Kidnap victim trying to move on, says family

SINGAPORE — The 79-year-old grandmother who became Singapore’s first kidnap victim in more than a decade stayed away from the limelight yesterday, as Madam Ng Lye Poh broke away from a decade-long routine of going to the market nearby and having breakfast near her home. Instead, she stayed in her Jalan Arif home.

Her son, Sheng Siong boss Lim Hock Chee, said the family is helping her to move on. “She didn’t say much this morning. She’s watching TV now. We’re trying to help her move on,” he said yesterday.

Mdm Ng, who was described as the matriarch of the family, had not slept for close to 24 hours after she was kidnapped on Wednesday, Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.

Two men, Heng Chen Boon, a 50-year-old credit card salesman, and supermarket odd-job worker Lee Sze Yong, 41, were charged yesterday in a district court with the kidnap of Mdm Ng along Hougang Avenue 2 on her way home from the market.

After her domestic helper had returned home, Mdm Ng was approached by a man and duped into following him with his ruse that Mr Lim had suffered a bad fall.

During the abduction, she was blindfolded and bound for hours in a vehicle. She drank water but did not get any food and was only allowed out of the car to relieve herself, according to Lianhe Wanbao. The alleged kidnappers dropped her off near a remote area around Seletar West Camp after the ransom was made, but Heng and Lee were arrested an hour later.

Residents and those who work in Hougang Ave 8 yesterday said they were relieved Mdm Ng is safe. She is a familiar face in the neighbourhood and those who know her described her as a lively and humorous person who would often buy hawkers breakfast.

“I have known her at least 25 years,” said shop landlord Raja Kumar. “She’s very kind, and always likes to help the older people and poor people. And … at least three days a week, she will come here just to pass her time with all of us. I will tell her, next time please don’t come alone. If you need anything, call us, we will send it to your house.”

Mr Lim said he was thankful for the support and well-wishes for his mother. He added that he would arrange for his wife or helper to accompany Mdm Ng around in future. LEONG WAI KIT

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