Ex-hotelier Sonny Lien killed in road accident

Pioneering hotelier Sonnie Lien Tiong Wah was killed after he was knocked down by a car along Holland Road on Monday night.

Mr Lien, who was the son of late entrepreneur, banker and philanthropist Lien Ying Chow, had dinner at his son's home and was walking to catch a cab home when the accident happened.

He suffered injuries to his hands, but died later at the National University Hospital (NUH).

He was 79.

His nephew, retired banker Vincent Lien, 52, told Shin Min Daily News his uncle did not drive to his cousin's home on Monday.

The younger Mr Lien said it was the driver of the car who called the emergency services for help.

Police confirmed that they received a call on Monday at 9.38pm, asking for help "at the junction of Ulu Pandan Road and Holland Road" and established that an accident involving a car and a pedestrian had occurred.

The driver, a 60-year-old man, has been arrested for "causing death by a negligent act".

Investigations are ongoing.

Hotel work

Mr Lien was the general manager of the Mandarin Hotel for 15 years. He graduated in hotel management from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University in the United States.

He worked in Britain, the US, and Europe before assuming his role as general manager of the Mandarin Hotel in 1974. In 1984, he took over the post of president at the Hotel Association of Singapore.

But in December 1989, Mr Lien, described by The Straits Times as "the flamboyant head of the Mandarin Singapore hotel since 1974 and a key figure in the local hotel scene", handed in his resignation as the hotel's GM and severed official links with the Overseas Union Enterprise group.

The group's then-spokesman cited "personal affairs" as the reason. In 1991, Mr Lien returned to head S.

Lien International Hotel and Resort Management and S. Lien Hospitality Projects Management and Consultancy Services, both offering services to develop, manage and operate five-star hotel and resort properties worldwide, and made forays into Vietnam and China.

Forbes ranking

Forbes Asia ranks the Lien family 18th among Singapore's 50 richest, with a net worth of US$1.15 billion (S$1.44 billion) as of August this year.

Mr Lien retired 10 years ago and had since been shuttling between Singapore, the US, and Australia to visit his children and grandchildren.

He leaves behind three children and seven grandchildren.

The wake will be held at his home in Holland Park and the cortege will leave for a private service at Mandai Crematorium on Saturday (November 16).

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