In a pool at posh bungalow, an artist is found killed

SINGAPORE - She lived her life amid culture and style - with a degree from Trinity College, London, a taste for music and a portfolio of porcelain paintings that graced several exhibitions and fund-raisers.

Yesterday, she was found murdered in a swimming pool of a luxurious house in Victoria Park Road in Bukit Timah.

Madam Nancy Gan Wan Geok is believed to have been killed by her 23-year-old Indonesian maid.

The 69-year-old was found in the swimming pool in her white and blue pyjamas. She had head injuries and her left wrist was in a cast.

She is believed to have been alone at home with her maid on the property, which is as big as about 20 four-room HDB flats and valued around $40 million.

Police received a call about the case from a member of the public at 8.46am. Madam Gan was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later.

Her neighbours, who lived in equally big houses with long driveways, did not appear to know much about her.

Madam Gan is believed to have a son, who is overseas, and a daughter. A postman said that an elderly man would usually sign when collecting parcels delivered to the house.

She also has another home listed under her name in Swiss Club Road. Some construction work is afoot there.

Workers there said that Madam Gan would visit every day to check on the progress of the house, which is expected to be renovated in three months' time.

But she had not been visiting for the past three days. Workers said that she injured her left wrist when she had a fall at Botanic Gardens a few days ago.

The maid, who was arrested by the police, is believed to have started working for Madam Gan only recently.

Madam Gan was educated as a classical pianist and started painting in 1986. She went on to hold several exhibitions.

Her works include orchids, landscapes, fish, birds, flowers and animals on fine porcelain and bone china.

She had, over the years, appeared in upmarket magazines such as The Peak Singapore, counting among her friends ambassadors and their wives.

In 1990, she was reported to be married to Hong Kong politician Hilton Cheong-Leen.

It seems Madam Gan had a heart as big as her house. She was frequently involved in charity work.

According to a website named after her,, she was involved in fundraising efforts for the Bone Marrow Donor Programme, the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped and Singapore Cancer Society.

Ms Jane Prior, president of the Bone Marrow Donor Programme, who has been to her house in Swiss Club Road, said: "She was musical, talented and charming. She is what I would call a Renaissance woman."

The alleged murder is the third one involving a foreign domestic worker reported so far this year.

Earlier this month, Than Than Win, a 24-year-old maid from Myanmar, was charged with the murder of an 85-year-old woman she worked for at Springdale Condominium in Hindhede Walk, off Upper Bukit Timah Road.

In January this year, Indonesian maid Yati, 26, was charged with murdering a 77-year-old wheelchair-bound woman, who was found dead in her Serangoon flat.

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