Kovan Double Murder: Boy had feeling something was amiss

The wife hugging her elder son of the murder victim Tan Chee Heong, 42 overwhelmed with emotion after viewing the bodies of her husband and her father-in-law.

The wife hugging her elder son of the murder victim Tan Chee Heong, 42 overwhelmed with emotion after viewing the bodies of her husband and her father-in-law.

SINGAPORE - When told that his father had died, the 10-year-old boy's thoughts immediately turned to his mother, a homemaker.

"What about mummy? Who's going to take care of her now?" he asked.

Tragically, the boy lost his father and grandfather on the same day when they were killed in a horrific attack last Wednesday.

The boy's father, Mr Tan Chee Heong, 42, was found with slash wounds at a taxi stand outside Kovan MRT. His body had been dragged nearly 1km from his father's house at Hillside Drive.

The boy's granduncle, Mr Ong Boon Kok, told The New Paper on Sunday that his grandnephew had always been sensible, despite his young age. "He's very mature and thoughtful, (he) is a very sweet boy," he said.

But the family had kept the truth from the boy for a few days because of his age.

But Mr Ong said the 10-year-old had an intuition that something was amiss, and had been asking the family where his father was.

Before they broke the bad news, his family had a meeting with the boy's school teachers and counsellors. They then told him the news together. That's when he asked the adults what would happen to mum, and whether she would be able to handle the grief.

He has a younger brother who is only three.

After finding out his father and grandfather had died, the little boy made a number of drawings to be put in their coffins.

For his father, he drew a red sports car and four hearts, representing their family. But because his dad is leaving them, one of the hearts is further away. On it, he wrote, "Daddy I (love) you."

There was also a picture of a sofa because the family's house was under renovation.

His cousin also drew a picture of sea creatures for their grandfather, Mr Tan Boon Sin, who was a fishing enthusiast.

At the joint wake at the Teochew Funeral Parlour on Sunday, the boy could be seen standing in the first row of mourners, hands clasped tightly around a joss stick while a Buddhist monk performed funeral rituals.

But after a while, he felt unwell and had to be taken to a chair, where he sat beside his grandmother, Madam Ong Ah Tang.

She could be heard telling him: "Come, let Ah Mah (grandmother in Mandarin) hold you."

When the family had to say their goodbyes before the coffin was sealed, the boy went with his mother to his father's body and stood by her while they said their farewells.

Leaving the altar area, the mother and son were seen hugging each other, while two relatives held onto them. The boy hid his face in his mother's blouse while she sobbed on a relative's shoulder.

Shortly after, he was seen sitting around, talking to his father's cousins. But he was never far from his mother, whom he sat beside, sometimes holding her hand.

When Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee arrived at 8.10pm, he first spoke to the boy's uncle, who was visibly holding back tears.

Bending down, he then spoke to the 10-year-old, who simply nodded and kept his eyes down, his hands clasped around his aunt's.

Stark contrast

This was a stark contrast to the outpouring of emotions earlier in the day. The boy's grandmother, Madam Ong, was so distraught that she had to sit out the prayers.

When asked to say goodbye before the coffins were sealed, she had to be supported by her younger son and older brother.

Wailing loudly when she saw the bodies of her son and husband, she was taken away again while the undertakers got to work.

Despite that, she wanted to say goodbye one last time.

"I want to talk to him, I want to talk to Zhi Xiong (Chee Heong in Mandarin). My son, my good son," she cried out in Mandarin.

Other relatives who were supporting her could only whisper words of comfort and offer medicated oil.

At one point, she had to be taken into a black Toyota sport utility vehicle (SUV) to rest for a while. Next to it was a white SUV, numbered EM 14J.

Speaking to the gathered press, Madam Ong's brother, who is the family spokesman, said the family is very thankful to members of the public and neighbours who helped police solve the case.

Mr Ong said: "While we are shocked that there are black sheep in the police force, most of them are hardworking men and women, especially the ones working on this case, helping our family and ensuring justice is served."

Mr Ong said the family is also grateful to his grandnephew's school teachers and principal.

"They have been very understanding about the whole thing, and have also provided a lot of assistance."

The school had sent teachers and counsellors to help the family cope during this very difficult time, especially the young boy, who is in Primary 4 this year.

But in the end, nothing can fill the void, he said.

"Yet no matter the outcome..., it cannot replace the two innocent lives that have been taken away," Mr Ong said.

About the case

On Wednesday afternoon last week, 42-year-old Tan Chee Heong's body was found on the road outside Kovan MRT station.

A blood trail led to his father's house in Hillside Drive, where his father, Mr Tan Boon Sin, 67, was found dead with slash wounds.

The elder Mr Tan had reportedly left work early and gone to retrieve some items from a safety deposit box at the Certis Cisco Centre in Paya Lebar.

At about 3.40pm, witnesses saw Mr Tan Chee Heong stumble out of his father's house, bleeding profusely at the neck. He collapsed outside, face down.

Then the suspect, police officer Iskandar Rahmat, 34, allegedly started the family's Toyota Camry and drove over the body, which got lodged under the car.

The body was dragged face down for about 1km - despite other motorists honking desperately to try to stop the suspect, who was weaving in and out of traffic.

It eventually dislodged at the taxi stand outside Kovan MRT station while the car drove off. The car was discovered on Thursday morning, abandoned at a Eunos industrial estate.

Iskandar was arrested by Malaysian police on Friday night at a Johor Baru restaurant. He was repatriated back here on Saturday morning and will be charged in the Subordinate Courts on Monday.

The victims' funerals was held on Tuesday morning.

 lawsm@sph.com.sg

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