Kallang body parts murder
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The Kallang Body Parts Murder is one of Singapore’s more prominent criminal cases. The crime took place in June 2005 and involved the murder of Liu Hong Mei, a Chinese national who had been working in Singapore. She was killed by her supervisor and lover, Leong Siew Chor, and subsequently chopped up into seven parts. Her body parts and belongings were then dumped at the Kallang River, Singapore River, rubbish bins along Ubi Road and outside Ang Mo Kio MRT Station. The crime came to light when parts of her body surfaced at Kallang River, giving the crime its name.
Liu was a 22 year-old Chinese national who had come to Singapore to work. Leong was 50 years old and married with three children. Both Liu and Leong worked at Agere Systems Singapore in Serangoon North Avenue 5, where Liu was a production operator and Leong was her supervisor. In mid-2004, the two began to have an affair.
On 13 June, the two checked into a hotel room at Hotel81 in Geylang. While Liu was occupied, Leong stole her bank card. Over the next two days, he withdrew over $2,000 from her savings account. Leong knew her personal identification number, and withdrew the money from ATM machines in Tanjong Katong, Joo Chiat and Haig Road. Liu later discovered that her card was missing and notified the police. She was advised that she could view the surveillance photos of the offender to see if she could identify the person. Not knowing that Leong was the culprit, she confided in him about the theft of her bank card.
The murder is believed to have taken place some time between the mornings of 15 and 16 June at Leong’s home at 114 Lorong 3 Geylang. Leong strangled Liu, and then proceeded to chop her body into seven parts: feet, legs above the knee, lower torso, upper torso and head. He used a chopper and a rubber mallet to cut through her bones. He placed the body parts into green plastic bags and cardboard boxes.
Leong then made several trips on various modes of transportation to dump the parts of Liu’s dismembered body at different sites. He cycled to Ubi Road and dumped her clothes, shoes and feet in separate rubbish bins. He took taxis to the Singapore River and the Kallang River, where he dumped her lower legs and head, and lower and upper torso respectively. He then dumped her handbag and its contents at the rubbish bin outside Ang Mo Kio MRT on his way to work. He then reported for work as usual and denied knowledge of Liu’s whereabouts when other colleagues became worried that she was late and did not show up. Her colleagues eventually filed a missing persons report with the police.
On 17 June, the body parts that Leong had dumped into the Kallang River surfaced and drifted to the bank, where they were discovered by a cleaner. The lower and upper torso were the first parts to be discovered. The cleaner first came upon the lower torso, while the police found the upper torso further down on the river bank. The police subsequently managed to find her head and legs in bags from the Singapore River destined for the Tuas incineration plant. However, despite the best efforts of the police, her feet, clothes and belongings were never recovered.
Leong was arrested on 17 June and charged with murder the following day. He was remanded in Changi and Queenstown Prisons while police investigations and a psychiatric evaluation were conducted. During this period, he was also not allowed to meet with either his family or his lawyer, the well-known criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan.
Liu’s funeral was delayed as the police carried out forensic investigations. The process was complicated due to the decomposed nature of the victim's body parts. Her wake was finally held on 12 July 2005, and was attended by more than 100 sympathisers who went to pay their respects.
Leong’s trial started in May 2006. As the trial progressed, there was controversy over statements he had given to the police. Leong had initially confessed to killing Liu and had cited a failed suicide pact as the motivation. Based on Leong's statement, his defence lawyer argued that he had made a suicide pact with Liu and that she had therefore consented to her death.
However, Leong later changed his statement in June 2005, stating that he had killed her because he had feared being found out for stealing over $2,000 from her using her bank card. Anandan tried to get the judge to dismiss the changed statement as Leong claimed that it was the police that had convinced him to change it in order to get a lighter sentence. Justice Tay Yong Kwang accepted the changed statement, refusing the defence’s arguments that police procedures and actions had been misleading and inappropriate. Tay argued that suicide was not consistent with Liu’s situation as she was still young and stable in her job.
Leong was found guilty and sentenced to death on 19 May 2006. He appealed, but the appeals court ruled against him in September 2006. A second attempt to have his appeal re-heard was also unsuccessful. He then appealed to President S. R. Nathan for clemency in November 2007 but this was also rejected. Leong was hanged on 30 November 2007.
Mid-2004 : Affair between Leong and Liu begins.
13 June 2005 : Leong steals Liu’s bank card.
14 June 2005 : Leong withdraws over $2,000 from Liu’s bank account at several ATM machines.
15-16 June 2005 : Leong strangles Liu, chops her body into seven parts and dumps them in the Singapore River and Kallang River.
16 June 2005 : Liu’s lower torso is discovered at the Kallang River.
17 June 2005 : Leong is arrested.
May 2006 : Murder trial begins in High Court.
19 May 2006 : Leong is sentenced to death.
September 2006 : Leong’s appeal is rejected.
January 2007 : A clemency plea sent to President S. R. Nathan.
November 2007 : President rejects Leong’s plea.
30 November 2007 : Leong is hanged.
Anandan, S. (2009). The best I could. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions.
(Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA)
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More tweaks needed to legal system. (2006, October 27). The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved March 9, 2011, from NewspaperSG.
The information in this article is valid as at 2011 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.