The following stories were first published in The Straits Times Star E-books app in July 2015 as an e-book titled Guilty As Charged: 25 Crimes That Have Shaken Singapore Since 1965. The publication was a collaboration between The Straits Times and the Singapore Police Force.
FOREWORD BY HOONG WEE TECK, COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Singapore has made remarkable progress over the last 50 years to become the city state that is famous for its economic prosperity, social harmony, as well as safety and security.
Our crime rate is one of the lowest in the world today. However, the streets of Singapore in the early years of independence were not quite like what they are today. We were besieged by secret society activities and syndicated crimes involving the rampant use of firearms which gripped the nation in fear.
The safe Singapore we all enjoy living in today is the fruits of our pioneers' labour. Not only did pioneer Singapore Police Force (SPF) officers rise to the occasion time and again to bring criminals to justice, they were also motivated by the collective will of fellow Singaporeans to build a safer Singapore.
This e-book records 25 of the more prominent cases since 1965 and bears testament to the dedication and commitment of SPF officers - past and present - to uphold justice.
As a police officer, I experienced first-hand the amount of hard work and long hours our officers put in to uphold the law and bring criminals to justice.
Indeed, it is my privilege and pleasure to work with these elite men and women to keep Singaporeans safe and secure.
Our SPF officers will continue to remain resolute in our mission to make Singapore the safest place in the world.
INTRODUCTION BY MELVIN YONG, DIRECTOR, PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT, SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE (MR YONG IS NOW WITH NTUC AND A TANJONG PAGAR GRC MP)
Besides serving as a veritable record of our success in crime solving, this collection of stories is a reflection of how far we have come to build a safe and secure Singapore as one people.
All the cases featured in this book made headlines and grabbed the attention of our people. Some of these cases also proved to be the catalysts for enhancements to our legislative framework.
The commitment and dedication of our officers to bring criminals to justice are the foundations on which the Singapore Police Force has built an enduring relationship of trust with our community. Many cases were solved with assistance from people from all walks of life. The strong community support is a key motivation and inspiration for our officers, especially when the going gets tough.
Through this book, we hope readers will remember the collective efforts of our pioneer generation to mould Singapore into the safe country we enjoy today. More importantly, it serves to remind us that while Singapore remains a safe city, we have to be vigilant always to prevent and deter crime.
WARNING: Some contents in these stories may be disturbing for some individuals.
1. THE SUNNY ANG TRIAL (1965)
Sunny Ang Soo Suan thought he had committed the perfect murder when his girlfriend disappeared at sea. He stood to gain from the insurance policies he began buying for Ms Jenny Cheok Cheng Kid shortly after they met.
2. THE CASE OF MIMI WONG (1970)
The dance hostess was the first woman to get the death penalty in Singapore for murdering her Japanese lover's wife. Her husband also went to the gallows for the murder.
3. GOLD BAR MURDERS (1971)
Two brothers and five other youths killed an import-export towkay and two of his employees for 120 gold bars, worth more than $500,000 at the time.
4. THE CASE OF LIM BAN LIM (1972)
The notorious gunman who engaged in Hollywood-style shootings with police met his end in a showdown at Margaret Drive. He had gained so much notoriety that after he was shot to death by police, 33 inmates escaped from a reformative training centre just to attend his funeral.
5. THE TONTINE KILLING (1974)
Sim Joo Keow fought with her sister-in-law over money, strangled her, dismembered her body, then hid the pieces in different places.
6. SWIMMING TRUNK GANG (1975)
Greed proved the downfall of these serial robbers, who struck in nothing more than underwear. They were believed to have been responsible for some 500 offences including housebreakings, thefts and armed robberies. Their total haul amounted to nearly $500,000 - an all-time record in local criminal history then.
7. MOUNT VERNON MURDERS (1978)
The three friends, all aged 21, wanted a gun so they could become robbers. They planned to steal a gun from the sentry at a police reserve unit in Mount Vernon.
8. RITUAL MURDERS (1981)
Adrian Lim, a charlatan medium seen by many as the very embodiment of evil, and his two "holy" wives, kidnapped, tortured and killed a pair of children. Lim, who was being investigated on a rape charge, wanted to exact revenge on the police by murdering children.
9. ANDREW ROAD MURDERS (1983)
Sek Kim Wah killed a retired businessman, his wife and their maid during a robbery, and would have killed two more if not for his reluctant accomplice.
10. NICK LEESON, ROGUE TRADER (1995)
While based in Singapore, he brought down Britain's oldest merchant bank Barings and created a worldwide financial scandal. He falsified accounts and trading records, racking up $2.2 billion in losses.
11. TOURIST FROM HELL (1996)
John Martin Scripps befriended unknowing tourists, then butchered them and drained their bank accounts. He killed in Singapore and Thailand, and was the first Westerner to be hanged for murder in the Republic.
12. ROLEX MURDER (1998)
Jonaris Badlishah wanted to give his girlfriend a Rolex. He did not have the money, so he killed to get the $7,500, gold and diamond-studded watch. He struck make-up artist Sally Poh Bee Eng more than 10 times on the head with a hammer.
13. THE CASE OF ANTHONY LER (2001)
He showed no remorse after luring a teenager into killing his wife, who had wanted a divorce. He offered the killer $100,000 and coached him on how to stab Madam Leong in the neck.
14.ORCHARD TOWERS MURDERS (2002)
Michael McCrea tried to escape justice by fleeing Singapore but finally paid the price for killing a woman and his driver - a man he called his brother.
15. HIGH-ROLLING HUSTLER (2004)
Chia Teck Leng secretly led a double life as a high-rolling hustler, complete with flashy cars, luxury apartments and a girlfriend half his age. The "unremarkable" family man cheated banks of millions.
16. HUANG NA'S MURDER (2004)
When the eight-year-old went missing, Singaporeans from all walks of life helped in the search. But she was already dead - killed by Took Leng How, a man she treated as an uncle.
17. KALLANG BODY PARTS MURDER (2005)
He stole his young lover's ATM card and withdrew her money. Then fearing that she would identify him, factory supervisor Leong Siew Chor killed and dismembered the body into seven parts.
18. BODY PARTS IN ORCHARD ROAD (2005)
The two maids were the best of friends, until a dispute over money led to Guen Garlejo Aguilar killing Mrs Jane Parangan La Puebla, then gruesomely disposing of the body in separate bags.
19. THE ONE-EYED DRAGON (2006)
Gangster Tan Chor Jin was so-called because he was blind in one eye. He repeatedly shot a nightclub owner, killing him, before conducting his own defence in court and failing miserably.
20. THE SUNSHINE EMPIRE (2006)
Self-styled entrepreneur James Phang Wah promised huge returns through The Sunshine Empire's "revolutionary" investment plan, but it was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.
This article was first published on May 14, 2016.
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