A kidnap bid foiled in the Shaw family - Bukit Brown connection

This week's news was abuzz with first, the passing of Sir Run Run Shaw (CBE, GBM), the legendary movie mogul. He died on January 7, 2014, aged 107. He is survived by 2 sons ( Shaw Vee Meng, Shaw Vee Chung, Harold ), 2 daughters (Dorothy Shaw, Violet Shaw ) , 2 daughter-in-laws ( Josephine Kho, Diana Wee) and many grand and great grandchildren. His wife was Lady Lily Shaw (deceased ) and years after his first wife passing married Madam Mona Fong.

The second news that captivated many Singaporean's was the kidnap attempt of a 79 year old woman, Madam Eng Lai Poh. She is the mother of Mr Lim Hock Chee, Chief Executive of public listed company Sheng Siong, a supermarket chain. The ransom sought by the kidnappers was $20 million. Mr. Lim Hock Chee called the police who helped tracked down the kidnappers and caught the suspects. 

Bukit Brown connection to Shaw and kidnapping 
You may be wondering how this week's two story is related to Bukit Brown? Rewind back to October 3, 1971. There was a kidnap attempt on Mr Harold Shaw Vee Chung, 32 years old as he was about to reach home ( a two storey house in Andrew Road at Caldecott Hill ) in his creamed color Mercedes driven by his driver, Ismail and his accompanying bodyguard after a day out in the races in Bukit Timah. When entering the driveway, an NTUC Comfort taxi blocked its path and 4 men jumped out of the stolen taxi and grabbed Harold Shaw at gunpoint. Harold put up a struggle but was shot in the right arm before being bundled into the boot. 
Harold Shaw Vee Chung
(source: NewspaperSG)
The kidnapper's taxi sped of along Lornie Road before stopping at Kheam Hock Road, off Bukit Brown. The intent was to transfer Harold Shaw into a another car. Fortunately, Harold Shaw managed to escape undetected from the taxi booth, ran along Kheam Hock Road with blood oozing from his right arm till he finally reached home, a mile away. He was escorted with police guard to Mount Alvernia to receive medical attention.

Two reserve unit troops, CID and Kandang Kerbau detectives combed the Bukit Brown cemetery area. Policeman searching for the kidnappers found the NTUC taxi in Bukit Brown Cemetery in what i reckon in Hill 3. The policeman approached the taxi with their sten guns ready to shoot but found an empty taxi with its engine running.
The car used in the foiled kidnap attempt found
somewhere between Hill 3 A and B from map description
(source: NewspaperSG )
Decoy in ambush
The story did not end there. Although the kidnapping was foiled, the kidnappers did not give up. They called the Shaw family after the incident and elder brother, Shaw Vee Meng picked up the phone. The kidnappers demanded $200,000 for a unsuccessful kidnap attempt ! The police were called and policeman Ng Woon Poh (who had the same built and look slightly like Shaw Vee Meng) became a decoy in an ambush bid by the CID. With Harold Shaw safely in Hong Kong and Shaw Vee Meng in Europe, Ng Woon Poh posed as Shaw Vew Meng in their family household in Holland Road.
ASP Ng Woon Poh
(source: NewspaperSG)
Plans for the ambush became concrete when one week later on October 9, the kidnappers finally agreed to received a reduced sum of $100,000 at a carpark in Shangri-la Hotel at 4 pm October 10. The kidnapper would identify himself to the fake Mr Shaw Vee Meng by showing him a pair of binoculars (stolen from Harold Shaw during the abortive kidnap). At the carpark, the kidnapper stepped out of a NTUC Comfort taxi. He was Mr Soo Tang Hwat, a small time robber, extortioner and secret society member. A gun battle ensued and the kidnapper was mortally wounded. Mr Soo died before being wheeled into the operating table. ASP (Retired) Ng Woon Poh received in 1976 from President Sheares, the Police Gallantry Medal -Singapore's top award for outstanding action in dangerous circumstances 
Shaw Vee Meng's Mercedes driven by his decoy
(source: NewspaperSG) 

Pingat Polis Perkasa (Police Gallantry Medal)
(source: NewspaperSG) 

Not the first kidnapping incident in the Shaw Family
Shaw Vee Meng was kidnapped 7 years ago almost a stone throw away from the same place. (he has since moved to Holland Hill ), where on Feb 5, 1964, five kidnappers ambushed him as he was about to leave for work in his Fiat 2100. He and his driver (Mandari bin Iklal) were held for 12 days. Negotiation for a ransom of $1.2 million was made, but during court trial, the Shaw family denied paying any ransom. In June 1966, all 5 kidnappers were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Shaw Vee Meng
(source: NewspaperSG) 
Kidnap bid is foiled. (1971, October 3). The Straits Times
Face to Face with a Gun Barrel. (1976, April 25). The Straits Times 

CBE stands for Commander of the Order of the British Empire and GBM stands for Grand Bauhinia Medal.


  1. Recently googled and read this. My dad who has slight dementia told me this story when I was driving him to SGH for regular checkup. And he quoted S44 as the plate name. I searched out and to my shock it's TRUE! My dad was the taxi driver who innocently picked up the kidnapper at Moulmein road. He was so scared that day and was detained in the police station for a day.


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