Body parts murder has nearly killed his business
Co-owner of lodging house where murder suspects & victim stayed says:
Murder is just bad for business.
Just ask the owner of the unnamed lodging house at 6B, Rowell Road.
Located in an area known for prostitution and cheap accommodation, 6B is now known for its connection to a grisly murder.
Rowell Road is just behind Desker Road, one of the more notorious of Singapore's red light districts.
On June 11, the legless body of a man was found tucked in a suitcase dripping with blood. The suspects were traced to the lodging house.
And since the arrests of two Pakistani guests of the lodging house on the same day, business has slowed to a crawl.
The co-owner of 6B agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.
John (not his real name) said he met the alleged killers again yesterday. To re-enact the crime, police took the two suspects separately back to the lodging house.
At around 10.30am, detectives got John to unlock the front door of his lodging house.
The two Pakistani suspects - Rasheed Muhammad, 43, and Ramzan Rizwan, 25 - and the victim, Mr Muhammad Noor, 59, are believed to have been roommates at 6B.
As John held the door open for the murder suspects and police investigators, he thought of only one thing: his business.
Even in an area known for sleaze, crime can be bad for business. The murder killed his business, said John.
"I have lost business thanks to these two. Since that day, people have stopped coming here," John said.
"Business is very bad now."
Visibly frustrated, he told The New Paper most of his previous occupants had packed their things and left after they heard about the murder.
"Usually, I would have around eight to 10 people staying here. Now, there are only two left.
"They tell me that they are scared and fearful (of what happened)."
Many of his guests are South Asians on social visit passes who would come here to sell tissue papers or do odd jobs to earn money, Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported.
Some would stay for months. They paid between $18 to $60 per night for their stay.
John spoke to TNP on the sidelines of a police re-enactment of the crime yesterday.
Both suspects were escorted by police officers and investigators from the Criminal Investigation Department to re-enact what happened.
John said: "Owners of neighbouring shops came and asked us, 'Why like that?'
"But I don't know how to answer them.
"The police did not tell me anything about what happened.
"People are alarmed, and neighbours are questioning here and there. It's a gruesome murder and everyone is surprised that this happened so close to them."
Watching the re-enactment, customers and shop owners at nearby eateries used their mobile phones to photograph the suspects.
A staff member of a nearby ayurvedic spa, who did not want to be identified, said she was shocked when she saw police officers at the lodging house last week.
"Business is not affected, but it is surely not good for the long term with so many police and media asking questions," she said.
The older suspect and the victim checked in about a month ago, on May 17. The younger suspect moved in 11 days later.
The lodge has seven rooms on the ground floor and eight on the second floor. Each room accommodates between two and three people.
Both suspects and the victim had allegedly stayed together on the second floor.
They had flown in from Karachi and were supposed to fly home together on June 27. They each paid $18 a night for their stay, said the co-owner.
The murder of Mr Muhammad Noor, who was also from Pakistan, allegedly took place in the room.
They allegedly cut his legs from his body with an electric saw, then disposed of his legless body in a suitcase at Syed Alwi Road last Wednesday.
The police found the pair of severed legs in a Muslim cemetery at Jalan Kubor the next day.
On Saturday, the two suspects were charged with his murder.
Asked how he plans to rejuvenate his business, John said: "We cannot (prevent) the police from questioning everybody, including my customers. Everyone is bound to want to avoid this, but I hope they will come back when it is calmer.
"We don't know what to do for now, we will just have to wait and see."
People are alarmed... It’s a gruesome murder and everyone is surprised that this happened so close to them.
— John, the co-owner of 6B Rowell Road lodging house, where a gruesome killing took place
Re-enactment of murder at crime scene
The two suspects in the legless body murder case - Rasheed Muhammad, 43, and Ramzan Rizwan, 25 - were taken to various locations in Little India to re-enact the crime yesterday morning.
For an hour each, they were separately ferried around in a white unmarked van, which was closely followed by police vehicles.
The suspects led the police to different locations to piece together the events that led to them allegedly killing their roommate. And through it all, both men remained bound at the wrists and legs.
First, they were escorted to the lodging house at 6B, Rowell Road.
Head bowed, the bearded Rasheed was first to reach the crime scene. He was taken to Syed Alwi Road, where the legless body of Mr Muhammad Noor, 59, was found in a blood-stained suitcase.
For five minutes, the suspect stayed in the van at a hardware shop on Veerasamy Road, where a handsaw allegedly used to cut up the body is believed to have been bought.
Ramzan was taken to a Muslim cemetery at Jalan Kubor - where the legs of their victim was found last Thursday - after visiting the lodging house.
The suspects spoke to officers through a translator.
At Rowell Road, a small crowd of shop owners and customers taken out mobile phones to record both suspects being led around by officers.
Tenant heard banging noises on morning of alleged murder
TENANT: Miss Ayu said that she has stayed at the lodging house for three months.
Many guests moved out of 6B after the murder.
But not Miss Ayu, 37.
The waitress, who has been living there since March, said the incident has not affected her.
Miss Ayu said that she had heard banging noises from one of the rooms on the morning of the alleged murder.
She said in Malay: "It was in the wee hours of the morning. I wasn't quite sure exactly where the noise was coming from, so I poked my head out the door.
"I didn't see anything out of the ordinary, so I went back to bed.
"I didn't even know about the case until my friends told me about it later. I was shocked at first, but I'm fine now."
She said that since the incident, nearly all the other tenants have moved out. There are only two others left.
But she said she is not afraid to stay on.
With a smile, she added in Malay: "I used to work in many lounges and bars where people used to fight. I've seen unconscious people covered in blood many times.
"I guess I'm used to such things."
Miss Ayu, who lives in Bukit Merah, pays $60 a night for a ground-storey room at 6B.
Declining to speak about her family and her home, she said she prefers to stay at the lodging because it is close to her workplace in Little India.
She is believed to be the only local staying at 6B, which is less than a five-minute walk from Mustafa Centre and is popular with South Asian tourists.
Each of the 15 rooms is about the size of half an HDB bedroom. Privacy is a premium as guests have to walk down narrow corridors to reach their rooms.
TNP spoke to a guest who was seen walking out of 6B yesterday.
Wanting to be known only as Mr Kasem, he said that he came from India. He added in halting English: "I don't know anything. I just moved here three days ago."
Rowell Road wears two faces.
By day, it is a thriving commerce centre with shoppers from the nearby Mustafa Centre lugging their shopping bags and visiting shops along Rowell Road. Eateries along the stretch are packed with South Asian tourists and foreigners tucking in.
But at night, commerce gives way to an old trade. Because it is located near the red-light district at Desker Road, sex workers strut down the road.
That never frightened away guests.
But a murder has.
- SHAFFIQ ALKHATIB