Crimes that shook the nation: Killed for being affectionate

A pleasant night out with girlfriend ended in fatal attack for holidaying law student

18 Oct 2019 / 14:53 H.

FIFTEEN years ago, Darren Kang Tien Hua (pix), 23, a law student at a university in England returned home with his Malaysian girlfriend for a seven-week break.

It was a pleasant holiday until a month later on July 6, 2004 when the courting couple decided to go on another one of their many outings to Desa Seri Hartamas.

After spending time together until about 3.30am, the couple headed out to an eatery where the pleasant night would turn ugly.

Trouble began brewing when a group of men teased Kang on seeing him doting on his girlfriend.

Incensed by the jeers from the men, Kang confronted them.

The men did not take it lightly and set upon the young man, raining kicks and punches on him initially before using iron rods and chairs.

Severely injured, Kang staggered away from the place in an attempt to flee but collapsed moments later.

The attackers fled the scene and his girlfriend rushed him to a private hospital nearby with the help of passers-by.

It was too late. Kang was pronounced dead on arrival by doctors.

Police investigations commenced and it was widely rumoured that a son of a former Cabinet minister who was present at the eatery during the assault was the prime suspect in the case.

Investigators arrested several Thai workers of the eatery soon after and began gathering clues.

The former minister’s son, nephew and other witnesses were also summoned for questioning but were cleared of the crime.

More than two weeks later, five Thai workers aged 18 to 24 were charged with Kang’s murder and for abusing their social visit pass by seeking employment.

In February, 2006, the five foreigners pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter and were sentenced to five years imprisonment over Kang’s death.

Although the case came to a close, many parties over the years had expressed dissatisfaction with the findings of police investigations.

Last year, following the change in government, an online petition calling for the case to be re-opened was created. Over 1,100 people signed the petition.

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