Singapore

Ex-S.League player killed in Bangkok after lovers' dispute

Former S.League player killed in Bangkok after domestic dispute; girlfriend's ex-husband arrested.

He went to Bangkok to watch a football match and made plans to meet his nephew.

But former S.League footballer Sivaneswaran Ramalingam, 29, failed to turn up for their meeting last Friday.

Yesterday, Mr Rajandran Ramasamy, 64, told The New Paper that he later found out to his horror that his Bangkok-based nephew had been killed on Saturday after a dispute with his live-in Belgian girlfriend of five years, Ms Sarah Gieghase.

The alleged killer was another Belgian - her business partner - whom Mr Rajandran knew only as "Kevin".

Yesterday, in a phone interview from Bangkok, a Thai police officer told TNP that Kevin is Ms Gieghase's former husband.

The officer, who declined to be named, added that Kevin had been arrested for committing grievous hurt, not murder, as he had not intended to kill Mr Sivaneswaran.

He said the incident was sparked by a domestic dispute in the couple's condominium apartment during which Mr Sivaneswaran was violent towards Ms Gieghase.

Kevin and a friend showed up at the apartment after Ms Gieghase called her parents for help.

The officer said Kevin intervened by restraining Mr Sivaneswaran in a chokehold, but he had not meant to kill him, only to subdue him.

When police officers arrived at the apartment, Kevin was still holding on to Mr Sivaneswaran's neck, he added.

The officer also said Ms Gieghase had wanted to separate from Mr Sivaneswaran since October last year.

According to Singapore's National Environment Agency's permit to cremate Mr Sivaneswaran's body, he had died of strangulation.

Mr Rajandran, who is self-employed, expressed concerns over the circumstances surrounding his nephew's death.

He told TNP at the wake in Bishan before Mr Sivaneswaran's cremation yesterday: "How can it not be murder? My nephew has been killed. I don't think Siva was violent towards Sarah. I know my nephew.

"He's not a violent man and they have a three-year-old son together. They were a loving couple and she even came to Singapore in April to celebrate the wedding of Siva's brother."

Mr Sivaneswaran was an S.League footballer with Sengkang Punggol (now Hougang United) in 2010.He joined Thai Premier League side Chonburi FC at the end of the season that year. 

Mr Rajandran said he last spoke to his nephew last Thursday evening just before flying to Bangkok, and that Mr Sivaneswaran had promised to meet him the next day.

He waited for him at a football stadium and became worried when he failed to show up.

Early on Saturday, his brother, who is Mr Sivaneswaran's father, called from Singapore to say that his nephew was in trouble.

"My brother told me that my nephew could even be dead. I rushed to his condo. It was like a nightmare," he said.

At the ground floor, he met Ms Gieghase, who tearfully told him: "The body has just left."

She told him that they had a misunderstanding that morning.

Mr Rajandran said: "She told me that she phoned her parents when Siva tried to assault her. The parents then called Kevin and another Belgian man for help.

"Sarah said she let them into the condo and then left the apartment. She said she didn't know what exactly happened next. She later called Siva's father, who then phoned me."

Mr Rajandran said Mr Sivaneswaran's father flew to Bangkok that morning with another son to arrange for his body to be brought home on Sunday.

More than 100 people paid their final respects to Mr Sivaneswaran at the wake yesterday afternoon.

His family members were too busy with the final rites to be interviewed. Ms Gieghase and her son did not attend the funeral.

BEST FRIEND

One mourner, Mr Ashley Ow, 30, said he was shocked to learn of the tragedy from his friends on Saturday morning.

The former Young Lions player said: "Siva was my best friend. I've known him since 2001 when we were with Sembawang Rangers. He was a very nice guy - jovial and easy-going."

Mr Ow said he had met Ms Gieghase many times and understands that she is still married to Kevin.

"She's a nice lady - very pleasant. I've met Kevin once before but we didn't talk."

Asked if he was aware of Mr Sivaneswaran's purported violence towards Ms Gieghase, he replied: "I've never seen him violent towards anyone. It's totally out of character for him to be violent."

Mr Rajandran said he was told that Kevin had been released on bail of about one million baht (S$39,000).

He said: "I'm unhappy about this and I expect justice to be served. My nephew is dead and he didn't deserve to die this way."

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