Elder victim in suspected Kovan double murder was hardworking, kind: employee

Sia Ling Xin
The elder victim in the suspected double murder case in Kovan was a friendly and humble man, according to various people who knew him. (Yahoo! photos)

[UPDATE 11 July, 9.30pm: Adding details of elder victim, as provided by his ex-business partner.]

Tan Boon Sin, the elder victim in the suspected double murder case in Kovan, worked his way up from a humble job at a petrol station. He was a boss that treated his employees well, and was a friendly and generous person.

That's the picture painted by his ex-business partner Chong Hoy Song, who found out about the double murders on Thursday morning. Tan had established Soc Leon Motor Works, in the late 1960s, with Chong, his colleague at the station.

Chong, who spoke to Yahoo! Singapore on Thursday evening, said that when they started the company in 1968, the duo couldn't afford much. There was once, he recalled, they shared a can of black tea and a loaf of bread for lunch.

Chong remembers Tan as a boss who treated his employees well - for instance, he would treat them to a meal every year. Chong continued to be invited to this annual meal even though he had sold his shares to Tan in 2007 when he retired.

Tan, who loved to fish, was a generous man and did not "drink, gamble or smoke", Chong added. The last time the friends met up was in early June when Chong went to the car workshop to have his car serviced. According to him, Tan, a father of three adult children, would still do the odd job here and there but left the heavier tasks to his employees.

Chong added that Tan Chee Heong, Tan's eldest son, was the one who was dragged by the runaway car.

Earlier, various people who knew Tan had painted the same picture of the deceased - they said he was a friendly and humble man.

Tan was reportedly found dead in his home at 14J Hillside Drive on Wednesday afternoon after police discovered his son’s body close to the Kovan MRT station.

Eyewitnesses had told police they had seen a car dragging a man from Hillside Drive to the vicinity of the station 1km away.

Tan's company, Soc Leon Motor Works, which used to be at Eunos Avenue 3, is now at 1 Kaki Bukit Ave 6 several years ago.

Employees and owners of car shops in the Kaki Bukit area interviewed by Yahoo! Singapore had good things to say about Tan. One described him as a man who “never walks with his face to the sky, unlike certain haughty businessmen”. Another said he was “smiley, easy-going”.

Irene Liow, 40, an employee of an automobile company in Eunos, said she was good friends with the late car business owner.

She has worked at Kim Sia Auto Service for over ten years, and got to know Tan as they both worked in the same area.

According to her, Tan was a “kind man who took care of her like a father would a daughter”.

She added that Tan was close friends with her boss, a man in his 50s, and the pair used to go on fishing trips around Singapore and overseas together.

An employee of Soc Leon Motor Works told Yahoo! Singapore in Mandarin that they were inundated by calls from customers who wanted to ask after Tan after hearing about the accident.

Business has been the same as usual in recent weeks, she said, adding that the family has yet to inform the staff who will be taking over the business.

She described him as a hardworking man who, despite being elderly, went to the shop every day.

However, the employees hardly saw his son, she said.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, police recounted that they had received a call for assistance regarding an accident between a car and pedestrian at 3:41pm Wednesday.

Upon arrival, a 42-year-old male was pronounced dead by paramedics at 3:53pm, and police investigation led to the discovery of the body of a 67-year-old male in the vicinity. The latter was pronounced dead at 4:51pm.

The car allegedly involved has been recovered, police said. Earlier, they had appealed for information on a silver Toyota Camry with licence plate SGM 14J.

Police said the case has been classified as murder and investigations are ongoing.

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