Kovan murder victim was a 'doctor of cars'

SINGAPORE - Doctor of cars.

That was how a friend described Mr Tan Boon Sin's skill as a car mechanic on Tuesday.

In fact, Mr Tan (photo) was so good that he had no problems with customers, said the fellow car mechanic who declined to be named.

"Whatever the problem with a car, Mr Tan could always fix it.

"And over the years, customers were always satisfied with the quality of his work."

Mr Tan would also take on every customer regardless of how cheap the repair job may be, he said. Working with cars was Mr Tan's life and he truly loved his job, said the friend.

In recognition of his passion, the funeral procession bearing the body of Mr Tan Boon Sin made a drive-by past Soc Leon Motor Works - his car workshop at Kaki Bukit - as a final send-off on Tuesday.

It also marked the third and final day of the joint funeral for both Mr Tan Boon Sin, 66, and his elder son, Mr Tan Chee Heong, 42.

More than 100 people turned up to pay their last respects. Among them were his workers.

"Mr Tan (Boon Sin) was a great boss," said the mechanic who used to work at a workshop next to Mr Tan's former office at Eunos Avenue 3.

Hearse leaves wake; wife of elderly victim leaves distraught
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: ST, TNP, Shin Min, Video screengrabs)
Funeral of victims of Kovan murders
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: ST, TNP, Shin Min)
Emotional farewell for Kovan murder victims
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: RazorTV screengrabs)

"I had known him since 1979 when we started working near each other at Eunos," he said in Mandarin.

"Since then, I've always known him to be very kind to his workers. Those who have worked for him for at least 10 years received Rolex watches as a token of their commitment to the company."

While bosses usually reserve a toilet in the office for personal use, Mr Tan Boon Sin shared his with his workers, he said.

Mr Tan Boon Sin was also a friendly and courteous man, he said.

"Whenever he had problems, he would come to me for advice. And he would always ask in a polite manner," he said.

They would also meet for lunch every day at noon during the time they worked together, and embark on the occasional fishing trip, he said. They met regularly even after he moved to another location.

"It's a tragedy that something like this had to happen," he said of the death of the father and son.

But he said he did not know of any problems that Mr Tan Boon Sin may have faced as the last time they met was two months ago over a meal. 

He wasn't the only one at Tuesday's wake to speak fondly of the older Mr Tan.

'Like a father'

Speaking to the gathered press earlier in the day, family spokesman Ong Boon Kok, 49, said he regarded his brother-in-law as a father, "given our age difference".

"When I was a kid, he used to take me out when he was dating my sister.

"Over the years, I've come to treat and respect him like my father," he said.

On Tuesday, monks arrived at the parlour at about 10.30am for prayer rites before the two gold coffins bearing flower engravings were loaded into two hearses.

The funeral procession left the parlour at about 1.15pm, when the widow of the younger Mr Tan pressed her hands on the back of the hearse bearing her father-in-law's coffin and wailed loudly.

Her mother-in-law, Madam Ong Ah Tang, was earlier led into a car and did not join the funeral procession.

The hearses then made a drive-by past Kaki Bukit and Burn Road, the workplace of Mr Tan Chee Heong, before arriving at Mandai Crematorium at about 2.20pm.

A 10-minute prayer service was conducted prior to the cremation, which took place at 3.40pm.

When the doors of the viewing room swung open, a distraught Madam Ong was seen being supported by teary family members.

Behind her, the widow of the younger Mr Tan trudged out, an arm around her 10-year-old son who was sobbing.

Get The New Paper for more stories.