KUALA LUMPUR - He has made a "career" out of tracking down missing children, long-lost relatives, runaway teens and even Ah Long defaulters.
Long before he became MCA Public Service and Complaints Bureau head, Datuk Seri Michael Chong has already made a name for himself as Mr People Finder in his 26-year career.
But all that means nothing to Chong when you bring up Tin Song Sheng, a seven-year-old who went missing. He had yet to be found after 17 years.
"I will never forget him. I will never understand how we could let him slip through when we had the whole country looking for him."
"The saddest part is that I thought things would change after him; that parents would be more careful with their children. But it seems no one has learned," he said.
There was a thunderstorm that day, said Chong, and Tin was sitting in his Taman Rashna school canteen in Klang waiting for the bus. He was last seen being led away by a middle-aged woman.
"I called everyone. I went to the media, non-governmental organisations and the orang asli to look for him in the jungles.
"Pos Malaysia distributed thousands of posters of the boy and we even got the Thai border police to help look for him.
"Until now, his parents are still looking for him. I spoke to them on and off but I lost contact with them subsequently.
"I think Tin would be 25 now. Maybe he would have finished his studies or started working. But I will never know what has become of him," said Chong.
What disturbs him even more is the supposed "missing child story" that would grip the public every year or so.
To Chong, these stories have been happening once too often.
"People never seem to learn from the tragedies," he said.