True crime stories — you’re either a fan of the gory details or you can’t bring yourself to go anywhere near them for fear of the nightmares that will follow. For those who fall into the former camp, perhaps you may have heard of this book called Guilty As Charged: 25 Crimes That Have Shaken Singapore Since 1965.
First published by The Straits Times in collaboration with the Singapore Police Force as an e-book in July 2015, the collection of terrifying tales is now available as a hard copy, which is good news for those who still refuse to let go of physical books. The title also made it to ST’s own non-fiction bestseller list today, probably thanks to all those who bought it to satisfy their morbid curiosity.
Anyway, if you haven’t read the book, here’s a glimpse into some of the more standout cases — proceed ahead at your own risk.
Huang Na’s Murder
Eight-year-old Chinese national Huang Na disappeared in 2004, only to resurface again 20 days later, when her badly decomposed body was discovered inside a cardboard box smaller than half her size. The high-profile trial found Malaysian-born vegetable packer Took Leng How guilty of her murder; he was sentenced to death and hanged in 2006.
The Ritual Murders
A series of horrific murders saw children being kidnapped, tortured and killed by charlatan medium Adrian Lim and his two “holy wives”. Some of the victims included a nine-year-old girl who was abducted from church and sexually assaulted before being suffocated, as well as a 10-year-old boy who was taken from a playground, then drugged, choked and drowned.
Lim explained his depraved actions by saying the dead small children were used as a sacrifice to the goddess Kali, who he believed would help him evade an earlier rape charge. Lim and his wives were sentenced to death and hanged in 1988.
The Swimming Trunk Gang
The group of four thieves, oddly enough, preferred to operate in swimming trunks. They broke into homes to rob people at knifepoint, and committed about 500 offences across 30 months before they were arrested, bringing the total worth of their stolen goods up to $500,000. In 1975, the robbers were sentenced to a total of 64 years in jail and 144 strokes of the cane.
Other stories in the book include the 1970 case of Mimi Wong, a dance hostess who was the first woman to be sentenced to death for murdering her Japanese lover’s wife, as well as the 1972 case of Lim Ban Lim, an infamous gunman whose funeral saw 33 inmates escaping from a reformative training centre to attend.