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Tue, Oct 19, 2010
The New Paper
"Why would anyone kill my mum?"

By Elysa Chen

THE family of the woman stabbed to death at Woodlands Drive last month may finally get some closure after a suspect was arrested on Thursday.

She was stabbed to death after celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival
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For more photos, click here.

But the pain of losing a much-loved woman to a brutal slaying still hurts terribly - the emotional wounds are still raw.

Madam Hoe Hong Lin's 10-year-old son has been asking the adults in the family since her death during the Mid-Autumn Festival on Sept 22: "Why would anyone kill my mum?"

His uncle, Mr Nicholas Hoe, 42, who lives with the family, said: "Until Thursday, we could only tell him that the police were investigating."

Mr Hoe, who is Madam Hoe's elder brother, said that the boy has been missing her badly.

He told The New Paper in Mandarin: "When my brother-in-law was packing my nephew's schoolbag, he realised that the boy had kept a photograph of his mother in it.

"He would take the photograph out and look at it whenever he missed her."

Madam Hoe, 32, a clerk, went missing after she walked her nephew, 11, to his home after celebrating the festival. Her husband, Mr Ng Kak Joo, 39, waited with their son at a nearby playground.

When she did not turn up or answer her phone after 20 minutes, he sent their son to look for her.

He returned a few minutes later and told him there was a police cordon near Block 895C at Woodlands Drive 50. Mr Ng later found out from police that it was Madam Hoe.

Police have arrested a 20-year-old full-time national serviceman in connection with the case.

The Chinese Singaporean is also suspected of slashing a female jogger at the Khatib Bongsu Park Connector on Feb 2 this year.

The jogger, 23, a health-care worker, helped the police put together an updated photo fit of her attacker, and it was released on Tuesday.

The police are also investigating if the suspect was behind two other slashing attacks. All four incidents happened within an eight-month period in the northern part of Singapore.

The pain of losing his sister is so bad that Mr Hoe has not been able to use the path where she was killed.

Whenever he wants to walk to Causeway Point shopping centre, he takes a longer route to avoid it, he said.

But Madam Hoe's husband and son use the path every day.

Madam Hoe's son and husband say a prayer at the scene
where her body was found in Woodlands Drive last month.

Mr Hoe, a subcontractor, said: "My brother-in-law wants to overcome his fears. So he and his son use that path when they walk to the boy's school."

He said that when he received a call from the police on Thursday night about the arrest, there was joy mingled with relief.

In the three weeks after Madam Hoe's death, the family worried about their safety.

Mr Hoe said: "We didn't know his motive and we didn't know if he was targeting members of our family.

"Whenever we went out, we would take precautions..."

Sleepless

His elderly parents, who live in Tangkak, Johor, have been unable to sleep well, said Mr Hoe.

He said: "...we were tormented by the thought that a helpless woman like her, someone's mother, could have been killed. How could anyone be so heartless?"

Madam Hoe was the youngest of four siblings. She had two brothers and a sister. She and her husband also have a five-year-old daughter, who lives with her grandparents in Tangkak.

He said:"We hope that through the police investigations and court proceedings, we will finally know the truth.

"Because of him, a good family has been broken up just like that. Knowing that he has been caught has given us some comfort."

Mr Hoe still vividly recalls the day his sister was murdered.

He had gone to the scene after Mr Ng called him to say that Madam Hoe had not been answering her phone after she had taken their nephew home.

He said: "When I went close to her body and saw her slipper, my heart and hands went cold."

The suspect, a full-time national serviceman in the Republic of Singapore Navy, was handed over to the police by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Military Police Command at about6pmon Thursday .

Colonel Desmond Tan, director of public affairs at the Ministry of Defence, said that the suspect was in the custody of the military police while awaiting trial for being absent without official leave, when he was handed over to the police.

He added that the SAF is assisting the police in their investigations.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Senior Assistant Commissioner Ng Boon Gay, described how police canvassed the Woodlands murder scene for witnesses and evidence.

He said: "We identified his approach route and travel patterns. We probed everything and had clues from witnesses and forensics. Forensics played a key role in this case."

The police recovered a knife blade and a sheath from the scene. It is believed that forensic evidence from these two items linked the suspect to the crime.

The modus operandi in all the cases were similar: He would accost the victim and attack them from the back with a knife.

Although his victims were strangers to him and unknown to one another, they did share similarities.

All four were Chinese women in their 20s or 30s and slim with shoulder-length hair.

While police have yet to determine the man's motive, they are not ruling out robbery or that he suffers from mental disability, said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Gerald Lim, the assistant director of the Major Crime Division in the CID.

He added that the suspect, who was to be charged with murder on Saturday, does not have any criminal record.

Mr Hoe intends to be in court to see his sister's alleged killer.

He said:" We want justice for her."

 

Read also:

NSF charged with murder
A full-time national serviceman, 20, was charged on Saturday with the murder of 32-year-old mother at Woodlands Drive 50 in September.
Woman dies after fatal stabbing at Woodlands Drive
A 32-YEAR-OLD woman has died after she was stabbed at a basketball court in Woodlands Drive on Wednesday night.
Woman's face brutally stabbed
A woman, 24, suffered a C-shaped open wound on her right cheek while jogging along Khatib Bongsu Park Connector at Yishun.
Could this be the Yishun stabber?
Police renew their appeal for information on the suspect with an updated photofit and description
Woman stabbed at Yishun
Photos from the stabbing

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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