A witness has described the scene of terror after discovering a British doctor shot dead in his car while on a family holiday in South Africa, leaving his horrified wife and young child cowering and covered in blood.
Kar Hao Teoh, 40, was shot from close range after taking a wrong turn into the rioting town of Nyanga as he drove from Cape Town airport with his wife and two-year-old son last week.
Mr Teoh, who was born in Singapore but had British nationality, was one of five who died in violence during a taxi drivers’ strike, which spiralled out of control after local authorities began impounding rioters’ cars.
Community worker Dumisani Qwebe told The Sun how he stumbled upon the horror to discover Mr Teoh lying inside his hire car, a bullet lodged in his skull.
‘The doors were wide open so I could see inside. Both the windscreen and driver’s window were shattered by gunshots and the driver was slumped over on to the front passenger seat.
‘Multiple shots had been fired and it looked like one had hit him in the head.’
He went on to claim he saw Mr Teoh’s family cowering nearby, frozen by the trauma of seeing him gunned down in front of them.
Mr Kar Teoh, 40, was a consultant orthopaedic surgeon in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire
The surgeon was a leading specialist, shot dead after taking a wrong turn in South Africa
The death comes amid violence across Cape Town in response to police impounding illegal vehicles during a taxi drivers’ strike. Pictured: A resident of Masiphumelele using a board as a shield during clashes
Mr Qwebe said: ‘I could see they were all very traumatised.
‘They were still shaking and the police were trying to calm them down. They didn’t look injured but there were spots of blood on their clothes.’
The victim, who lived in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, and was based at the NHS Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, was awarded a number of international fellowships for his work as a trauma and orthopaedic consultant.
Two years ago, Mr Teoh won the Presidential Prize at the European Foot and Ankle Society conference in Lyon for his research into the treatment of ankle fractures.
He also worked privately for MSK Doctors, and close friend and colleague Professor Paul Lee shared a moving tribute online.
Professor Lee said: ‘It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of our esteemed colleague and dear friend, Mr Kar Teoh, a respected trauma and orthopaedic consultant who left us too soon on August 3, 2023.
‘Mr Teoh was more than a triple board certified specialist in trauma and foot and ankle surgery. He was a guiding light in our professional community, a devoted friend, and a cornerstone of many significant projects.
‘Kar’s commitment to medical excellence was recognised in several prestigious international travelling Fellowships (BOA, BOFAS, AO, SICOT, EFORT, IBRA), and he was an ardent proponent of research, and undergraduate and postgraduate education.
‘Yet, his professional accolades only paint part of the picture. For those of us privileged to call him a friend and colleague, Kar was a trustworthy and steadfast presence.
‘He was instrumental in the establishment and success of WelshBone in 2007, MSK Doctors in 2017, and the MSK Regen conference in 2023.
‘In each of these initiatives, Kar offered his unwavering support and played a critical role in their success. The loss of Mr Kar Teoh leaves a void in our hearts and our community.
‘His professional dedication was unparalleled, but it was his personal warmth, his commitment to friendship, and his unwavering support that we will remember most fondly.
‘Our deepest condolences extend to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.’
Professor Lee added an email address had also been created for people to share memories, saying it was important for ‘future generations’ and ‘for Kar’s two-year-old son, ensuring he grows up with a vivid picture of the incredible person his father was’.
A Just Giving page set up in memory of Mr Teoh with a target of £50,000 has already raised more than £25,000.
His cousin Sancy Low, wrote on Facebook: ‘He had a great sense of humour and would have wanted things to be light and fuss-free.’
A police spokesman confirmed the British doctor had died after entering into a violent scene amid ongoing taxi strikes.
‘From the airport he apparently took a wrong turn-off and headed towards Nyanga.
‘In Ntlangano Crescent a number of suspects approached his vehicle, shot and killed him. No arrests yet.’
A protester blocks the streets with stones and rubble during an ongoing strike by taxi operators against traffic authorities
A law enforcement officer fires rubber bullets during clashes with protesters in Masiphumelele amid an ongoing strike by taxi operators
Since last week, furious campaigners connected to the influential private taxi industry in South Africa have launched stones at cars and buses and and set some alight.
It came after a new municipal law gave local authorities power to impound vehicles for driving without a licence or registration plates, and not wearing a seatbelt.
The national taxi union has said its members aren’t instigating the violence and others are using the strike as an excuse to launch their own protests, while tourists bosses fear the angry confrontations are discouraging holidaymakers from visiting the country.
The South African national taxi council called for action after it failed to reach an agreement with local government over the law.
A Foreign Office official in London confirmed they were supporting the family of a British man who had died in South Africa and advised Britons to be alert in the country.
Nyanga is one of the most dangerous places in South Africa, with 74 people murdered there every day.
Western Cape province, which includes Cape Town, has taken a tough stance on the unregulated minibus taxi industry known for bad driving and dangerous vehicles.
Millions of workers and schoolchildren have been forced to stay at home. Deliveries of food have been interrupted.
Geordin Hill-Lewis, Cape Town’s mayor, said he would stand firm against the sector.
‘In Cape Town, violence will never be tolerated as a negotiating tactic. We reiterate our call on SANTACO [the taxi union] to return peacefully to the negotiation table,’ he said.