The man found dead at a Teck Whye Lane temple was a bookmaker who had been carrying more than $10,000 in cash and could have been killed for his money, his sister has told The Straits Times.
Mr Tan Poh Huat, 53, had been seen exchanging $50 notes for $1,000 ones at a coffee shop last week. But when he was found lying motionless at Chua Chu Kang Lian Sing Keng temple on Sunday morning, there was no money on him.
He was pronounced dead by paramedics just after 7am. It is believed he had sustained a head injury.
Police initially classified the case as an unnatural death, but reclassified it as murder on Monday.
His 60-year-old sister, Madam Tan Sui Kee, said he had become a bookie about two months ago after doing odd jobs and working as a medium at the temple set up by his father, where he lived.
Mr Tan, a divorcee, stopped working about two years ago due to health problems, which included diabetes, heart disease and kidney failure.
Madam Tan said in Mandarin: "He liked to gamble and play mahjong. He told me over Chinese New Year that he was a bookie. I guess it was to earn some extra cash."
The part-time sales worker said footage from CCTV cameras showed a masked, tattooed man climbing into the temple in the middle of the night.
Chinese evening paper Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday that her older brother, Mr Tan Ching Sew, 62, believes police are also looking for another man who was behaving strangely at the temple.
CCTV footage showed a bald man in a red shirt looking around.
The brother told Shin Min: "The expression in his eyes was strange. People who come to the temple to worship usually do not have such expressions."
Investigations are ongoing.
Mr Tan Poh Huat leaves two sons, aged 32 and 29, and a daughter, aged 27.
He used to live with his sons until his older son moved to a centre for people with special needs. His other son moved out.
He then sold the flat in Chua Chu Kang about five years ago and lived in the temple.