Man who set boss' shop on fire died in blaze

A radio mechanic sacked for alleged theft took revenge by setting fire to his employer's shop in Orchard Road, but ended up dying in the fire himself.

Father of three Lim Hock Kheng, 43, died in the fire that he started at the Keller Piano premises on Sept 22 in 1965.

He had carried two cans of petrol into the shop and shouted "Get out!" before pouring the fuel on musical instruments in the shop. He then lit a match.

The fire damaged the ground floor of the two-storey shophouse, with losses estimated at $120,000. Fourteen people, including three children, were in the shophouse but escaped unhurt.

A court hearing a year later ruled that it was not clear if the sacked employee had meant to kill himself in the fire or had caught fire accidentally.

CARRYING OUT INSTRUCTIONS

But in doing so, Iwas only carrying out military instructions as a soldier. Iwas instructed to place thebombs anywhere,andat any place here for the purpose of helping the people of Singapore. ’’

STANILAUSKROFAN,23, whoclaimed to be amemberof the Indonesian commandocorps, speaking in the High Courtwhere he was facing a charge of illegally carrying explosives into the TanjongRhuarea in April, 1965, with two other Indonesians

His charred body was found on one side of the shop.

He had worked for the shop for more than 12 years and was the sole breadwinner of his family.

It took two hours to extinguish the fire and a section of Orchard Road had to be cordoned off, throwing the lunchtime traffic into chaos.

 

RESEARCH BY DORIS GOH, INFORMATION RESOURCE CENTRE, SINGAPORE PRESS HOLDINGS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 20, 2015, with the headline 'Man who set boss' shop on fire died in blaze'. Print Edition | Subscribe