Khoo Kay Hian (Bukit Brown)

During the rubber boom of the 1910, Khoo Kay Hian / Khoo Kay Hean was well positioned and made money as a rubber broker based in The Arcade. He went on to be the founder of one of the best known stock broking firm in Singapore bearing his namesake, Kay Hian and Co in 1921. He was also a committee member of the Singapore Sharebrokers' Association (this was before it became the Singapore Stock Exchange). Throughout his career, he held various positions and they included: Assistant Secretary of the Ee Hoe Hean Club (1918) ; Management Committee of the Garden Club (1920) Chinese Lantern Procession (1922), Joint Honorary Secretary together with Lim Kee Cheok. (Lim Chwee Chian was the Chairman) and also Committee member of the Singapore Chinese Girls School (1925). He contributed to various causes and some of them include: Kampong Martin Relief Fund (1916), Chinese Halifax Relief Fund (1917), Sir Arthur Young's Portrait Fund (1919), St Andrew's Hospital Building (1920), Nanyang University (1957).

Khoo Kay Hian
(photo courtesy of Kim, great grand daughter)

Khoo Kay Hian 

Revolutionary Supporter and post 1911 efforts        

When Dr Sun Yat Sen arrived in Singapore in December 1911 from Europe in the P&O steamer called Devanha, he was greeted by the Singapore revolutionary leaders which included Dr S.C. Yin,  Teo Eng Hock, Tan Lian Chye, Khoo Kay Hian and Lim Nee Soon. Dr Sun Yat Sen went on to stay at Mr Tan Boon Liat's Golden Bell Mansion, in Morse Road, Keppel Harbour. He was heavily guarded by bodyguards and detectives as he made plan for the final push to overthrow the Peking (Beijing) Qing Emperor and the final creation of a Republican government in the capital with the Emperor as a figurehead.

In 1912, Mr Lu Chi Ye, former Assistant Commissioner of Justice to the Provisional Government of China and chief assistant to Dr Wu Ting Fong came down to Singapore together with Khoo Kay Hian to seek investments from the Straits and Netherlands Indies Chinese. (Nanyang or Overseas Chinese ). They were greeted by the Chinese Consul-General in Singapore together with members of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Mr Lu Chi Ye and Khoo Kay Hian later will travel to Penang and the other Federal Malayan States (F.M.S) to seek investments in the opening of mines in China.

This were evidential ties between this pioneers and how Singapore and its residents played a very important role in the political and economical reform of China.
source: NewspaperSG

Brush with law 1 : Fine $1,000 for being a betting bookie

In 1939, at the age of 53, Khoo Kay Hian was charged and subsequently pleaded guilty and fine $1,000 for allowing his office in 20 Malacca Street to a betting house for horses. His son, Khoo Hock Choo, 17 years old at the time pleaded guilty in an amended charged of  attempting to cause the disappearance of the 3 betting slip that were on his father's desk when it was raided by the police, by throwing it out of the window, with intention of protecting his father from legal punishment was fined $100. It was according in their lawyers defence, their first offence.

Brush with law 2: Opium Smoking Utensils

In 1961, a 21 year old youth impersonated himself as a police inspector to search Khoo Kay Hian's house in St. Martin's Drive. The "police impersonator" found opium smoking utensils and Khoo Kay Hian offered him a bribe of $1,000 to look the other way. He accepted the bribe, but however did not get away scot-free because Khoo Kay Hian's son reported this "policeman" to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau and the youth was later charge in the courts.


Khoo Kay Hian passed away on January 18, 1966 reported at the age of 81 at his residence at 23 St. Martin's Drive at 9:35pm (however on his grave, he is listed to be 78 and a small plaque below it, 79 years of age.) He is survived by his wife, Madam Lee Poh Neo, (daughter of  Mr Lee Woon Chwee and Wee Whye Neo) a son (Khoo Hock Choo) and 3 daughters. (Helen Khoo Hong Peng, Irene Khoo Hong Leng and Khoo Hong Wan).  Khoo Kay Hian / Khoo Kay Hean , his wives, mother are buried in a cluster together in Hill 2, Division B.
Khoo Kay Hian and Lee Poh Neo 


Khoo Kay Hian's siblings include his brothers: Khoo Kay Yeow, Khoo Kay Tuan, Khoo Kay Chee. His sister is Khoo Siew Kim. In addition to Madam Lee Poh Neo, Khoo Kay Hian's other wives include Tan Sing Yong (died October 3, 1949) and Tan Lai Neo (died June 21, 1930). Listed on Tan Lai Neo's tomb is her daughter, Khoo Hong Leng and son, Khoo Hock Choo.

Son: Khoo Hock Tian (1906-1961)
Khoo Hock Tian was a partner of Messrs. Khoo Kay Hian & Co. In 17th September 1935 there was an article stating that invitations have been issued by Mr and Mrs Khoo Kay Hian for the marriage of their second, Mr. Khoo Hock Tian to Miss Koh Eng Beng (Gloria Koh), sister of Mr. Koh Chwee Orr at the Hoe Hean Club Singapore.

