Victims' family: Verdict does not heal the pain

Victims' family: Verdict does not heal the pain
Mr Tan's younger son Chee Wee (left), daughter Siew Ling and their uncle Ong Boon Kok speaking about their ordeal at the porch of the Hillside Drive house where the killings took place.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Car workshop owner Tan Boon Sin was such a good boss, he continued to pay the full salary of a mechanic who went back to Malaysia for six months to take care of his ailing wife.

This glimpse into the life of 67-year-old Mr Tan, one of the two victims of the Kovan double murders in 2013, emerged yesterday when his family held a press conference at the porch of the Hillside Drive house where the killings took place.

It was the first time that they spoke to reporters since former policeman Iskandar Rahmat was sentenced to death on Friday for the murders of Mr Tan and his elder son Tan Chee Heong, 42, on July 10, 2013.

Iskandar had hatched a plan to steal Mr Tan's valuables by tricking him into taking them out from a Certis Cisco safe deposit box. The High Court found that he had intended to kill Mr Tan from the outset, and when Chee Heong stepped into the house, Iskandar decided to silence him as well.

Mr Tan's daughter, Tan Siew Ling, 42, revealed that they also learnt first-hand during the trial of the extent of the knife injuries suffered by her father and brother.

Younger son Chee Wee, 41, a restaurant owner, said that the verdict was "expected" but it did not heal the pain the family members continue to feel.

"A happy family was broken in seconds. Life has changed for us totally," he said, adding that he woke up every day still hoping that what had happened was just a bad dream.

Their mother, Ong Ah Tang, continues to live alone in the house. Said Ms Tan, when asked if the family had any plans for the house: "It's a very comfortable place, we grew up here. She's been here for 20 years."

Madam Ong was not present but her children praised her for being "courageous" in taking the stand on the first day of the trial, as she had lived her life as a simple housewife.

Ms Tan has taken over the running of Mr Tan's car workshop business for the past two years.

Mechanic Chai Siew Fong, 56, who has worked for Mr Tan for more than 30 years, shared how his boss paid him even though he could not work. He said he was grateful to Mr Tan and will continue to work at the business for as long as he can.

Chee Wee also thanked the Criminal Investigation Department and prosecutors.

He revealed that soon after the killings, the family received flowers from people expressing condolences, even from a total stranger from the Philippines. Ms Tan also spoke of a churchgoer they did not know who prayed for the family and attended the court hearings.


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