Woman found dead in Tampines flat; Police investigating case as unnatural death

Police officers carrying away the body of a woman who was found dead in a flat in Tampines, on Feb 13, 2017.
Police officers carrying away the body of a woman who was found dead in a flat in Tampines, on Feb 13, 2017. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Police officers standing outside a flat in Tampines, after a woman was found dead, on Feb 13, 2017.
Police officers standing outside a flat in Tampines, after a woman was found dead, on Feb 13, 2017.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Police tape being used to cordon off the area near a flat in Tampines, after a woman was found dead, on Feb 13, 2017.
Police tape being used to cordon off the area near a flat in Tampines, after a woman was found dead, on Feb 13, 2017.ST PHOTO: NG HUIWEN

SINGAPORE - A 77-year-old woman was found dead in the living room of a fifth floor flat in Tampines on Monday (Feb 13).

Police are investigating the case as an unnatural death.

A Police spokesman said that a call for assistance was received at about 2.10pm at Block 276, Tampines Street 22. It is understood that a neighbour made the call.

The woman, believed to be Madam Tay Quee Lang, was found with a knife lodged in her throat. 

A female family member, who came to the door of the unit later in the evening, would only say that the family is “hurting inside”.

Neighbours told ST that Madam Tay lived in the four-room flat with her husband, who is in his 70s, and an Indonesian maid, who started working for the family only about a month ago.

Engineer Ashaari Hasan Basri, 28, who lives on the same floor, had called the police after hearing the maid’s cries for help. 

“She was crying and shouting ‘ah ma’ (hokkien for grandmother) from inside the unit so I rushed over. She looked at a lost and only told me that ‘ah ma’ had slashed herself with a knife,” he said.

Looking through the window into the unit, he noticed the woman slumped on a wheelchair facing him with a bloodied knife, measuring about 20cms long, lodged in her throat. 

“There was also blood on the floor and on her clothes,” he said.

He added that the couple, whom he described as kind-hearted, loving and friendly, had lived in the flat for more than 30 years.

They also enjoyed going out together, he said.

However, Madam Tay suffered a stroke about three years ago and could no longer move about without her husband’s assistance, said Mr Ashaari’s 56-year-old mother, Madam Ainon Ali.

Madam Ainon said that Madam Tay fell down at home around the end of last year and had to be in a wheelchair since then. She also stopped going down to do exercises. 

Madam Tay’s husband, Mr Tan Hee Seng, would visit the nearby market to buy groceries to cook lunch for his wife almost every day.

He had been out for a check-up at the hospital when the incident happened. He returned only after police had arrived on scene.

At about 5.30pm, about 10 people - believed to be family members - had gathered along the corridor of the unit. They declined to speak to reporters.

The Indonesian maid, who was home at the time, was taken away by police officers to assist in investigations at about 6pm. No arrests have been made so far.

The body was taken away at about 7pm.