Temple murder victim doted on his special needs son

Mr Tan's daughter and 32-year-old son, Junqiang, at his wake yesterday at Teck Whye Avenue. Mr Tan especially doted on Junqiang, who lives in a centre for people with special needs on weekdays, said family and friends.
Mr Tan's daughter and 32-year-old son, Junqiang, at his wake yesterday at Teck Whye Avenue. Mr Tan especially doted on Junqiang, who lives in a centre for people with special needs on weekdays, said family and friends.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Murder victim Tan Poh Huat, whose bloodied body was found outside the temple where he lived, had a Friday night ritual with his oldest child.

They would have a meal at a friend's flat before they went back to Chua Chu Kang Lian Sing Keng temple to spend some time together.

At bedtime, he would sleep on the first level of the temple while his son slept in the second-floor storeroom that Mr Tan found too stuffy.

It was a treat for the 53-year-old because he especially doted on his 32-year-old son, Junqiang, who lives in a centre for people with special needs on weekdays, said family and friends yesterday at the wake for the former temple medium. Mr Tan's body was found on Sunday.

"Now my father is gone," said the younger man, haltingly.

Police have classified the death as murder.

According to Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao yesterday, Mr Tan, who was found shirtless, died after he was struck on the back of his head with a hammer.

He was reportedly a runner for a bookie and had $10,000 on him at the time of his death. However, no money was found on his person.

Relatives and friends yesterday remembered an affable man who never had a quarrel with anyone.

His older sister, Madam Tan Siew Huay, said she would miss his good nature.

"He was the baby of the family," said the 63-year-old business owner of the youngest of her six siblings. "Growing up, he never gave me problems. But as we set up our own families, we talked less."

She remembered slipping him $50 whenever she saw him but was careful not to give him too much because "he gambled and smoked".

Mr Tan quit being an odd- job worker two years ago after his health worsened; he suffered from diabetes, heart disease and kidney failure.

Aside from going to dialysis sessions at Ang Mo Kio thrice a week, he spent his days at a coffee shop near the temple where he was always seen with friends. He spent his weekends doing laundry for Junqiang.

"I have to learn how to do everything myself," said Junqiang. "But nothing can break (our) relationship."

Besides his elder son, Mr Tan leaves behind another son, 29, and daughter, 27, who requested privacy at the wake.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2016, with the headline 'Temple murder victim doted on his special needs son'. Print Edition | Subscribe