PENANG: Three gun shots and a crashing sound of a car that had rammed into a double-storey terraced house, shattered the afternoon calm of a suburban middle-class housing area here.
Slumped across the steering wheel of the Nissan Sentra in front of the house in Changkat Tembaga at 2.30pm yesterday was Lau Khoon Beng, with bullet holes in his head. He had been shot thrice at close range.
The 34-year-old driver had been arrested at various times for drug offences and was believed to be a victim of a Mafia-style killing.
He was believed to have earlier stopped his car by the side of the road to talk to someone known to him.
Forensic pathologist Datuk Dr Bhupinder Singh said, based on the evidence found at the scene, the victim died on the spot.
After Lau was shot, his body slumped across the steering wheel and his foot pressed on the fuel pedal, causing the car to accelerate suddenly and ram into the house.
The impact of the crash was so great that both the car’s airbags were activated.
A tenant of the house briefly came out and ordered an Indonesian maid outside to quickly get back indoors.
The police later called a tow truck to remove the car.
Residents interviewed said they at first thought that the car driver was an accident victim – until they saw the bullet holes on the side of his head.
George Town OCPD Asst Comm Azam Abd Hamid told reporters here that a police team from the Jelutong station who rushed to the scene found Lau already dead.
The case has been classified as murder.
“Police found five packets of syabu (methamphetamine crystals) in the glove compartment,” he said.
“We also found two 9mm calibre spent shells and a false number plate in the car.
“Our checks showed that the vehicle was registered to the victim. We believe that the ‘hit’ was drug related.”
He said Lau had spent time at the Simpang Renggam rehabilitation centre in Johor in 1994 and 1996 under the Special Preventive Laws for drug trafficking.
He said police checked out the Rifle Range address stated on his identity card, but were told that no such person lived there.
Those with information can call him at 012-6802000 or the investigating officer at 04-2292222 ext 1845.