Fang -- a lawyer who had set her up as a mistress in a series of flats and paid her HK$10,000 to $20,000 a month for living expenses -- would finally end.
``In the beginning it was good. She said she wanted to have Mr Fang's child. Later she told me that she and Mr Fang argued about money and she couldn't sleep because he wouldn't come see her,'' Pang said. ``Sometimes when I asked her why she had no money she said it was because Mr Fang had financial problems.''
Pang said her sister told her that she was HK$40,000 in debt to loan sharks after gambling in Macau and had begged her unsuccessfully for a loan. Their mother also complained of receiving threatening calls about the debt, Pang said.
Annie's financial woes and demands finally led Pang and her mother to change their phone numbers and cease contact with her in late1994 and 1995.
However, Pang said the last time she saw her sister was in March 1995 at the Tai Hing police station in Tuen Mun where she went to bail her out for HK$2,000 following an argument and physical confrontation with a boyfriend who was not Fang.
Annie Pang is believed to have died in July 1995, the last time she was seen. In about August 1995 neighbors complained of a smell they described as ``dead rats'' coming from her flat but no investigation was made.
In October 1999 Fang and a locksmith entered the Waterloo Road apartment to close bathroom and bedroom windows that had caused water leakage into the flat below. Both claimed they never saw Pang's uncovered skeleton surrounded by maggot casings, nor her skull in a waste basket on the floor beside the bed in the 300-square-foot flat.
The following day Fang sent a former employee to the flat to clean it. He reported the remains to police after phoning Fang.
Pang's sister said the family did not know where Annie had moved and that later attempts in 1995 to reach her through Fang were unsuccessful.``I spoke to him once and he said she did not want me and my mother to have her phone number,'' Pang said.
She said later attempts to reach Fang were fruitless. She also said that they believed Annie might have moved overseas.
Another, younger sister Pang Po-yuk began crying Tuesday when she recalled the last time she saw Annie.
``She came to our mother's house but my mother was not there,'' Pang Po-yuk said between sobs. ``I told her I would visit her later but I didn't ask for her address. If I'd known this would have happened I would have asked her for her address and all this would not have happened.''
Comments:
Asians are the craziest people.
 
See, had she blogged instead of keeping a diary, the technologically dis-advantaged Chinese would have had to jump through more hoops to delete her electronic records. Let that be a lesson to all of us.
 
The forensic pathologist claims that her skull fell into the trashcan because she had died with her head resting on the edge of the trashcan. Three questions:

1. Wouldn't her weight have tipped over the plastic trashcan? One would assume that she fell over when she died and gravity would have taken its course.

2. The order for the inquest cited that the skull had been in the trashcan crown up. Now the forensic pathologist is claiming that the skull fell in crown down and that the hair came loose and ended on top of the bottom of the skull. Any students of physics want to explain how that could happen?

3. Is anyone going to investigate what no inquest was called before and how this managed to remain covered up for so many years? And please...let an impartial body, like the ICAC investigate. Police investigations have lost their credibility.
 
1. No. She was slumped against it and it was pinned on two sides by a wall and the bed. I think she did some smack, nodded out watching TV (remote was more or less on her right knee) which was across from her and then overdosed.
2. I've not seen the order for the inquest but I've seen a photo of the head as supposedly found in the trash can. It's crown down but hair is kind of spread out and around. It separated from the skull cap during decay. And god knows what the maggots might've done in moving stuff around. Tons of them were there.
3. I don't know but I'm not. We're woefully understaffed, underpaid and overworked. If you want to take a crack at it go ahead. As for the ICAC I place no more trust in them than the cops. But that's a personal opinion.
 
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