Singaporean suspect identified as Mitchell Ong appears in Spanish court in connection with death of Audrey Fang

Media reports confirm both Fang's and Ong's phones were in same vicinity on day of her death; 'economic motive' may be behind killing

Mitchell Ong made a court appearance on Friday in relation to the death of Singaporean architect Audrey Fang in Spain. Spanish news sources including La Verdad de Murcia identified Ong as the individual involved in the case
Mitchell Ong made a court appearance on Friday in relation to the death of Singaporean architect Audrey Fang in Spain. Spanish news sources including La Verdad de Murcia identified Ong as the individual involved in the case. (PHOTO: Fang Dirou/Facebook and guardiacivil/X)

SINGAPORE — A 43-year-old Singaporean man, identified by Spanish media as Mitchell Ong, appeared in court in Murcia on Friday (19 April) in connection with the death of Singaporean architect Audrey Fang last week.

Ong was identified by Spanish news outlet La Verdad de Murcia on Saturday (20 April). Two other Spanish media outlets, La Opinión de Murcia and Levante El Mercantil Valenciano, also identified the Singaporean man with his initials "OM". He was arrested in Alicante on 16 April.

Fang, 39, was found dead with 30 stab wounds near a parking area for lorries in the town of Abanilla on 10 April.

No sexual assault suspected

According to Levante El Mercantil Valenciano, police have confirmed that both Fang's and Ong's mobile phones were in the same vicinity in Abanilla on the day of her death. The report also said that she was not sexually assaulted.

It was also mentioned in the report that Fang and the suspect had known each other for many years, and there might have been an "economic motive" for the killing. She had reportedly transferred money to an unidentified third person.

Fang's family, who are in Spain, have identified her body. The judge agreed to their lawyer's request that the accused be remanded in custody while investigations continue. La Opinión de Murcia reported that the suspect was not offered bail.

Spain's Civil Guard had on Friday released video footage of a vehicle that had picked up Fang, as well as Ong being taken to a hotel room that investigators were searching.

What is known of Mitchell Ong

Media reports describe Ong as allegedly having a taste for expensive attire, and often indulging in stays at luxury hotels and renting high-end cars.

Ong had also indicated he was in Alicante on 4 April. His social media account revealed that he is 1.88m tall and a gym enthusiast.

Singapore Mandarin news outlet 8World reported that he got married in June 2012, according to local marriage registration records, which was corroborated by one of his former business partners. It added that he was residing in a condominium in Bukit Timah.

According to one of his LinkedIn pages, Ong described himself as "the founder of three technology start-ups". He transitioned from being a consultant at a financial advisory firm in 2013 to involvement in a company focused on providing educational tools for financial literacy.

The Straits Times reported on Saturday that a spokeswoman for the Civil Guard had earlier informed the media outlet that the suspect may have been romantically involved with Fang. She added, "We are still investigating the motive for this killing. There are various possible motives, which could be economic or a case of domestic violence."

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) told Yahoo Southeast Asia on Monday (22 April) that it has been assisting Spanish authorities with the case. "As the incident had happened in Spain, the Singapore Police Force has and will continue to render the necessary assistance to the Spanish authorities within the ambit of our laws," it said.

Disappearance timeline

Fang travelled alone to Xabia on 4 April. Although she informed her family that she might meet a friend in Spain, she did not disclose the friend's identity.

Hotel staff alerted authorities on 9 April upon finding her belongings in her room, as she had not returned. Her family filed a report with Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 11 April when she became uncontactable from the day before.

Scheduled to return on 12 April from Barcelona, she did not show up at Changi Airport, prompting her brother to file a police report that day.

Fang, who lived with her father and younger brother and was single, was to start a new job in May after a trip to Japan with her aunt and cousin at the end of April.

The court magistrate on 19 April ruled her body could be returned to her family for repatriation to Singapore.

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