Sheng Siong kidnapping: Accused's first target was billionaire Peter Lim's children

Lee Sze Yong's potential targets included (clockwise from top left) billionaire Peter Lim, Breadtalk's George Quek, Fragrance Group chairman Koh Wee Meng and "popiah king" Sam Goi. PHOTOS: ST FILE, BUSINESS TIMES FILE
Lee Sze Yong, one of the accused involved in the Sheng Siong kidnapping case, was brought back to Sembawang Park for police investigations in 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Sales executive Lee Sze Yong, 44, is on trial for kidnapping the mother of Sheng Siong supermarket boss Lim Hock Chee, but it emerged in court on Wednesday (Aug 31) that his very first target was the children of billionaire Peter Lim.

Besides Mr Lim, the list of Lee's potential targets reads like a Who's Who of Singapore's rich and famous - BreadTalk's George Quek, "popiah king" Sam Goi of Tee Yih Jia Foods, Fragrance Group chairman Koh Wee Meng, Serial System chief Goh Bak Heng and the property tycoons he only knew as the Royal Brothers.

It also includes foreigners who have some connections to Singapore, such as Indonesian tycoon Anthoni Salim, Genting Group chairman Lim Kok Thay and Indian businessman and singer Shael Oswal, who bought a $39 million Sentosa Cove bungalow.

This emerged as Lee's various police statements were admitted as evidence through investigating officer Deputy Superintendent Burhanudeen Haji Hassainar.

In an organiser, Lee neatly jotted down information he had gathered on the wealthy people, the schools their children attended and the cars they owned.

Lee, who was saddled with credit card debts, said that after reading the Forbes list of Singapore's richest, it struck him that he could kidnap someone and demand for a ransom to clear his debts.

The first people he thought of kidnapping were Mr Peter Lim's children. Lee said his internet research showed that Mr Lim had a former wife named Venus. Lee bought business information on Madam Venus Teo from Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra), found out her address and staked out her River Valley condominium.

Lee said he planned to kidnap Mr Lim's son and demand $50 million ransom, which was just 2 per cent of his net worth.

Lee neatly jotted down in an organiser information on his surveillance carried out outside Madam Teo's home. He had also gone to Mr Lim's home but did not see the billionaire.

He also staked out at the homes of Mr Quek, Mr Koh and property magnate Asok Kumar Hiranandani, noting down information on what cars they drove and their movements. He even followed Mr Quek as he went for his daily morning exercise

Lee also bought business information on companies such as jeweller Aspial, massage chair seller Osim, Hotel 81 and Goodwood Park but did not take any further action.

In the same organiser, Lee also noted down the list of things he might need to carry out his kidnapping plan. They include pepper spray, a taser gun, fake licence plates and a dress and headscarf for him to disguise himself as a Muslim woman.

He even considered getting items such as fake blood stains - to put on the victims, after which he would take photos and send to their family.

Lee allegedly carried out his plan to abduct Madam Ng Lye Poh, the mother of Sheng Siong supermarket boss, in Hougang Avenue 2 on Jan 8, 2014, with intent to hold the 79-year-old for ransom.

He sought ransom of $20 million but the sum was negotiated down to $2 million.

Madam Ng was released after a bag with cash was dropped off at a tree in Sembawang Park. Lee was arrested in Ang Mo Kio shortly after and led the police to the bag he had thrown into bushes.

Madam Ng is set to testify on Thursday (Sept 1).

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