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Yishun triple murder
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Humiliation - Quarrel over money for crab
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: September 18, 2008
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1966
Victims profile: His lover Zhang Meng, 41, Zhang's daughter Feng Jianyu, 17, and Zhang's flatmate, Yang Jie, 36
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Singapore
Status: Sentenced to death on November 30, 2012
photo gallery

18 September 2008: Chinese national Wang Zhijian murdered his lover Zhang Meng, 41, Zhang's daughter Feng Jianyu, 17, and Zhang's flatmate Yang Jie, 36, in Zhang's house. He also attempted to murder Yang's daughter, Li Meilin, 15.

At the end of the trial in November 2012, he was sentenced to death for only Yang's murder while successfully raising the defence of diminished responsibility for the murder of the other two.

In November 2014, during the cross-appeal between Wang and the prosecution, Wang's appeal against the death sentence was rejected while the prosecution's appeal was allowed, which made Wang guilty of all three murders.


Man murders lover, her daughter and flatmate after quarrel over money for crab

The Straits Times

May 18, 2016

A tumultuous love affair ends with a Chinese national viciously killing his lover, her daughter and their flatmate.

Being humiliated by his lover for not giving her money to buy crabs for dinner was the last straw for Wang Zhijian.

That night, he got up from bed naked, took a knife and stabbed Ms Zhang Meng, 41, over and over again.

He turned the knife onto her 17-year-old daughter Feng Jianyu, killing her too.

Then he went after another mother-daughter pair who were staying in the rental apartment. Ms Li Meilin, who was 15 at the time, survived the repeated slashings.

Her mother Yang Jie, 36, fell to her death from the sixth-floor kitchen window of the flat in Block 349, Yishun Avenue 11.

She had escaped onto the narrow ledge outside but Wang, who was 42 at the time of the killings, cut her hands which were holding onto the bamboo pole holders.

As if the shocking details were not enough, the perpetual grin Wang had for the cameras during his trial added another layer of menace.

Crazy love

Tattoos on Wang’s body gave an inkling of his tumultuous love-hate relationship with Ms Zhang.

In May 2007, her face and half-body were put on his back, with a rose at the bottom. This, he said, was to express his “sincere” love for her.

Eight months later, he put a snake on his left shoulder to symbolise her viciousness, and a skeleton and heart on the right one. He said: “The skeleton resembled the ‘dead god’ (Ms Zhang) slowly and gradually swallowing my heart.”

They first met in 1996 at a brokerage firm, where Wang went to trade in stocks. The introduction was done by his colleague.

There was hardly any contact between them, even though they lived in Tianjin, where Wang worked as a supervisor at a port. In 2004, he divorced his wife, saying they were just incompatible.

The next year, to his surprise, Ms Zhang called him and asked to meet at a coffee house, where Wang poured his heart out about his ex-wife.

From then on they met once a week. This went up to twice a week. In early 2006, she asked him if he loved her and he said yes. They had sex for the first time on March 17 — a date which Wang clearly recalled.

In June, she revealed she was married.

He said he wanted to break up with her, and then again when he suspected her of having other lovers. “She told me that since the first glance at me, she had fallen in love with me. She wanted to be with me for the rest of her life,” Wang told police.

He described how she used a needle to prick her finger and wrote “I love Wang Zhi” in her blood. Not being able to stand the pain, she asked Wang to continue using his blood and he did, writing “...jian, I want to marry him”. When she asked him to express his love for her, he put “I love her until I die” in blood as well.

In November 2006, her husband Feng Jinqiang called Wang to a meeting and asked his wife to choose between them. She picked Wang.

Soon, Ms Zhang’s family started to harass Wang, who claimed he was beaten and threatened with death. He said they also looked for him at his workplace, so he took early retirement and got 400,000 yuan.

He said that in three months, he spent a quarter of the money on branded clothes and expensive meals for Ms Zhang, who divorced her husband in 2007.

But when her ex-husband suffered a stroke, she decided to stay and take care of him. The affair ended, but only for four months, after which Ms Zhang and her daughter moved in with Wang.

Jianyu then got a place in Northview Secondary School in Singapore and moved here with her mother in December 2007.

A few months later, the couple broke up again. Then Ms Zhang returned during the March school holidays, tracked down Wang and they reunited.

Two months later, she asked him to follow her to Singapore. He told her he did not have the money to support her lavish lifestyle. She promised she would take care of him.

He believed her.

Singapore visits

He visited Ms Zhang three times in 2008 on social visit passes and, according to him, was subjected to bizarre and humiliating treatment.

Wang claimed that he spent his money on food for her and her daughter, cooked for them while he ate their scraps, and hand-washed their clothes, including undergarments.

He said he was forced to stay in the bedroom naked because Ms Zhang did not allow him to leave the room when her daughter and sub-tenants were around. Since there was no toilet there, he had to defecate and urinate into plastic bags and newspapers.

He claimed he did not resist her because he was afraid she would come up with even harsher rules. “She might even bite me,” he said.

For his first trip to Singapore in July, Wang said the 2,800 yuan he brought with him was spent within four days, mostly on food for Ms Zhang. This included $140 for a crab meal at a nearby seafood restaurant.

After he returned to Tianjin, she called him to say her friends said he could get a job at a logistics company and urged him to return as soon as possible.

His second trip was on Aug 3.

She introduced him to agents who quoted various charges to help him get a job, but she refused his request to pay for him first, saying she did not have enough money. They quarrelled more than once before he left on Sept 2.

Ms Zhang then called him to say that Jianyu would be transferred to Raffles Girls’ School and asked him to come to help her arrange the move.

He withdrew 7,000 yuan — nearly all that was left of his life’s savings — and arrived on Sept 9. Within five days, he had spent 2,000 yuan, including $120 for two crabs, which he cooked for mother and daughter. Two pieces were left for him. “But Jianyu told her mother she wanted them for her breakfast. I was left with no crab,” Wang told the police.

On Sept 18, at about 8pm, Ms Zhang came into his room and told him she and Jianyu wanted to have crab again.

“I told her they just ate crab a week ago and reminded her that every time we spend more than $100 on crab,” he said.

An argument broke out, lasting nearly an hour.

"Zhang humiliated and used vulgarities on me. She scolded me poor fellow... I told her I have spent all my savings on her. What does she expect from me? She even said that I was produced by dogs and donkey... On hearing all these, I became very angry.”

Night of horror

After the argument, Ms Zhang went to sleep at about 9pm, wearing only her panties.

Wang, who was naked, laid down on the mattress in the same room but could not fall asleep. He claimed to be in a daze.

“I felt that I couldn’t breathe. My whole body was trembling... My mind was a blank. The blood was gushing to my head, I did not see anything before my eyes, everything was red. I was unable to control my thoughts.”

He thought about how “wicked” she was and how she was spending his money “although she has not been faithful to me”.

After about an hour, he went into the kitchen and remained there for some time. Instead of cooling down, he grabbed a knife. He returned to the bedroom and closed the door. The lights were still off.

“I grasped the knife with my right hand and thrust it 45 degree downwards at Zhang’s abdomen region. At that moment, she screamed and struggled a little as if she wanted to sit up. I thrust her many times with the knife continuously and I could not remember the exact number of times.

"It happened very fast and vaguely I remember she continued to struggle and move her body. I thrust her abdomen region with the knife until she became motionless. My knife went in and out of her body.”

The door to the bedroom opened. It was Jianyu.

“I was near to the doorway and I stepped forward towards that person. I lost my mind and I could not control my emotion. I went forward to stab that person’s abdomen region,” Wang told police.

“I gave that person a few thrusts at the abdomen region with the same knife. That person did not struggle. She staggered forward when I gave her the subsequent stabs. She collapsed on the same mattress, beside Zhang.”

The mother and daughter suffered a total of 98 stab and slash wounds.

Wang claimed that the door to the other bedroom then opened, and he saw two people standing there.

He rushed in to kill them.

But the court found that this was not how it happened, especially since no traces of blood from the other tenants were found on the knife used to kill Madam Zhang.

Instead, he had first gone back to the kitchen to get another weapon, this time settling on a chopper.

That was when he entered the other bedroom to silence Madam Yang and her daughter.

Survivor speaks

On Nov 22, 2011, Ms Li, who like Jianyu had been in Singapore to study, took the stand against the man who killed her mother and gave a harrowing account of what happened that night.

Already 18 then, she testified that both she and her mother were sleeping when she was awakened by the sound of heavy breathing outside her bedroom — as if someone was suffocating.

She then heard Jianyu shouting auntie and uncle in Mandarin, then cutlery falling. She and her mother, who was awake by this time, debated on whether to call the police.

Then, the door swung open and Wang rushed in.

Ms Li screamed, and he started slashing her while her mother rushed out. She put her hands up as she squatted with her back to the wall, but Wang continued using the chopper on her.

Then he left to go after Madam Yang. From outside, he warned Ms Li not to move.

Bleeding heavily, she went to the bedroom door to shut it but Wang burst in again. He pushed her onto the bed and continued to stab and slash her. She kicked him in the thigh and he fell, giving her the chance to run out of the room and into the kitchen toilet.

She closed the foldable plastic door but Wang hacked at it until it collapsed, she said, before slashing her head, face and neck until she fell to the toilet floor.

When he left her, her only thought was: “God, let me die.”

He returned and stabbed her in the lower back, right ear and back of the neck.

When she regained some consciousness, she could hear Wang speaking to police, who eventually rescued her. What she did not realise at the time was that her mother’s body was on the ground floor.

Madam Yang had died from acute haemorrhage due to multiple injuries after landing on her head and left hip. She also had two wounds on her right and left fingers which were not consistent with a fall.

It was the prosecution’s case that Madam Yang had climbed out of the kitchen window to stand on the narrow concrete overhang, holding on to the laundry pole holders right below the window sill.

Worried that she might escape, Wang used the chopper to cut Yang’s fingers, causing her to lose her grip.

Forensic experts did not find Madam Yang’s blood within the flat. Instead, it was found on the exterior wall of the kitchen beside the bamboo pole holders, which proved the prosecution’s case.

'I don't remember'

Wang stuck to the story that he could not remember how he attacked his four victims, claiming his mind had gone blank from rage. He said he did not know how he had a knife in his hand and why he attacked Ms Zhang and the others.

He said it was only when he was taking a shower after the attack that he realised something had happened.

The prosecution however pointed out that not only did he remember to shower to wash the blood, he also then wore his clothes, put plasters on his injured finger, packed his bag, took his travel documents, and wore his socks and shoes.

He was clearly thinking well enough to realise he had to flee.

Wang disagreed, saying if he had wanted to escape, he would have packed all his things and used a better bag. He also claimed he did not remember putting on socks and shoes after his shower.

“I do not remember” became a mantra for him through the trial.

Interestingly, psychiatric experts for the prosecution and defence agreed that Wang was suffering from an “adjustment disorder”. However, they disagreed on whether it was enough to impair him so much to reduce his responsibility for the attack.

Justice Chan Seng Onn decided that the anger at the way he had been treated had built up in Wang only to explode in a frenzy after that final argument. He was still in that state when Jianyu came into the room.

But after that came a longer series of events – including taking the time to search for a new weapon and having the awareness to warn Ms Li not to run while he searched for her mother – in which Wang could have regained his senses.

And “having killed the very person he was angry with and who had caused him much stress and misery, there ought to have been a considerable degree of release of his bottled up anger and emotions”, the judge said.

He found Wang guilty of culpable homicide in the deaths of his lover and her daughter, but of murder when it came to Madam Yang. Wang was sentenced to death.

The appeal

In November 2014, Wang, by then 48, failed in his bid to escape the gallows. But it went beyond just losing his appeal against his conviction of murdering Madam Yang. The three-judge court allowed the prosecution’s appeal and found Wang guilty of murder in the cases of Ms Zhang and Jianyu as well.

