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The Tan murder case – still unsolvable: Everything you need to know

12-3AM PRODUCTIONS - The Tan Siblings' Murder Case
New’s article from 1979

On the morning of January 6th 1979, 6:35 a.m., husband and wife Tan Kuen Chai and Lee Mei Ying were leaving their home for work. Tan and Lee ran a mini bus business shuttling students to and fro school.  

The four children, Tan Kok Peng, Tan Kok Hin, Tan Kok Soon and the youngest sister Tan Chin Nee, were usually left at home to wake up around 7.  

Geylang Bahru family murders - Wikipedia
The four children

At around 7:10 a.m., Lee made a routine call home to make sure her children were up and ready for school.  

But there was no response. 

After making several calls, Lee calls her neighbour to check up on the children, but there was still no response. She assumed they had left early that day.  

At around 10 a.m. when she came back, she found the mutilated bodies of all the siblings on the floor of her bathroom.  

All of them were horribly slashes with at least 20 wounds on each of their heads and limbs.  

The youngest one, Chin Nee, had the most marks on her face while the eldest child, who was presumed to have tried to fight the assaulter, had an almost severed arm.  

With the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) special investigation it was found that –  

there were no signs of forced entry, 

no items were missing; this was not a robbery,  

strands of hair were found clutched in Kok Pengs hand, the murderer allegedly used a chopper and dagger, 

traces of blood in the kitchen sink were found – suggesting a clean-up.  

In all the murder was well planned and done between 6:35 and 7:10.  

With many, but unusable, witnesses the family could not solve the murder, until – two weeks later after the murder, Tan and Lee received a Chinese new year card with a picture of happy children on the front and a horrible message written: 

”now you can have no more offspring’s ha-ha-ha” in Chinese.  

This message referred to the sterilisation that Lee had undergone after her youngest child’s birth 5 years ago.  

Unfortunately, due to the lack of advancement in Singapore in the 1970’s fingerprints from the card could not be used to determine who did this horrible terrifying act. 

But there have been various theories related to this case –  

Lee had an affair with a close friend, and the lover had killed her children in hopes of her running away with him, 

Lee’s brother had confessed of the family to be involved in some illegal activities which may have resulted in this case,  

A relative of Lee had told her to buy some lottery tickets which eventually won, the price money was around $40k to $50k, but lee told them she hadn’t bought the ticket at all, which may have resulted in jealousy and the brutal murder of her children.  

After the gruesome murder, the couple gave up their minibus business and worked in a plastic bag manufacturing firm. On 30 December 1983, Lee reversed the sterilization that she had went through and gave birth to a baby boy. 

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