Maid charged with murder of socialite

A maid was charged in court on Thursday with the murder of socialite and philanthropist Nancy Gan Wan Geok.

Indonesian national Dewi Sukowati, 23, is accused of causing the death of her 69-year-old employer at her Victoria Park Road bungalow off Farrer Road between 7.30am and 8.46am on Wednesday. She is the third maid to be charged with murder this year.

The body of Ms Gan, the former wife of former Hong Kong Legislative Council politician Hilton Cheong-Leen, was found in her swimming pool. She was in pyjamas and had head injuries.

The mother of two was a classically trained pianist and porcelain painter who regularly donated her works to raise funds for charity. Dewi, wearing a red polo T-shirt, cut a forlorn figure at the State Courts.

From the Pati regency in Central Java province, Dewi received her work permit on March 12. This is her first time working in Singapore, and she had been working for Ms Gan for barely a week. Indonesian Embassy counsellor Sukmo Yuwono told The Straits Times she was hired through an agency that is not accredited by the embassy to recruit maids.

She was represented by lawyer Mohamed Muzammil, who was instructed by the Indonesian Embassy to act for her.

The prosecution successfully applied for her to be remanded at Changi Women's Prison for three weeks of psychiatric assessment.

Ms Gan's son Victor Lim, and a woman believed to be his wife, identified her body at the mortuary yesterday. Appearing solemn, he did not speak to the media.

Meanwhile, the case against another Indonesian maid accused of murder was mentioned in court yesterday. Yati, who goes by one name, has been charged with the murder of Madam Aandi Abdul Rahman Rasheeda Begam, 77, at a Serangoon North flat on Jan 14.

Also represented by Mr Muzammil, the 26-year-old has been found fit to plead after psychiatric assessment at Complex Medical Centre in Changi.

Both cases will be mentioned again on April 10.

Earlier this month, Myanmar national Than Than Win, 24, was charged with murdering an 85-year-old Singaporean woman, Madam Yong Wan Lan, at Springdale condominium on Hindhede Walk, off Upper Bukit Timah Road, on March 4. She has been remanded at Changi Women's Prison for psychiatric evaluation, and is scheduled to appear in court again next Wednesday.

Additional reporting by Amelia Tan

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