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Crime

Shaffiq Alkhatib
Sunday, Aug 24, 2014

Crime

Murder of daughter-in-law: 'We often hear fighting in flat'

The New Paper | Shaffiq Alkhatib | Sunday, Aug 24, 2014

The elderly man shared the five-room flat in Tampines with his son's family.

By several accounts, it was not a happy household. Neighbours said they often heard a man and a woman quarrelling.

And Mr Char Chin Fa, 80, told a neighbour that he would leave the flat at around 6am every day and return about 12 hours later just to avoid his daughter-in-law, Madam Ong Guat Heng.

Then something terrible happened in the third-storey unit at Block 440, Tampines Street 43, yesterday morning.

Madam Ong, 54, was found lying motionless in a pool of blood on the floor of a bedroom. Police said they received a call asking for assistance at around 10am.

Paramedics pronounced the housewife dead about 15 minutes later and Mr Char was arrested not long after.

The New Paper understands that he surrendered himself at a police station at about 11am.

A neighbour who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, said that Mr Char was a familiar figure in the neighbourhood.

He was always seen using a pair of headphones to listen to a radio in his breast pocket. He usually had some items like drinking water. Said the middle-aged Mr Tan: "He was a friendly old man and I would call out to him whenever I saw him. "

Mr Char confided in his neighbour about his bad blood with Madam Ong, telling him why he preferred to be out for most of the day.

"He told me that he could not see eye-to-eye with his daughter-in-law. He was often angry with her and I would tell him to calm down," Mr Tan said.

"They were not on talking terms. He also told me that his wife was living with a daughter in Bedok."

Mr Tan said he was aware of the "many problems" between Mr Char and Madam Ong, but declined to give details.

TWO SIDES

"There are always two sides to every story and so far I've only heard his side," he said with a sigh. A worker at a coffee shop at nearby Block 477, who wanted to be known only as Mr Peter, 24, said the elderly man was a regular customer.

He said: "He would sit at the same spot every day for many hours with his headphones. He kept to himself so we would just leave him alone."

Ms Titin, 29, an Indonesian maid who lives on the fourth storey, said she often heard people quarrelling in the victim's flat.

She said that she heard a woman screaming in the flat at around 8am yesterday, but decided to brush it aside.

"I hear people quarrelling there at least once a month so I thought it was nothing serious," she said in Bahasa Indonesia.

Another neighbour who requested anonymity, said that the other occupants of the flat were Madam Ong's husband, Mr Char Yeng Kong, a warrant officer in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), and their two daughters and a son, all in their 20s.

Said the 29-year-old man: "We call her husband, who is in his 50s, Warrant David Char as he works in the SAF."

The man added that he often heard people singing karaoke in the flat. When TNP arrived at the scene yesterday, a man in army uniform was at the scene.

He later left with some police officers.

Madam's Ong's family members were reciting Buddhist prayers in the corridor leading to the flat.

They took a break at around noon and a middle-aged woman, who identified herself as Madam Ong's sister, said that one of her nieces had found her mother lying in a room, covered in blood.

She declined to give more details.

At around 2.15pm, police officers were observed slipping on latex gloves to sift through a rubbish bin that collects refuse thrown down the chute from the flats in Block 440, including the Chars' unit.

They retrieved three items: a metre-long rod, a purple handkerchief, and a pale grey T-shirt that looked to have bloodstains. The officers took these items away, presumably as evidence.

Madam Ong's body was taken down from the flat and put into a black police van at around 5pm.

On seeing this, her family members, who were gathered around the police cordon, started chanting before the van drove away.

The police have classified the case as murder and investigations are ongoing.

Mr Char will be charged in court today.

FAMILY-RELATED CASES

BOY, 4, DIES FROM BRAIN INJURY

A woman was charged with the murder of her four-year-old son earlier this month. Noraidah Mohd Yussof, 32, was charged on Aug 4 with causing grievous hurt by pushing him to the ground on Aug 1, causing him to suffer brain injury.

After he died, the charge was upgraded to murder. She will be back in court on Aug 25.

TODDLER FOUND DEAD NEAR BEDOK JETTY

A woman originally accused of murdering her 17-month-old son in the sea off East Coast Park had the charge reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Lim Ann Nee, 45, allegedly killed Emilien Lacroix last year. His body was found floating about 300m from Bedok Jetty and Lim was rescued by the Police Coast Guard on Nov 25.

A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Sept 8.

THOUGHT MUM WAS GENIE

He repeatedly stabbed his mother to death because he thought she was a genie.

On Jan 15, Mr Mohamed Redha Abdul Mutalib was acquitted of murdering religious teacher Asnah Aziz in 2012 on grounds of temporary insanity.

Justice Tay Yong Kwang ordered the former health-care assistant to be kept in safe custody in Changi Prison "pending the orders of the Minister".

STARTED FIRE TO EXORCISE EVIL SPIRITS

A 33-year-old schizophrenic man who set his family home at McNair Road in Boon Keng on fire and caused the death of his father, was jailed for eight years on Feb 13.

Ho Wei Yi pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.


This article was first published on August 22, 2014.
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