Tributes to British doctor shot dead in Cape Town in front of wife and son

Renowned British surgeon Kar Hao Teoh was killed after ‘taking wrong turn’ during during violent protests in the South African city

Sam Russell
Thursday 10 August 2023 19:03 BST
Renowned British surgeon Kar Hao Teoh was fatally shot in front of his wife and two-year-old son in Cape Town
Renowned British surgeon Kar Hao Teoh was fatally shot in front of his wife and two-year-old son in Cape Town (Just Giving)

An award-winning British surgeon shot dead during violent protests in South Africa has been described as a “loving family man”.

Kar Hao Teoh, who worked at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, was a tourist in Cape Town when he was shot in front of his wife and two-year-old son on 3 August, police said.

It is believed the 40-year-old had taken a wrong turn from the nearby airport when a group approached the vehicle he was in. The shooting occurred in the Nyanga township near Cape Town International Airport.

Unrest began on the outskirts of South Africa’s second-largest city after minibus taxi drivers announced a week-long strike recently.

Five separate murders have been recorded during the protests, which have included stone-throwing, road blockades, looting, arson and public violence, the South African Police Service said. The taxis’ national union, which is angry at what it calls heavy-handed tactics by police and city authorities in impounding vehicles, said its members are not instigating violence.

A spokesperson for the Princess Alexandra Hospital said: “Sadly, we can confirm that Mr Kar Hao Teoh, consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon, has died. He was a well-respected member of the team, valued colleague and friend to many across the hospital as well as in regional, national and international trauma and orthopaedic networks.”

The shooting occurred in Nyanga township near Cape Town International Airport (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In 2021, Mr Teoh won an international prize for his pioneering research into the treatment of ankle fractures. The British Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society said, in a tribute shared online, that Mr Teoh’s “sudden and tragic death … has shocked all of us”.

The post said: “He was remembered by colleagues past and present as a kind, gentle person, a dedicated and talented surgeon and a rising star of the foot and ankle world who had already made a big impact in the British and European Foot and Ankle Societies.

“He has worked in Scotland, England and Wales and has left fond memories with people in all corners of the country. He leaves a wife and a two-year-old son. Our heartfelt sympathies and condolences go out to them.”

More than £25,000 has already been pledged to a JustGiving page that was set up to help and support his young family. The JustGiving page said his death had “left a void in our hearts”. It said: “Kar was not just a respected Trauma and Orthopaedic Consultant but also a dear friend, a dedicated colleague, and a loving family man.”

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