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People around Annie Ee knew something bad was happening

But no one could intervene.

By Belmont Lay | December 3, 2017

Singaporeans are still reeling from the shocking revelations of the case where an intellectually disabled woman was tortured to death by a husband and wife duo over the span of several months.

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The couple has since been sentenced.

Tan Hui Zhen, 33, was jailed 16 years and six months. Her husband Pua Hak Chuan, 38, was jailed 14 years and given 14 strokes of the cane.

The couple had tortured Annie Ee Yu Lian, 26, a restaurant waitress and the couple’s flatmate, from August 2014 to April 2015. Annie was found dead in their home.

Answers sought

According to two separate articles by Channel News Asia (here and here), answers were sought to find out the extent of how much people knew about Annie’s predicament.

And it makes the case even sadder as it appeared everyone, including neighbours and family knew, but no one could do anything to stop it.

Neighbours knew

One neighbour said he saw Annie battered and bruised. But he did not ask her about it.

Annie had spoken to the man’s wife and they would even go to work together.

The neighbour also suspected the abusive couple might have been responsible for the injuries on Annie:

Sometimes, she had swollen eyes, or a swollen face,” he said. “I saw the bruises, and suspected it was because of the couple, but I didn’t want to ask too much about it.

But he did not intervene for the lack of evidence and the fact that the couple had tattoos and looked like gangsters.

The neighbour said, on hindsight, speaking to Annie might have made a difference: “And if I had approached her then and asked about it, maybe we could have done something to help.”

Family knew

Annie’s younger sister, who is 26 now, said Tan — Annie’s abuser — was a family friend.

Annie’s younger sister was seven years old when she first knew Tan. The Ee family even took Tan in when she experienced marital problems.

Annie was the eldest among her siblings.

Annie’s younger sister clarified with CNA that the family did not kick Annie out of the house. Rather, Annie was looking for more freedom.

The family was protective of Annie and some of them went to her work place to look for her.

But Annie would avoid eye contact and remain ucontactable.

Previous news reports also said colleagues and customers at Annie’s work place noticed her injuries as they were visible.

Neighbourhood has moved on

CNA also reported that the Woodlands flat where Annie died has since been rented out to a family.

The new tenant had moved in about a month ago only. She said she is aware of the incident and it does not bother her as it happened more than two years ago.

Other neighbours spoken to also said they have moved on despite remembering seeing police cars under the block when the incident happened.

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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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