From the ST archives: Murdered girl had black belt in self-defence

The body of Ms Dini Haryati was found covered with bruises on the neck, forehead and abdomen.

This article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on Jan 8, 1998.

SINGAPORE - Dini Haryati, 19, had a black belt in karate and taekwondo, but it did not protect her when she was raped and murdered over the weekend.

Her half-naked body was found hidden in bushes near the Woodlands MRT station on Tuesday morning.

It is believed that the hotel management student was struck with a blunt object, raped while unconscious, and then strangled.

A family source speculated that she could have come around while she was being raped, and her assailant or assailants then hit her again and strangled her.

Her body was covered with bruises on the neck, forehead and abdomen. She was found dressed only in a white T-shirt.

Police found a pair of black slacks, panties and shoes nearby after a search.

Miss Dini came to Singapore in August last year for a six-month training programme at the Albert Court Hotel in Albert Street, where she worked as a hotel receptionist.

Her father, Mr Ustam Dinata, 50, director of operations with Bank Bukopin in Jakarta, rushed here from Jakarta on Tuesday night when he heard the bad news.

He said that when he had visited his daughter in September last year, he was concerned about her safety.

He said: "There is a worksite near her flat... I asked her if it was safe for her to return home alone late at night, but she reassured me, saying that she had a black belt."

Police said yesterday that Miss Dini was last seen by her colleagues on Sunday at 11 pm when she finished the late shift and took the MRT home to Woodlands.

She was found dead two days later by a gardener at about 8.40am, in a grassy area off Woodlands Avenue 2.

The rented flat in Block 357, Woodlands Avenue 5, was only a 200 m walk from the MRT station, her colleagues said.

Ms Dini Haryati was found dead by a gardener in a grassy area off Woodlands Avenue 2 on Jan 6, 1998. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

A tearful Mr Ustam said yesterday: "She was supposed to come back next week. I am in complete shock.

"We were looking forward to celebrating Hari Raya with her."

They had spoken over the telephone on Sunday night to make arrangements.

"She asked me to bring three cars to the airport because she planned to invite some friends over to stay at our house for the holidays," he said.

Miss Dini's colleagues said she was hardworking and pleasant.

Her father said that she had wanted to go to university after completing a two-year hotel management diploma course with the Bandung Tourism College.

"We were making plans for her to pursue a degree in Sydney. She was very bright and ambitious and always spoke her mind about things," he said.

She talked to her identical twin sister and two elder brothers about three times a week over the telephone, and also kept in touch with weekly letters.

He said: "When I went to Dini's flat to clear up her belongings, I found an unopened letter from her sister, which had arrived in the mail on Monday.

"Tears just came to my eyes. Dini will never know what her sister wanted to say to her."

Those who have information on this case may call the Criminal Investigation Department on 323-0000.

At the mortuary in Outram Road yesterday, Mr Ustam was comforted by some 30 friends, colleagues and officials from the Indonesian Embassy.

Mr Trijono Marjono, a counsellor with the embassy, said: "There are many young students from Indonesia and other countries who come here on a short stint for hotel training.

"We hope that, in future, the hotels would consider arranging transport home for these people if they are working the late shift, to prevent such an incident from happening again."

Murdered girl was raped, police say

This update appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 9, 1998.

POLICE confirmed yesterday that the Indonesian student found murdered in Woodlands on Tuesday had been raped before she was killed.

A police spokesman said Miss Dini Haryati, 19, had died from a fractured skull after suffering a heavy blow to the head from a blunt object.

The police have yet to determine whether Miss Dini had been raped by one person or gang-raped.

Her body, clad in only a white T-shirt, was found hidden in bushes near the Woodlands MRT station on Tuesday morning. There were bruises on the forehead and abdomen.

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