Fri, Aug 01, 2008
The New Paper
The deadly spark of mahjong noise...

By Melissa Tan

HER mahjong-playing neighbours' frequent late-night games kept her up.

And this lead to frequent, loud arguments.

One day, Madam Li Li Lian could not take it anymore and injured one of the neighbours with a knife.

Two adults and two children were living in the flat next to Madam Li's.

Madam Li, in her 60s, was arrested for causing hurt.

But soon after she was released on bail, she was found dead at the bottom of Block 15 Marine Terrace, where she lived alone in a three-room flat on the ninth floor.

She was dressed from head to toe in red.

Madam Li's neighbour on the same floor, who wanted to be known only as Madam Ong, said she heard that after Madam Li had complained to the police some months ago, the noise stopped.


Madam Ong, who said she has never spoken to Madam Li, said in Mandarin: 'The neighbours stopped playing mahjong at night. But I think the family wasn't too happy about it.'

She said Madam Li, who gave haircuts in her flat for a living, had been living there for about 30 years.

The family moved in next door a couple of years ago.

Madam Ong, who also lives next to the neighbours who played mahjong, said the fighting got worse over the past month.

Both parties would knock on walls and make noises on purpose to disturb each other, according to a report in Shin Min Daily News.

Another neighbour on the same floor, Mr Ng, 70, told The New Paper: 'They would fight early in the morning when other residents were still asleep.'

On 24 Jul, things came to a head.

At 6am, they began arguing. According to Shin Min, the neighbours began banging at Madam Li's metal door.

Madam Li then went to the kitchen, took a knife, and injured one of the neighbours, who went back to their flat and called the police.

A police spokesman said they received a call at 6.45am about a dispute between neighbours on the ninth floor of Block 15 Marine Terrace.

Officers arrived and arrested Madam Li for 'causing hurt to her neighbours with a knife', the spokesman added.

Her brother bailed her out at 5.30pm the same day.

By 6.50pm, her body was found at the bottom of the block.

Police said they are investigating the incident as unnatural death.

Madam Li Li Lian

When The New Paper went to the block on Monday, the neighbours whom Madam Li was fighting with were not at home.

But one of the family members told Shin Min last Saturday that the family felt bad about what happened to Madam Li.

The woman said they thought of attending her wake, but decided to stay away lest they upset her family.

Madam Li's elder brother told Shin Min that his sister had often complained to him about her neighbours.

Madam Li was a quiet woman who 'always kept to herself,' Mr Ng said.

'She didn't really talk to the other neighbours,' he added.

Mrs Nanie Nor Mohamed, 40, who lives on the 15th floor, said her neighbours too had complained to her about her kids' noise levels.

'But since she (Madam Li) was living alone, maybe it was harder for her to tahan (endure in Malay),' she said.

This article was first published in The New Paper on Jul 30.

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