GEORGE TOWN • It was the evening rush hour and Ruby Lee Poh Ai had just left her freight-forwarding company at a building in Lebuh Pekaka 1 in Penang.
Five minutes later, Ms Lee was dead, gunned down hitman-style as she was driving. As her white BMW pulled out onto the main road leading to Jalan Bukit Gambir at around 5.45pm, two men drew up on a motorcycle beside her.
The pillion fired at least 10 shots.
Ms Lee, 49, died on the spot. At least six shots struck her and her car rammed into a four-wheel drive in front before screeching to a stop.
The driver of the four-wheel drive escaped unhurt.
Police believe that the assailants had been waiting for Ms Lee to leave the office before killing her.
She was neither a Datin or Datin Seri. She was also not the wife of any gangster as far as we know. The incident is not related to any gangland activity. We are still in the dark over the motive.
PENANG CID CHIEF SENIOR ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER ZAINOL SAMAH
Penang Criminal Investigation Department Chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Zainol Samah said Ms Lee had been working in the shipping and logistics industry. "She was neither a Datin or Datin Seri. She was also not the wife of any gangster as far as we know.
"The incident is not related to any gangland activity. We are still in the dark over the motive," Commissioner Zainol said, adding that the case has been classified as murder.
Sources told The Star that Ms Lee's husband was a partner in a nightclub business on the island.
A check by The Star on her condominium unit in Tanjung Bungah showed that it was quiet and no one seemed to be in.
Police have since set up roadblocks in several areas, including Batu Lanchang, Air Itam and Paya Terubong, to track down the assailants.
A 25-year-old student, who declined to be named, said he was driving along the same road when he heard what sounded like firecrackers. "I did not think these were gunshots at first. I wound down my window and heard more loud noises. Then, I saw people crowding around. I parked my car and when I got nearer, I saw a car with bullet holes in the window."
He then alerted the police.
Family members claimed Ms Lee's body at the Penang Hospital mortuary yesterday. Among them was her husband, Mr Siak Kum Guan, 51.
He said he was deeply saddened by his wife's death, describing it as a tragedy. "I cannot talk much about this as I have to go to the Timur Laut District Police headquarters to give my statements," Bernama news agency quoted him as saying.
A family member, who insisted on anonymity, said Ms Lee's remains will be kept at the funeral home for five days so that funeral prayers and religious rituals could be carried out.
The man said the victim's daughter, who is pursuing studies in England, is now on her way back to Malaysia.
"Ruby has a son and a daughter. Her son was staying with her and her daughter, who is studying in England, is expected to arrive here later tonight for the funeral," Bernama quoted him as saying yesterday.
Ms Lee's murder was reminiscent of an incident last July when a real estate agent was shot dead - also at close range by two assailants on a motorcycle while she was driving in Kuala Lumpur.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK