KUALA LUMPUR: Despite being a world away and having to put up with a 12-hour time difference, Ng Thang Kheong always kept in close contact with his mother, according to a relative.
His nephew Benny Ng, 32, said the murdered restaurant owner’s 90-year-old mother lit up each time he called from New York.
“My grandmother has nine children and uncle (Ng), who is the second youngest, shared the closest bond with her.
“Be it at any festive celebration and occasions like Mother’s Day or the Duan Wu Festival, he would call and they spent some time catching up over the phone.
“It is truly unfortunate that my uncle has to die this way,” said Benny, a marketing executive who lives in Teratai here with his grandmother.
Worried for the old woman, Benny said the family had not told her about Ng’s murder.
“It is just too hard and we are not ready. It will be devastating for her to know that the customary telephone call on Chinese New Year from my uncle will never happen this year,” he added.
Benny said Ng was a man of few words and had gone to the United States with his wife to work more than 20 years ago.
He said the family now only wanted to go to the United States to bring Ng’s remains home.
“Right now, we are getting the documents done while waiting for confirmation from the NYPD (New York Police Department) for us to go over.
“We hope to fly there as soon as possible, to be able to conduct his funeral,” Benny said, adding that the family planned to cremate Ng’s remains and bring his ashes home before the Chinese New Year celebration.
Ng and two other workers were viciously attacked by a man armed with a hammer at a seafood buffet restaurant located in Emmons Avenue, Brooklyn, at about 5pm on Tuesday.
The attack first left Ng brain dead. Chef Fufai Pun, 34, died from his injuries while worker Tsz Mat Pun, 50, is in critical condition.
Wisma Putra confirmed that Ng was pronounced dead by hospital authorities in New York at about 4pm on Friday.
An NYPD official confirmed that Ng died in hospital due to serious injuries.
It was reported that the suspect, identified as 34-year-old Arthur Martunovich, burst into the restaurant and began bashing Ng and the two others on their heads at a time when the eatery was packed with customers.
Martunovich, who was arrested shortly after the attack, reportedly told police that he was inspired to carry out the attack by a Chinese movie he had watched in which “men were mistreating women.”
Meanwhile, Teratai assemblyman Bryan Lai Wai Chong said he contacted Wisma Putra after the family approached him for help several days ago.
“We have advised the family to prepare the necessary documents and will help them with their visa applications.
“We hope they can travel to the US soon,” he said, adding that he would also assist the family in finding a columbarium for Ng’s ashes.