‘Fu chuk’ maker and nephew killed in rockfall

  • Nation
  • Friday, 03 Dec 2004

Victim: Tan Chaw Keh

IPOH: Although their fingers were cut and bleeding, fu chuk (dry beancurd sheets) maker Ng Mooi and her daughters continued to dig for her husband buried under two metres of debris and earth after a rockfall hit their factory in Taman Utama, Bercham.  

It took them several minutes to realise that they needed a tractor for the task. 

Ng’s husband Tang Chaw Keh, 56, and their nephew Ooi Kok Siang, 28, who was working in another beancurd skin factory nearby, were killed when a portion of the cliff face of Gunung Bercham collapsed on their factories located at the foot of a hill at 6.50am yesterday.  

Rescue workers at the site of the rockfall in Taman Utama, Bercham near Ipoh.

“My husband and I normally go to work after 7am but we were early today as we had to deliver an order of fu chuk to a customer,” said Ng, 53. 

The rockfall happened just as Tang entered the factory. 

”I was still beside the car when I heard a loud crashing sound. Then earth and rocks came crashing down on our factory,” she said. 

Ng said she ran all the way to her house located a few roads away to seek her daughters' help. 

“We went back to the scene and began digging and removing the debris and earth at the spot where my husband was buried. 

“Our fingers and hands bled from the cuts we sustained from the sharp rocks and branches we were removing,” she said, adding that she then decided to stop to look for a tractor. 

Relatives console Lee Chor Chin (right) whose son Kok Siang was killed in the rockfall.

Tang’s body was recovered at 7.50am while Kok Siang’s body was found at 12.37pm by rescuers.  

Ng said she later checked the bag she had left behind when she sought for help, and found that someone had stolen the contents – RM1,000, car keys and house keys. 

Kok Siang’s father Boon Keong, 55, suffered serious injuries to the head and body, while his mother Lee Chor Chin, 52, was slightly injured. They were working at their factory during the rockfall. 

Four monks who were asleep in their huts at the Thamchit Wipatsana Buddhist temple located at the front of the hill sustained light injuries. 

Novice monk Tionam Thong, 16, said he felt something heavy on his legs and body.  

“When I opened my eyes, I was shocked to find debris including soil, big stones and even zinc sheets on me. 

“I only realised that the face of the cliff had collapsed when I got up to check outside,” he said, adding that he sustained bruises on his legs and deep cuts on his feet and left hand. 

The other monks who were treated for head and body injuries were Ajahn Nan, 28, Ajahn Long, 30, and Ajahn Chai, 36. 

Temple abbot Ajahn Chan, 37, said the rockfall was the first since the temple was built seven years ago, adding that there were 10 monks at the temple. 

Ipoh Deputy OCPD Supt Che Sab Hanafiah led the search and rescue operation of 50 personnel from various agencies. 

Datuk Ramly Zahari, who is the state Industry and Entrepreneur Development Committee chairman, said the state government would give financial aid to the families of the two victims.  

Related Story:Weak cliff surface to blame for fatal rockfall 

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