Fugitive returns to the scene of the crime - 38 years later

Nearly 38 years after Malaysian Seow Lam Seng (in red) escaped arrest after being found in possession of a firearm, he returned to the scene of the crime, escorted by the police.
Nearly 38 years after Malaysian Seow Lam Seng (in red) escaped arrest after being found in possession of a firearm, he returned to the scene of the crime, escorted by the police.ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR

SINGAPORE -In 1980, 25-year-old Malaysian Seow Lam Seng escaped arrest after being found in possession of a firearm.

Police officers had noticed him and an accomplice behaving suspiciously in the vicinity of the Sin Po Po bar in Tanjong Katong Road. As the cops drew near to check on them, the other man, 30-year-old Lee Ah Fatt, drew his pistol and aimed it at the officers.

Seow was allegedly also carrying a pistol in his back pocket.

An officer drew his own service revolver in defence and shot Lee, wounding him fatally. As Lee continued to struggle with the police, Seow managed to escape in the commotion. He managed to evade capture until last Thursday, when he was finally arrested in Penang.

And on Wednesday (March 28), nearly 38 years later, he returned to the scene of the crime, escorted by the police.

Dressed in a red polo shirt and black shorts, with restraints strapped to his wrists and ankles, the 63-year-old's appearance drew curious looks - but no recognition - from people in the area.

A fairly nondescript stretch along Tanjong Katong Road, the area is today home to an assortment of eateries. Two doors away from the original crime scene, a dental clinic has replaced an old United Overseas Bank branch; next door, a sleek white sign advertises pet grooming services.

The only trace that remains of the past is the Sin Po Po Bar, once a popular nightlife spot in the 60s to the 80s. While the original owners are long gone, the bar retains its original name, on display on an old-fashioned neon sign that sits in stark contrast to the neighbouring stores.

Seow will be remanded at Central Police Division and be back in court on April 2. If convicted, he can be jailed for life. He cannot be caned as he is above 50 years old.