Temple death classified as murder

Police officers and undertakers removing the body of Mr Tan Poh Huat from the temple in Teck Whye Lane on Sunday. The victim's sister, Madam Tan Sui Kee, believes her brother had been carrying more than $10,000, as people had seen him exchanging note
Police officers and undertakers removing the body of Mr Tan Poh Huat from the temple in Teck Whye Lane on Sunday. The victim's sister, Madam Tan Sui Kee, believes her brother had been carrying more than $10,000, as people had seen him exchanging notes at a nearby coffee shop. But later, no money was found on him.TNP FILE PHOTO

The police yesterday classified the case of a 53-year-old man found dead in a temple along Teck Whye Lane as murder.

A pest control worker had found Mr Tan Poh Huat lying motionless in Chua Chu Kang Lian Sing Keng temple on Sunday morning.

The worker had also seen a 2m trail of blood outside the prayer hall. Paramedics at the scene pronounced Mr Tan dead at 7.09am. It is understood that he had sustained a head injury.

The police initially classified the case as an unnatural death, but did not rule out foul play.

Investigations are ongoing.

Mr Tan's sister, Madam Tan Sui Kee, yesterday said footage from the temple's two closed circuit television cameras showed a masked, tattooed man climbing into the temple in the middle of the night.

The part-time sales worker believes her brother had been carrying more than $10,000, as people had seen him exchanging notes at a nearby coffee shop. But later, no money was found on him.

The 60-year-old had told reporters earlier that her brother was not known to have been involved in any disputes.

One of the victim's two brothers, Mr Tan Seng Hock, 59, said he did not know what happened and declined to comment further when contacted.

Mr Tan, who was divorced and unemployed, had been living in the temple for the past five years. He had three children.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2016, with the headline 'Temple death classified as murder'. Print Edition | Subscribe