News

Murdered Viet woman wanted to go home to see ailing dad

She had plans to return home to Vietnam to visit her parents, especially her ailing father.

But she never got to see them.

Ms Tran Cam Ny, 32, was found dead in a two-room rental flat at Block 406 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 last Thursday.

A 40-year-old Singaporean, Jackson Lim Hou Peng, described by her family as her boyfriend, was charged with her murder last Saturday.

During her wake in a funeral parlour at Sin Ming Drive yesterday, her youngest sister, Miss Tran Thi Kiem Thu, 20, said that her sister had called home just two days before her death.

She told The New Paper in halting Mandarin: "She told us that she wanted to go home in about a month's time.

"She wanted to do her hair and she wanted to see our mother and father.

"Dad had to go for an operation and she had called to ask about him."

Miss Tran said that their father had wanted to come to Singapore for the funeral, but could not do so because of his health.

"Our dad is sick. He cannot walk. He couldn't eat for several days (after he heard about what had happened to Ms Tran)."

She said that a friend had called her in Malaysia, where she works, to tell her about her sister's death. She then broke the tragic news to her mother in Vietnam.

Miss Tran said: "My mum cried when I told her. She said, 'Sister didn't do anything. Why did she have to die?'"

She then flew back to Ho Chi Minh City to bring her mother to Singapore for Ms Tran's wake and funeral.

They arrived here on Tuesday night.

Their mother declined to be identified or interviewed at the wake yesterday.

Miss Tran said: "All the other siblings are waiting for our sister to return home. They cannot come here because we do not have money."

She revealed that her sister had been married twice to Singaporean men.

"She came to Singapore about nine to 10 years ago to get married. She has a daughter aged about nine," she said. "Two years after she got married, her husband divorced her."

A friend, who gave his name only as Mr Chew, 36, said the husband has custody of the daughter.

Miss Tran said her sister later married another Singaporean man, but she could not remember when. The status of their marriage is not known.

She last met her sister about a year ago.

She said: "I came to Singapore for a two-week holiday. Each time we met, it was always for a short time."

Mr Chew, who had known Ms Tran for about eight years, said that she was a filial daughter.

He said in Mandarin: "She came here to work to support her family."

NOT EASILY BULLIED

Mr Chew described the victim as someone who was not easily bullied.

He also said he had seen her with bruises on her hands about a month ago.

Another friend, a Vietnamese food seller who gave her name only as Ms Ah Tao, 31, said that she knew Ms Tran as she had frequented her shop.

She said: "She would come about once every two weeks, usually with a group of friends or alone. I used to tease her about her hair as she liked to wear a braid across her forehead."

She said that Ms Tran's mother had told her that she would not forgive whoever did this to her daughter.

"Her mum still doesn't know why this happened to her.

"She has been crying since she arrived. She thought that Ms Tran was married and she had peace of mind. But this happened and she's very sad."

Ms Ah Tao also said that Ms Tran's second husband was at the mortuary yesterday morning to help with the arrangements.

The couple did not have any children, she added.

Another friend, who gave her name only as Madam Le, 40, said she got to know Ms Tran, who worked as a singer at the same KTV lounge where she was a waitress.

She said: "She worked for only three months and decided to stop."

The family are grateful to undertaker Roland Tay for handling the wake and funeral for free.

Mr Chew said: "Initially, we didn't know whether to hold the wake for one day or two days.

"When we approached Roland, he said he would take care of everything for free. The family is very grateful to him."

The cortege will leave for Mandai Crematorium at 4pm today. The cremation will take place an hour later.

Our dad is sick. He cannot walk. He couldn't eat for several days (after hearing the news).

- Miss Tran Thi Kiem Thu, youngest sister of Ms Tran Cam Ny, who was found dead in an Ang Mo Kio rental flat last Thursday.

Vietnamese community reaches out to family

The Vietnamese community here rallied to help Ms Tran Cam Ny's family.

A friend, who gave her name as Ms Ah Tao, 31, said that when news of Ms Tran's death broke, messages were sent out to look for her family members.

Ms Ah Tao, who has been in Singapore for more than 12 years and runs a Vietnamese eatery, said: "A friend sent me a message, asking for help to look for Ms Tran's family members.

"I saw a picture of her and I could recognise her. I posted on Facebook asking if anyone knew her. We managed to find her sister in Malaysia and contacted her."

Another friend, who gave her name as Madam Le, 40, said that she saw a post on Facebook rallying Vietnamese people in Singapore to help the Tran family.

She said: "Some gave $5, some gave $200, some gave $2,000. My friend gave $4,000 to the mother."

ABOUT THE CASE

THE NEW PAPER, NOV 21

A Vietnamese woman, Ms Tran Cam Ny, 32, was found dead in a two-room rental flat at Block 406, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 last Thursday.

A 40-year-old Singaporean, Jackson Lim Hou Peng, was charged with her murder last Saturday.

It was understood that Lim was in the flat with the dead woman when the police arrived at about 12.30pm.

The police said that no weapon was found and no other suspects were identified or arrested.

Neighbours said they heard a loud commotion on the morning of the murder.

Ms Tran and Lim had been dating for five months, according to the victim's sister, Dinah.

Neighbours also said that Lim used to bring various women back to his flat. These women were typically in their 20s, of slim build and attractive and appeared to be of Thai or Vietnamese descent.

Lim has been remanded for psychiatric investigation. He will appear in court again on Dec 12.

If convicted, he faces the death penalty or life imprisonment. If not sentenced to death, he is liable to be caned.