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lead She chases every

Every year, several Singaporeans mysteriously disappear. The Crime Library has seen about 3,000 cases involving missing Singaporeans since 2000 - over 20 of them still gone without a trace. Judith Tan (juditht@sph.com.sg) speaks to a woman still hopeful her sister will return one day

I don't know if she is dead or in jail or what. All I want to know is where she is now and if she is well. That way, the family and I will have some sort of closure.

- Ms Sophia Shoba Ram Blas

Security guard Sophia Shoba Ram Blas has been calling the Ministry of Foreign Affairs every other day since January.

The 49-year-old is hoping for good news about her sister.

Since her sister Rachel Liliwat Ram Blas, 55, left Singapore with her husband in 2010, there has been absolutely no word.

Ms Sophia believes that Madam Rachel is in Nigeria with her husband Felix Ibitayo.

"My other sister and I just want to find out how she is doing and if she is fine," she said, adding that the three girls had been close when they were growing up. "It isn't like her to have not got in touch for so long."

The sisters have been leading separate lives for some time now and may not have kept in contact much, but Ms Sophia started worrying last year.

She said: "I started having recurring bad dreams last December of Rachel asking for help. Call me superstitious, but it seemed like a bad omen."

She tried calling her sister, but the phone number did not work.

She then tried searching for Madam Rachel, who got married in 2000, at her old home.

"A Malay family now lives there," she said.

"The makcik (Malay for auntie) said that my sister's husband used to drop by in the first few months himself to collect letters... but she said she never saw my sister during those times."

Further checks made by the two sisters found that while Madam Rachel had taken out most of her savings, the remainder has been untouched since 2010.

Ms Sophia eventually went to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore, who told her that her sibling left Singapore in 2010.

WORRYING SILENCE

The sisters are concerned because there is still money in her sister's savings account.

This was enough evidence for them that their sister meant to come back to Singapore. Plus, Madam Rachel would usually call the other sister once in a while. So her silence has been worrying.

The sisters are now suspicious about an injury Madam Rachel suffered in 2007.

She had a broken leg and had said then that she had fallen down the stairs.

With Madam Rachel's continued silence, the sisters are thinking of the incident in a more sinister light - even though they admit they have no proof.

Ms Sophia says the family later learnt that Madam Rachel was admitted to hospital another three times - in November 2009, January 2010 and August 2010.

She has no idea why her sister was hospitalised as they found out after the fact.

She is chasing down every lead.

She said: "I understand Singaporeans need visas to visit Nigeria. If she left in 2010, her visa would have run out by now."

Ms Sophia has also approached Mr Joseph Tan, founder of Crime Library, asking him to search for her sister.

Mr Tan, a former policeman, confirmed that he was approached and told The New Paper he was getting in touch with his contacts in Nigeria.

Said Ms Sophia: "I don't know if she is dead or in jail or what. All I want to know is where she is now and if she is well. That way, the family and I will have some sort of closure."

He never showed up at conference

The fourth-year medical student was supposed to have presented a paper at a conference in Greece.

He flew to Athens on Sept 25, 2011, but Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School student Kouk Leong Jin (above), then 28, never showed up at the appointed time.

According to previous reports, he sent a text to his wife Seow Shu Ping, a teacher, upon arriving in the European country. In an e-mail sent on the day he disappeared, Mr Kouk had said he might visit "some islands".

A staff member from the Greek police said Mr Kouk's phone was last used on the night he disappeared.

Newspapers, Internet sites and TV stations in Greece spread the news about the missing man.

Some news stations even televised an appeal by his tearful wife on the hour.

The Singapore Police had also sought help through global police organisation Interpol to help locate him.

However, the extensive searches proved futile.

Boys would have been 40 now

Their disappearance was, and still is, one of Singapore's greatest mysteries.

Toh Hong Huat (right) and Keh Chin Ann (below), both 12 then, had left their bags in school and walked to a nearby shop to buy some sweets.

Since that fateful day on May 14, 1986, the two boys have been missing.

Almost 28 years have passed. Both of them would have been 40 this year.

The two Primary 6 students of Owen Primary School were last seen on their way to school.

Leaflets with the boys' photographs were distributed.

McDonald's chain of restaurants offered a reward of $100,000 for information, but to no avail.

Police conducted an islandwide search but also drew a blank.

The net was then extended to include Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. But the massive search still came up empty-handed.

WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE GOES MISSING

l Lodge a missing person report. There is no minimum time required for the missing person to have lost contact with family members before the report can be lodged.

l Provide the police with the missing person's name, date of birth, height, weight and descriptions of any other features such as moles.

l Provide a recent photo of the missing person.

l Tell them when you first noticed the person went missing and what clothing he or she was wearing.

You can call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.spf.gov.sg/CrimeStopper. All information received is kept strictly confidential.

Even though under the law, a person can be presumed dead if he has disappeared and has not been heard from for seven years, a lawyer The New Paper spoke to said it is possible to apply for a court order to presume the missing person dead even before the seven years are up.