Singaporean man jailed for life in Perth for killing ex-wife

Singaporean businessman Ban Ah Ping and his daughter Tiffany Wan have been jailed over the murder of Ms Annabelle Chen (above). The jury spent four days deliberating and found Ban guilty of murder and Wan an accessory after the fact. The judge called
Singaporean businessman Ban Ah Ping and his daughter Tiffany Wan (above) have been jailed over the murder of Ms Annabelle Chen. The jury found Ban guilty of murder and Wan an accessory after the fact.

Daughter gets 4 years and 10 months in jail for covering it up

A Singaporean businessman has been sentenced to life in prison in Australia after murdering his former wife and stuffing her body in a suitcase before dumping it in the Swan River in Perth.

Ban Ah Ping's daughter, Tiffany Wan, 27, was sentenced to jail for four years and 10 months for helping her father to cover up the crime, in what the judge said was a case of misguided loyalty.

Delivering the sentence on Thursday, Justice Joseph McGrath of the West Australian Supreme Court ordered that Ban, 69, spend at least 20 years behind bars before being considered for parole.

"You have expressed no remorse for your offending and you maintain your innocence for the offending. I cannot take into account, therefore, that you hold any empathy or remorse for your actions," the judge told Ban.

The judge added that Ban showed "callous indifference" to the body of his former wife and then engaged in "orchestrated lies over an extended period" to try to cover up the crime.

Ban flew from Singapore to Perth on June 30, 2016, and bashed his 58-year-old former wife Annabelle Chen to death at her home on the same day.

Ban had gone to Ms Chen's home to discuss the graduation of their daughter Wan, who was downstairs when the assault took place upstairs in the house.

Ban later placed the body in a suitcase and dumped it into the Swan River in the early hours of July 2.

On the same day, Wan bought tickets for her dad's return to Singapore and her return to Melbourne, where she was due to graduate a month later. Ms Chen's body was found by fishermen that same day, triggering a probe into the victim's identity.


 Ms Annabelle Chen.

NO REMORSE SHOWN

You have expressed no remorse for your offending and you maintain your innocence for the offending. I cannot take into account, therefore, that you hold any empathy or remorse for your actions.

JUSTICE JOSEPH MCGRATH, of the West Australian Supreme Court.

Wan later gave fabricated statements to the police while Ban returned to Perth on Sept 3 after being told by his son-in-law that Ms Chen's body had been identified.

Australian police arrested father and daughter on Sept 28, 2016, and both were found guilty on Sept 18 this year after a jury trial.

During the trial, Ban and his daughter turned on each other, claiming they were each only accomplices. The jury spent four days deliberating and found Ban guilty of murder and Wan an accessory after the fact.

Wan tried to cover up for her father by, among other things, washing his clothes and cleaning the footprints in the house after he had returned from dumping the body.

It also emerged during the trial that Wan had transferred A$110,000 (S$109,300) to Ban after the murder of her mum, but the judge ruled that there was no relevance to the trial.

Justice McGrath noted China-born Ban was adopted as a child by Singaporean parents. He graduated with a commerce degree, worked in banking and from 1985 operated a number of successful business ventures in the region, including Thailand.

Currently a bankrupt, Ban had twin daughters with his first wife, whom he broke up with in 1985 because of his gambling issues.

He then married Ms Chen in 1985 and Wan was born in 1991.

By 1999, the marriage had soured and he even slapped Ms Chen. They divorced the following year and Wan lived in Perth with her mum.

Ban and Ms Chen remained on cordial terms until 2011 when he adopted an infant son. Their relationship became cordial again years later but Ms Chen was unaware that he had maintained contact with Wan against Ms Chen's wishes.

Ban's seven-year-old son is currently being cared for in Singapore by a relative. His two other daughters spoke "highly of his qualities as a father", noted Justice McGrath.

 

In 1978, Ban was convicted in a Singapore court of cheating a bank of US$250,000 (then S$575,000) and jailed for three years and six months. But he appeared to have done well in business subsequently.

Ban was also previously the subject of a Singapore police probe but the case was closed in 2008. "It was decided after investigation that no further action was to be taken against the subject," a police spokesman told The Straits Times.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2018, with the headline 'S'porean man jailed for life in Perth for killing ex-wife'. Print Edition | Subscribe