Indonesian helper charged with killing Hong Kong-born socialite in Singapore

Indonesian said to have been working for artist Nancy Gan in Singapore for a week

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 4:28am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 2:33pm

The Indonesian domestic helper of Hong Kong-born socialite and philanthropist Nancy Gan Wan Geok has been charged with murder after her boss was found dead in the swimming pool of her bungalow in Singapore.

Gan, 69, was found motionless in her Victoria Park Road home on Wednesday morning and was pronounced dead by paramedics soon after they arrived, local police said.

The acclaimed porcelain artist had suffered head injuries, The Straits Times in Singapore said. Dewi Suko Wati, 23, had been working for Gan for just a week, the newspaper reported. The helper could face the death penalty if convicted of murder.

Gan's death is the second maid-linked tragedy to hit Singapore in just over two weeks.

On March 4, Myanmese Than Than Win, 24, was charged with murder after her boss Yong Wan Lan, 85, was found dead in a condominium.

Yong suffered wounds to her torso. She was believed to be Than Than Win's first employer in the country.

Gan, a mother of two, was a classical pianist educated at Trinity College London.

She painted landscapes, flora and fauna on porcelain and regularly donated the works to charity. Most of her time was devoted to philanthropic activities in Singapore and the Far East, according to her website.

She continued to "push the envelope of porcelain techniques by melding her art with textures and styles from other mediums", the website said.

In 1988 and 1992, she held exhibitions of her porcelain paintings in Hong Kong. Various exhibitions were also staged in Singapore, the United States and Australia.

Gan was in her pyjamas when found dead. Dewi, from Central Java, was charged with murder yesterday and remanded in custody for psychiatric assessment, The Straits Times said.

She would appear in court again next month, the newspaper said.

It quoted neighbours as saying Gan had been living in the bungalow temporarily for almost a year as her other property, on Swiss Club Road, was under renovation.

She shared the home with her adult son and the helper.

Her son left on a business trip to South Korea on Monday and returned after Gan's death was discovered.

Her daughter was believed to be a doctor based in London, the daily said.

The neighbours said Gan was gregarious, neat in appearance and talented, it reported.