Khoo Hock Tian passed away at the age of 55 on 23 December 1961 and is survived by his parents, wife (Gloria Koh Eng Beng), 2 sons (George Khoo Teng Wan, Ron Khoo Teng Joo) and 3 daughters (Phyllis Khoo Peck Lin, Nancy Khoo Peck Geok, Molly Khoo Peck Tin), a son-in-law (Eddie Wee Choon Seng) and one grand-daughter. The cortege left his residence in 42 Jalan Arnap, Kim Lin Park for Bulim Cemetery. Gloria Koh Eng Beng passed away on 8 November 2003 at the age of 89.

Son: Khoo Hock Choo  (27 January 1921- 20 December 2016)
Khoo Hock Choo went on to take over Khoo Kay Hian's  company and also became a committee member of the Singapore Stock Exchange. In 2000, UOB Securities and Kay Hian Holdings Limited and UOB Securities Private Limited merged and eventually changed its name to UOB Kay Hian in 2001.

Postnote: Khoo Hock Choo passed away on 20 December 2016. He is survived by his wife, Doris, children; Marilyn, Serene, Jacqui, Kathy ; Sons-in-law; Ernest, Roy, Charlie, Dale ; Grandsons:Alex, Ian, Nick,John Matt ; Granddaughter: Sophie ; Granddaughter-in-law: Rachel
; Great Granddaughter: Ally Grace.

source: NewspaperSG

Daughter: Khoo Hoon Leng
In February 1941, Khoo Hoon Leng (third daughter) married Mr Tan Chi Lam (sixth son of  the late Mr and Mrs Tan Wi Yan) at the Ee Hoe Hean Club where Dr Lim Boon Keng officiated.
Khoo Hoon Leng
(source: NewspaperSG)

Wife: Lee Poh Neo
Lee Poh Neo is the daughter of Mr. Lee Woon Chwee and Madam Wee Whye Neo.

Wife: Tan Sin Yong 
Tan Sing Yong, died October 3, 1949 at the age of 58. She is listed as Cantonese and is buried in plot no 169, Block 2, Section D
Tan Sing Yong (second wife)
Wife: Tan Lai Neo (born 1905 died 1930 )
Listed on her tomb is a daughter: Khoo Hong Leng and son: Khoo Hock Choo
Tan Lai Neo 

Mother: Chen Xian Niang (died June 1945)
Khoo Kay Hian's mother
Khoo Kay Hian's family cluster is affected by the 8-lane highway:
Khoo Kay Hian (peg 1906) Lee Poh Neo ( peg 1905) Tan Lai Neo ( peg 1907) Tan Sing Yong (peg 1908) Chen Xian Niang, Khoo Kay Hian's mother (peg 1910)

Lee Poh Neo, Tan Lai Neo, Tan Sing Yong, Chen were exhumed on 24 June 2014.

Malaya Tribune, 14 January 1929, Page 8

Dr Sun Yat Sen. (1911, December 16). The Straits Times, page 9
Developing China. (1912, October 16). The Straits Times, page 9
A distinguish Chinese judge. (1928, January 28). Malayan Saturday Post, page 31
Well-known chinese broker was fined $1,000. (1939, June 17). The Singapore Free Press, page 7
Domestic Occurences. (1940, April 1). The Singapore Free Press, page 3
Bogus Police officer got "squeeze". (1961, March 15). The Straits Times, page 6
Leading Singapore share broker dies, 81. (1966, January 20). The Straits Times, page 11
Death. (1966, January 19). The Straits Times, page 24


  1. Sadly the husband of Khoo Hoon Leng (Khoo kay Hian's 3rd daughter), Tan Chi Lam was taken away by the Japanese during Sook Ching in 1942 and never came back. He was the younger brother of my father Maurice Tan Chi Kong. Roney Tan

  2. Would you know whether Khoo Hoon Leng had any children? As mentioned she was briefly married (1 year plus) to Tan Chi Lam before the Japanese took her husband away.

  3. To add, Khoo Kay Hian had THREE sons. Not mentioned yet is Khoo Hock Kin. He was the eldest son who was taken away during the Japanese Occupation (detained and released. but went in again upon release; in an attempt to try rescue unsuccessfully, his still-detained second brother - Khoo Hock Tian).
    Both brothers were never to be seen or heard of thereafter. The 3rd and last surviving son was Khoo Hock Choo, who went on to helm the family company.
    Khoo Hock Kin is the eldest son of Lee Poh Neo, who was the first wife of Khoo Kay Hian. | After moving from the family home in St Martin's Drive, Lee Poh Neo went to live with her eldest grandson's family, until her death. Edward Khoo Teng Kim (Nov 4 1928 - June 1 2022) was her eldest grandson and eldest son of Khoo Hock Kin's children.

  4. Edit: The brother Khoo Hock Kin tried to rescue was NOT Khoo Hock Tian. (Khoo Hock Tian, passed away due to an illness or a stroke). It was his 3rd brother - Khoo Hock Choo, that Khoo Hock Kin went back for.

  5. Possibly Khoo Hock Kin's father in law, Tan Yew Chay:,chiang,seah&oref=article,yew,chay&oref=article


Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. I can also be reached at


Show more