Slain man was set to celebrate baby's ceremony

GEORGE TOWN - Scrap dealer K. Veerappan, 37, who was gunned down in Anson Road here, had returned to Penang to celebrate his baby daughter's belated one-month old ceremony, which was supposed to be held today.

Veerappan, whose business was based in Port Klang, came back to Penang about two weeks ago with his wife T. Devi, 29 and their six-week-old daughter.

"My husband was a very loving and caring person. He never hid anything from me," said Devi who was visibly distraught.

Asked if the murder was a case of mistaken identity, she said she was not sure.

Veerappan and Devi met two years ago after being match-made by their families and they tied the knot in August last year.

Veerappan's father V. Kanapathi, 72, said his son went out alone at 9am to pray at a temple.

"He told me he was also going to collect invitation cards for distribution to friends and relatives for his baby's naming ceremony," he said when met at the family's condominium in Bandar Baru Air Itam.

Kanapathi said his son was familiar with martial arts such as Aikido and Tomoi (Thai kickboxing) and had even represented the state in boxing when he was younger.

He rubbished claims that his son was a member of the notorious Gang 36 and that he was involved in the drug trade.

The killing of Veerappan came as a shock to residents of the condominium where the family has been staying since 2002.

Residents said the family did not mingle with neighbours and kept mostly to themselves.

"They bought a unit on the ground floor. We were surprised when they did major renovations in 2007 by extending the front and side of the unit, spending a lot of money.

"But then again, as Veerappan was driving a BMW, we thought he was a successful businessman," a resident said.