Man convicted of killing ex-wife in Perth was jailed here in ‘70s

Businessman convicted of 2016 Perth murder had Singapore criminal record

The businessman convicted in Perth last week of killing his 58-year-old ex-wife was jailed for cheating in 1978 while working as a DBS Bank executive.

Ban Ah Ping's Singapore criminal record was revealed during the three-week murder trial in a West Australian court recently.

Ban, 67, and his 27-year-old daughter Tiffany Wan were found guilty by a jury after five days of deliberations. Ban was found guilty of murder while Wan was found guilty of being an accessory to murder.

Ms Annabelle Chen's body was found stuffed inside a suitcase partly submerged in the Swan River on July 2, 2016.

According to a 1978 report by The Straits Times, Ban was 27 years old when he was convicted of cheating the bank of US$250,000 (then S$575,000).

In his mitigation, Ban said he had made full restitution and had cooperated with the police.

Veteran lawyer Choo Si Sen, who defended Ban in the case, described the former bank officer as "a very intelligent man, soft-spoken and bespectacled", adding it was a high-profile case at the time.

Ban, reportedly an Australian national now, was jailed for 31/2 years in Singapore in July 1978. But he appeared to have subsequently done well in business.

By 1985, he had married Ms Chen in Singapore but the marriage broke down sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s, and the couple were divorced.

Police in Perth said Ms Chen and her daughter moved to the city from Singapore in 1999.

It is believed that as part of the divorce settlement, Ms Chen received $15 million. She then moved into a Mosman Park home in Perth's south-west, where she lived from 2002.

During the murder trial, it emerged that Ban was facing business difficulties and had tried to secure a loan from his ex-wife, who refused.

Wan, who was living in Melbourne then, later gave her father a total of A$138,000 (S$135,000).

Ms Chen is believed to have been killed on June 30, 2016. During the trial, Ban and his daughter blamed each other for the murder.

On July 1, Ms Chen's body was squeezed into a suitcase that was weighed down with tiles and dumped into the river.

The next day, Ban returned to Singapore and Wan went back to Melbourne, where she was studying.

That same day, two fishermen spotted a human foot hanging out of a suitcase and floral green ceramic tiles found inside were later said to match those in a bathroom in a house which Ms Chen owned between 2005 and 2009.

Perth-based Senior Counsel Simon Freitag, who defended Wan, told ST that the pair are due to be sentenced on Nov 22 at the Perth Supreme Court.

The West Australian reported last week that the jury was told he had four aliases and, after being declared bankrupt, used nominees to hide assets worth millions of dollars.