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Who walks the musty pathways of the local lawbreaking hall of fame? For a country reputed for one of the lowest crime rates in the world and people grounded in the values of civic-mindedness, social responsibility and diligence, acts of deliberate misbehaviour against national jurisdiction must seem like a surreal and far-out reality (except for downloading music off Kazaa, of course).
Imagine my wonderment when a friend from Papau New Guinea told me her home was one of the top ten most dangerous places in the world. She related a story where her relative was stabbed while closing her store one day. My friend never walked along the streets without a mirror to check if someone was closing in from behind. Crime was the norm, not the exception, and was intertwined in the fabric of life.
Perhaps the following exceptions shock us because their reality is founded in something unfamiliar to us - they reveal the thorns in our bed of roses. We live in a bubble, but these stories remind us of those who walked into the other end of urban darkness. Here are some of Singapore's most infamous criminals.
Would you believe it if someone offered you 'holy perfume' as the solution to all your woes?
The details behind the Adrian Lim ritual murders would seem bizarre, a barely believable plot out of a horror movie, in today's modern rationalistic world, if only they had not actually occurred. With child murders, spiritual mediums and age-old deception in the broth, our savouring of these events 23 years later still leaves a bitter aftertaste.
It was the year 1981 when the bodies of two children were discovered in Toa Payoh. Agnes Ng Siew Heok and Ghazali bin Marzuiki, aged 9 and 10 respectively, were both tricked by Hoe Kah Hong, Adrian Lim's mistress, to his flat. Agnes was later found in a bag with signs of sexual violation; Ghazali's body was discovered under a tree, with indications of bruises and burns on his body.
In Adrian Lim's home lay the remnants of a creepy spiritual playground. Pictures of celestial beings lay a strewn in blood; relics of various faiths greeted each other at every corner.
His friendship with a medium named Uncle Willie was the starting point of his foray into the occult. He paid $360 to enter Uncle Willie's tutelage. Consequently, Adrian Lim used these spiritual antics as crafty hoaxes designed to entice the simple-minded with promises of beauty and happiness, into giving him their money, their bodies and even their lives.
Adrian Lim, his wife Catherine Tan Mui Choo and mistress Hoe Kah Hong were hanged in 1988. The women were refused appeals at the Court of Criminal Appeal, the London Privy Council and clemency from President Wee Kim Wee. Adrian Lim was reported by The Straits Times to have gone smiling to his death.