GEORGE TOWN: After 32 years of fighting and investigating serious crimes, ASP Wong Yuet Oon let down his guard on Wednesday, sobbing openly for 60--year--old snatch theft victim Tan Kim Chuan, who died seven hours after being robbed.
The 50--year--old father--oftwo, who was with the Northeast District criminal investigation department, said he could not hold back his tears when he learned of Tan's death at the morgue.
The widow and coffee shop worker became a victim of a motorcyclist, who snatched her handbag, causing her to fall and hit her head on the ground while on her way to a bus stop in Rifle Range, Air Itam.
The 6.02am incident was recorded on closed--circuit TV (CCTV) showing passers--by ignoring her plight for about seven minutes.
She died at about 1.45pm that day from a cracked skull and internal bleeding in the head.
Though he did not cry at her funeral yesterday, Wong still felt strongly for Tan whom he claimed should not have died under such circumstances.
He said he had investigated four murder cases in the past two years where the victims' limbs were dismembered but was unaffected by them.
"But this case is very sad because she is just an innocent victim. It is unfortunate she had to die this way after the assailant's cruel act. I cannot accept her death.
"She was alive in the morning, and by 1.45pm, she was dead. How do you feel when she was a healthy person? It was a sudden thing. I myself, as a police officer, cannot accept it. That's why I cried."
Wong, who is investigating Tan's case that has been classified as murder, said his previous cases had a motive but the latest one did not.
He said since it was also his first snatch theft case where the victim died, emotions were hard to control when he met Tan's family at the morgue on Wednesday.
Asked if there have been any leads to the case, Wong said the police were using high--tech equipment to read the number plate and features of the suspect from the CCTV footage.
Speaking to The Malay Mail at Tan's funeral in Mount Erskine yesterday Wong said by determining the snatch thief's features, the police might be able to make a match with previous cases in the area.
Also present was Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
He said the police had scoured the area for any evidence linked to Tan, such as her handbag, identity card or hand phone, that may have been discarded by the suspect.
"We have not found anything yet but the items found on the victim, such as her watch and RM409 in her pocket, could also provide some clues. This tells us the handbag may not have had much money."
Wong urged the public to come forward with any information relating to the case.
He said he rose through the rank and file where he started his career in the force as a constable.
He was transferred to Penang two years ago to investigate murders and serious crimes, including firearm possession.