Trial of ex-cop over Kovan murders begins on Oct 20
On July 10, 2013, the suburban neighbourhood of Kovan was shaken by a grisly crime.
The body of a 42-year-old man was found on the road outside Kovan MRT station with a 1km-long blood trail that led to the discovery of another body in a house.
It sparked a 54-hour manhunt that ended when the murder suspect, a former police officer, was arrested in Johor two days later.
With the murder trial set to begin in the High Court tomorrow, ELIZABETH LAW (firstname.lastname@example.org) looks back at the drama and intrigue of the case.
The body of Mr Tan Chee Heong, the director of an electronics products company, was found at a taxi stand outside Kovan MRT.
It had been dragged about 1km, leaving behind it a blood trail that led to his father's house at 14J, Hillside Drive.
At the house, police officers discovered the body of car workshop owner Tan Boon Sin.
His car, a Toyota Camry with the number plate SGM 14J - the family house number - was missing.
The suspect was established to be police officer Iskandar Rahmat, 34, who had handled a police report the elder Mr Tan had made in 2012 about a theft from his safe deposit box.
At the time of the killings, Iskandar had been put on administrative duty.
The stolen car was found the next day at a parking lot in Eunos. By then, Iskandar had fled to Johor.
He was arrested by Malaysian police on the night of July 12 at a restaurant in Danga Bay.
Iskandar was charged with the double murders on July 15, 2013, and faces the death penalty. He has claimed trial to both charges.
Two tranches have been set for the trial. The first part starts tomorrow and will go on till Oct 30. The trial will break and continue in April next year.
The prosecution team is led by Senior State Counsel Lau Wing Yum.
There will be 102 prosecution witnesses.
Those testifying in the first tranche include eyewitnesses and police officers, some of whom have worked with Iskandar.
Shin Min Daily News had reported that American forensic scientist Henry Lee, who did post-Sept 11 forensic investigations and has worked on cases like the O.J. Simpson trial and the assassination attempt on former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian, would be a witness.
Iskandar, now 36, is represented by a team of six lawyers under the Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences.
Led by veteran lawyer Shashi Nathan, the team includes Ms Tania Chin and Mr Jeremy Pereira of KhattarWong; Mr Rajan Supramaniam of Hilbourne and Co; and Mr Ferlin Jayatissa and Ms Sudha Nair of Lexcompass.
Mr Nathan told The New Paper that over the last two weeks, the team has been making daily visits to Iskandar in Changi Prison.
"He is very concerned about his trial though as an ex-police officer, he is familiar with the procedure and knows what to expect," Mr Nathan said, adding that his client has been doing a lot of reading on his own to prepare for the trial.
Mr Nathan is arranging for his own forensics expert to testify. The expert testimonies are likely to take place during the second tranche.
There will be one final pre-trial conference today in the High Court before the trial begins tomorrow.
VICTIM 1: Tan Boon Sin
The elder of the two victims, Mr Tan Boon Sin, 67, was an avid hobbyist fisherman who went on regular overseas fishing trips.
A fishing contemporary had described Mr Tan as a friendly, jovial man who seemed younger than his age.
He owned Soc Leon Motor Works, a car repair workshop in Kaki Bukit, which neighbours said was doing "very well".
He was a generous employer, and staff who worked with him for more than 10 years were given Rolex watches.
Soc Leon's head mechanic, who wanted to be known only as Ah Siong, described Mr Tan as a warm, caring and hands-on boss who was very friendly to all and had no airs.
"This shop was his life and blood," he told The New Paper after the murders. "It's all the small things he did that made you feel appreciated. I've been working here for almost 40 years."
Workers at the workshop said the elder Mr Tan left the office just after 1pm on July 10, 2013, a few hours before he was killed.
Mr Tan left behind his wife, Madam Ong Ah Tang, a daughter and another son.
VICTIM 2: Tan Chee Heong
The younger victim, Mr Tan Chee Heong, 42, was the co-founder and director of an electronics products company.
He lived with his family in a Sengkang flat and his wife was a housewife.
At the time of the murder, his elder son was 10 and his younger boy was just three.
During the wake, the elder boy stayed close to his mother, sometimes holding her hand to console her.
The boys' granduncle, Mr Ong Boon Kok, told The New Paper during the wake that when told about his father's and grandfather's deaths, the older boy's first thought was about who would look after his widowed mother.
He also made a number of drawings to be put in their coffins.
For his father, he drew a red sports car and four hearts, representing their family.
But because his father had left them, one of the hearts was further away. On it, the boy wrote, "Daddy I (love) you."
There was also a picture of a sofa because the family's home was under renovation at that time.
ACCUSED: Iskandar Rahmat
A former police officer, Iskandar Rahmat, 36, held the rank of a senior staff sergeant.
He had investigated a case of theft that Mr Tan Boon Sin had reported a year before the murders.
Iskandar was separated from his wife and lived with his parents in a three-room flat in Kim Keat.
Iskandar was arrested by Malaysian police at a Danga Bay restaurant on July 12, two days after the murders.
At a press conference to announce the arrest, then Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee said: "I cannot remember the last time a murder suspect was also a police officer. You may have seen this kind of thing depicted in the movies and on TV, but when it happens for real, it hits you like a freight train."
Iskandar, a 14-year police veteran, had earlier been put on administrative duties.
After a psychiatric assessment, he was found to be not of unsound mind and fit to plead.
If convicted, he could face the death penalty.