Kallang body parts murder
In June 2005, Chinese national Liu Hong Mei was killed by her supervisor and lover, Leong Siew Chor, who subsequently chopped up the body up into seven parts.1 After the murder, Liu’s body parts and belongings were dumped at various places – in 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. The crime became known as the “Kallang body parts murder”.2
Liu was a 22-year-old Chinese national working in Singapore. Leong was 50 years old and married with three children. Both Liu and Leong worked at Agere Systems Singapore in Serangoon, where Liu was a production operator and Leong was her supervisor. In mid-2004, the two began an affair.3
On 13 June, the two checked into a hotel in Geylang. While Liu was occupied, Leong stole her bank card. Leong knew her personal identification number, and over the next two days, he withdrew over S$2,000 from the account 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.4
The murder is believed to have taken place sometime 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, and then placed the body parts into green plastic bags and cardboard boxes.5
Leong 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 Station on his way to work. After the crime, Leong 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.6 Her colleagues eventually filed a missing-persons report with the police.7
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 to be discovered. The cleaner came upon the lower torso, while the police found the upper torso further down on the river bank. The following day, the police found the head and legs in bags from the Singapore River headed for the Tuas incineration plant.8 Liu’s feet, clothes and belongings were never recovered.9
Leong was arrested on 17 June and charged with murder the following day.10 He was remanded in Changi and Queenstown Prisons while police investigations and a psychiatric evaluation were conducted.11 During this period, he was also neither allowed to meet his family nor his lawyer, the well-known criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan.12
Liu’s funeral was delayed due to forensic investigations carried out by the police. The process was complicated because of the decomposed nature of the victim’s body parts.13 Her wake was finally held on 12 July 2005, and was attended by more than 100 sympathisers.14
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.15
However, Leong later changed his statement in June 2006, stating that he had killed her because he had feared being found out for stealing over S$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.16 Tay argued that suicide was not consistent with Liu’s situation as she had been young and had a stable job.17
Leong was found guilty and sentenced to death on 19 May 2006.18 He appealed, but the Court of Appeal ruled against him in September 2006.19 A second attempt to have his appeal reheard was also unsuccessful.20 He then appealed to then President S. R. Nathan for clemency in November 2007, but this was also rejected. Leong was hanged on 30 November 2007.21
Mid-2004: Affair between Leong and Liu begins.
13 Jun 2005: Leong steals Liu’s bank card.
14 Jun 2005: Leong withdraws over S$2,000 from Liu’s bank account from several ATM machines. Liu makes a police report about the loss.
15–16 Jun 2005: Leong strangles Liu, chops her body into seven parts and dumps them at various locations.
17 June 2005: Liu’s upper and lower parts of her torso are discovered on the banks of the Kallang River.
17 June 2005: Leong is arrested.
18 June 2005: Liu’s head and lower limbs were found at a Tuas incinerator plant.
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.
1. “How the Murder Unfolded,” Today, 9 May 2006, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
2. Tanya Fong, “He Cut Body Bit by Bit, Starting with Feet,” Straits Times, 5 May 2006, 13; Tanya Fong and Teh Joo Lin, “China Girl, 22, Is Victim; Man, 50, Held,” Straits Times, 18 June 2005, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
3. Selina Lum, “Report of Stolen ATM Card Led to Killing, Court Told,” Straits Times, 4 May 2006, 1. (From NewspaperSG); Subhas Anandan, The Best I Could (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2009), 184. (Call no. RSING 340.092 ANA)
4. Lum, “Report of Stolen ATM Card Led to Killing”; Teo Xuanwei, Did Lost ATM Card Lead to Her Death? Today, 4 May 2006, 12. (From NewspaperSG); Anandan, The Best I Could, 188.
5. Fong, “He Cut Body Bit by Bit, Starting with Feet”; “How the Murder Unfolded”; Lum, “Report of Stolen ATM Card Led to Killing.”
6. Fong, “He Cut Body Bit by Bit, Starting with Feet.”
7. Fong and Teh, “China Girl, 22, Is Victim; Man, 50, Held.”
8. Lum, “Report of Stolen ATM Card Led to Killing”; “Money and Murder,” Straits Times, 2 July 2005, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
9. Teo, Did Lost ATM Card Lead to Her Death?; Anandan, The Best I Could, 185.
10. “Money and Murder.”
11. “Body Parts Case: Accused Is Remanded Again,” Straits Times, 30 July 2005, 2. (From NewspaperSG)
12. “Immediate Legal Access to Lawyer Could Impede Police Probe,” Today, 19 October 2005, 2; Tanya Fong, “Police Persuaded Me to Change Statement: Accused,” Straits Times, 6 May 2006, 17. (From NewspaperSG)
13. “No Funeral for Body Parts Victim – Yet,” Today, 24 June 2005, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
14. Tracy Sua, “Final Send-Off,” Straits Times, 12 July 2005, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
15. Elena Chong, “Kallang Body Parts Killer to Hang on Friday,” Straits Times, 28 November 2007, 42; Teo Xuanwei, “Judge: Leong Volunteered Police Statement,” Today, 6 May 2006, 9. (From NewspaperSG)
16. Fong, “Police Persuaded Me to Change Statement.”
17. Chong, “Kallang Body Parts Killer to Hang on Friday.”
18. Selina Lum, “Killer to hang,” Straits Times, 20 May 2006, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
19. Selina Lum, “Kallang Body Parts Murder: Killer’s Appeal Thrown Out,” Straits Times, 28 September 2006, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
20. Ansley Ng, “Another Blow for ‘Body Parts’ Murderer,” Today, 22 August 2007, 11. (From NewspaperSG)
21. Chong, “Kallang Body Parts Killer to Hang on Friday.”
“More Tweaks Needed to Legal System,” Straits Times, 27 October 2006, 33. (From NewspaperSG)
The information in this article is valid as at 2016 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.