Thursday, April 26, 2012

Site of serial killing revisited

Just 3 days ago, there was a huge commotion when someone threatened to kill himself with a chopper in a market just across the road from this site.  That incident reminded me of something more sinister that happened here a long time ago.

In the 3 pics below are the usual Government housing residential flats known as HDB (Housing and Development Board) flats one sees everywhere in Singapore.  Housing is a huge success here and there are, except for very unusual and extremely rare cases, absolutely no homeless people in Singapore.  There is a lovely garden, a bench to sit on and even a gazebo.

The tranquility of the surroundings belies the violence that occurred in one of the flats here 31 years ago.  It happened in the top flat in the first picture - but you will have to picture it mentally because it's concealed by the leaves of a nearby tree.  I tried to take a pic from the other end but the sun was against me.    It was the scene of Singapore's only case of serial killing in which 3 persons lost their lives and the story reads like an Indiana Jones adventure story, complete with blood drinking and human sacrifices to the goddess Kali.

The serial murderer, Adrian Lim, is probably the most hated person in Singapore.  The memory of his brutal crimes remained even long after his trial and conviction.  As late as 1998, the New Paper conducted a poll on the most terrible crime in that year.  30% of the people polled refused to talk about crimes in 1998 and insisted the Adrian Lim murders were the most terrible even though they took place almost two decades before.

Adrian Lim had been an abject failure all his life.  He went to the Anglo-Chinese School until Secondary 1 when he dropped out at about the age of 13.  He did various odd jobs until his fortunes turned for the better when he became a medium.  In superstitious Singapore, Adrian Lim's business as a medium thrived and at one point, it was reported that he raked in about S$7,000 a month from just one client.

Adrian (let's not use his surname which is probably the surname of 20% of Singaporeans) preyed on feeble-minded women and women with psychiatric problems and made them virtually his slaves.  Two of his women, Tan Mui Choo and Hoe Kah Hong lived with him.  However, Hoe was married and when she moved in to live with Adrian, her husband, Loh, went to the flat to look for her.  For some superstitious reasons, he believed the story that his wife was receiving spiritual treatment from Adrian and he even stayed for the night in the flat and early the next morning, he agreed to participate in the healing ritual.  Loh and his wife Hoe, under Adrian's instructions, locked their hands together and immersed their bare feet in pails of water.  Adrian then administered electrodes on Loh with a high voltage which killed him while Hoe was only knocked unconscious.  When she recovered, she lied to the police that her husband had been electrocuted while turning on a faulty electric fan.  No further investigations were conducted and Adrian was off the hook.

In the meanwhile, Adrian was being investigated for the rape of one of his clients during a healing ritual.  He felt the need to sacrifice two children to the goddess Kali in order to receive divine protection.  He instructed Tan and Hoe to bring children to him which they did.

The first was 9-year-old Agnes Ng who was last seen at a religious class in the Roman Catholic Church of the Risen Christ in Toa Payoh.  She was lured into the flat by Hoe, sexually assaulted by Adrian and smothered with a pillow before her blood was drawn and drunk by the trio.  More blood was splashed on the portrait of the goddess Kali.  Her head was then held in a pail of water until she drowned and to make sure that she was dead, Adrian electrocuted her.  Her body was then stuffed into a bag and left in the lift lobby of an adjacent block of flats.

The second victim was a ten-year-old Malay boy called Ghazali bin Marzuki.  Hoe saw him playing in a playground in Clementi and told him she needed his help and he went with her in a cab to Adrian's flat.  But Ghazali was a more hardy child and the sedatives did not work that well on him.  Seeing that he was going to give some trouble, Adrian attempted to tie him up but he was roused from his sedative-induced sleep and he put up a struggle.  Adrian and the two women rained blows on him and knocked him out.  They then drew his blood to perform rituals, after which, as they did to Agnes, they proceeded to hold Ghazali's head in a pail of water to drown him.  Again, the boy proved resilient.  He struggled, threw up and at one stage, he even defecated which made it necessary for them to clean up the flat.  But that was not all.  Ghazali's nose bled profusely and there were pools of blood in the flat.  Adrian gave instructions to Tan to clean up the flat while he and Hoe dragged the body down the stairs and left it under a tree.  There was a trail of blood that led all the way to Adrian's flat.  Adrian and Hoe cleaned up as much as they could but they were not totally successful.  It was this blood trail that led the police to the flat and to the subsequent arrest and conviction of all three of them.

I don't want to think how the parents of these children must have felt when they read the account of what happened.  If this had happened in Norway, Adrian and his accomplices would have long been released from prison.  But thank God Singapore is not one bit like Norway.  All three of them were tried, convicted and sentenced to death.  After the conclusion of the legal process and the dismissal of their appeals, they were hanged on 25 November 1988.

Thank God for the death penalty.  Perhaps that is also the reason why that was the only serial killing in Singapore.  He who kills shall swing by the neck while the entire nation cheers.  Serial murderers who feel stifled in Singapore are more than welcome to go to Norway where they can be sure of being received with tolerance and understanding.

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