Murder stories served up by journalists at latest ST talk

(From left) Straits Times journalist Lim Yan Liang, deputy editor Alan John and photo editor Stephanie Yeow at a talk on crime organised as part of the Straits Times Appreciates Readers programme. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA 
(From left) Straits Times journalist Lim Yan Liang, deputy editor Alan John and photo editor Stephanie Yeow at a talk on crime organised as part of the Straits Times Appreciates Readers programme. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA 

SINGAPORE - For Mr Lim Yan Liang, 27, a crime reporter of two years at The Straits Times, covering gruesome murders on the job did not give him sleepless nights.

Instead, it was a job that excited him, because it allowed him to be in the thick of action, he said at a talk held at the National Museum of Singapore on Friday night.

The young journalist had covered two murder cases during his time at the paper -the 2013 Kovan double murders of a father and son who were allegedly killed by police senior staff sergeant Iskandar Rahmat, and the case earlier this month in which 59-year-old Muhammad Noor's body was found in a suitcase with the legs cut off.

He shared snippets at a talk on crime organised as part of the Straits Times Appreciates Readers programme. It was held in conjunction with We: Defining Stories, a photo exhibition held by the newspaper and the museum that will run until Aug 31, 2014.

The exhibition aims to give people the chance to revisit landmark moments in Singapore's history and features more than 400 photographs from the newspaper's archives and the museum's collection.

Speaking alongside Mr Lim last night was deputy editor Alan John, 60, who has been with the paper for more than 30 years.

During the 90-minute session, he spoke of the infamous Adrian Lim ritual killings which shocked Singapore in the 1980s. Lim, his wife Tan Mui Choo and girlfriend Hoe Kah Hong were hanged in 1988 for the murder of nine-year-old Agnes Ng and 10-year-old Ghazali Marzuki in the couple's Toa Payoh flat in 1981.

Mr John wrote a book on the case called Unholy Trinity, based on court records and newspaper reports.

He also shared how crime stories are covered at the paper, and why some cases are covered more than others - based on factors such as who the victims and suspects are, the circumstances of the death, public reaction and details that emerge at the time of the killing and in court.

The next talk, on the topic of tragedies and natural disasters, will be on Aug 5.