What was thought to be a fire that killed an elderly couple and their two young grandsons in their home turning into a case of arson following murder has shocked the nation and added to the grief of the already devastated family and friends of the deceased.
- Elderly couple’s three children all deaf-mute
- Both sons also married deaf-mute women
- Each son lost a child in the incident
- Parents of the child victims live in Kuala Lumpur
- Children lived with and taken care of by grandparents
- 12-year-old survivor saw two masked assailants with his grandparents who were bleeding in the head
The victims were a simple family living ordinary lives.
What is known is Chia Tee Nang, 73, and his wife Lim Mai Shak, 68, were in the pig farming business and had lived all their lives in the house that was gutted to the ground.
The single-storey wooden house was about 100 years old and built by Tee Nang’s father.
The couple had four children and one of them died many years ago.
The remaining three children – two sons and a daughter – are deaf-mute and they only communicate in sign language. The sons are also married to deaf-mute women.
Ten-year-old Ryan Chia Zeng Xi, who perished in the blaze, was the child of the elder son.
Ryan’s 12-year-old brother, the sole survivor of the tragic incident, has revealed in a video that has gone viral that he had hidden in a toilet throughout the ordeal and had witnessed the victims attacked by parang-wielding, masked intruders prior to the house being set on fire.
It was reported that according to Tanjung Sepat Volunteer Fire Brigade chairperson Lim Chin Lee, the 12-year-old boy told villagers that he woke up at about 3am to suspicious sounds coming from the car porch before he saw two masked men with his grandparents.
“He said he spotted that his grandfather and grandmother’s head were bleeding, and that he went to hide in a toilet.
“He only came out from the toilet after smelling of smoke and ran towards his uncle’s house,” Lim was quoted as saying.
The fourth victim, three-year-old Chia Yuan Bin was the child of Tee Nang’s younger son.
Ryan and his brother were taken care of by their grandparents.
The respective parents of Ryan and Yuan Bin lived in Kuala Lumpur and would only visit their sons once a week.
It was believed that Yuan Bin had gone to stay with his grandparents from his parents’ home.
Just two days before the incident, the elderly couple had just returned home from a holiday with their siblings in Vietnam and they were looking forward to spending some quality time with their grandchildren during the school break.
Among the relatives who spoke to the media was the couple’s nephew William Chia who lives and works in Singapore.
“He (Tee Nang) is my father’s elder brother. I still cannot imagine why someone would want to do this,” William was quoted as saying.
He added that he believed the attack and subsequent arson had taken a mere 15 minutes.
He said family members searching through the debris found pieces of jewellery. His aunt’s gold collection was returned to family members by firemen.
Another relative, Tee Nang’s brother-in-law, said the victims were pretty close to him as they had been living nearby to each other.
The man, in his late 50s, who declined to be named, said he had passed by in front of the elderly couple’s house several times on the day before the dawn fire and saw Tee Nang in the house compound.
“I just honked the car and waved at him. I deeply regret not dropping by at his house to say hello,” he told reporters.
Contrary to reports in a vernacular daily that two suspects had been caught, police said that no arrest has yet been made.
Meanwhile, the post-mortem has been scheduled for today at the Banting district hospital.