The judges were not convinced that Wang lost control because of his mental condition.

Instead, he had killed Ms Zhang out of extreme anger to “finish her off so that she would never feature in his life again”. As for Jianyu, he wanted to eliminate her because she was a witness.

Wang showed no emotion when the verdict was read. This time, there was no smile.


Chinese national who killed three women in 2008 will still have to hang after losing appeal

Selina Lum - The Straits Times

November 28, 2014

SINGAPORE - A Chinese national who killed three women, including his lover and her daughter, in a Yishun flat in 2008 will still have to hang, after the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal on Friday.

Although the fate of Wang Zhijian, 48, has not changed since he was condemned to hang two years ago, the difference is that he now stands guilty of murder for all three deaths.

The High Court in 2012 had convicted Wang of murder only for the death of Madam Yang Jie, 36, who was the flatmate of his lover.

For the deaths of his lover Zhang Meng, 41, and her daughter Feng Jianyu, 17, he was found guilty of culpable homicide, after the High Court accepted his defence that he stabbed them because an abnormality of the mind caused him to lose control.

Wang appealed against his conviction for Madam Yang's murder, while the prosecution appealed for Wang to be found guilty of murder for the other two deaths as well.

On Friday, the three-judge appeal court dismissed Wang's appeal and allowed the prosecution's appeal.

Justice Chao Hick Tin, delivering the court's decision, disagreed that Wang suffered from an abnormality of the mind. The appeal court found that he killed Madam Zhang in "extreme anger" and Jianyu because she was a witness.

On the other hand, the appeal court agreed that there was no doubt that Wang caused the flatmate, Madam Yang, to fall six floors to her death with intention to kill.


Yishun triple murderer 'tried to silence the witnesses': Judge

By Amanda Phua - The New Paper

Saturday, December 1, 2012

SINGAPORE - There were to be no witnesses to the brutal rampage in 2008 that left his lover and her daughter dead.

And to ensure this, Chinese national Wang Zhijian, 46, attacked his lover's two flatmates. Miss Li Meilin, then 15, survived. But her mother, Madam Yang Jie, 36, did not.

For Madam Yang's murder, Wang was sentenced to hang yesterday.

For killing his lover, Madam Zhang Meng, 41, and her daughter Feng Jianyu, 17, at Block 349, Yishun Avenue 11, in September 2008, he was found guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder because the judge accepted that he was provoked.

Justice Chan Seng Onn, referring to the attempt to silence the witnesses, said yesterday: "The subsequent attacks... were done in cold blood in order to silence them and not in the heat of a frenzied attack."

Details of how he tried to silence the witnesses emerged during the 10-day trial.

After killing his lover and her daughter on Sept 18, Wang wandered around the flat, changed the bloodied knife for a fresh one and then callously knocked off the witnesses one by one.

He entered the bedroom first and attacked Miss Li viciously, prompting Justice Chan to say it "was completely fortuitous" that she survived.

After slashing Miss Li on the cheek, he went after Madam Yang who had run out of the bedroom. It is believed that she climbed out of the window of the sixth-storey flat and was standing precariously on the ledge outside, clinging to the bamboo pole holders for balance.

Based on the evidence collected, Justice Chan concluded that Wang intentionally caused Madam Yang's death by cutting her fingers while "she was standing on the narrow concrete overhang, to force her to release her grip on the bamboo pole holders, so that (Madam) Yang would fall down six storeys to her death".

Wang then returned to attack Miss Li.

He told her to "close her eyes and not to scream".

She did not fully trust him, so she peeped and saw him attempting to stab her.

She kicked him and ran to hide in the kitchen toilet.

He went after her and attacked her savagely. She collapsed and heard him say words to the effect of "I do not chop you any more" as he left.

Miss Li whispered: "God, let me go."

Wang heard it and returned a fourth time to attack her again.

Arrival of police

When the police arrived, Wang told them the three occupants in the flat did not have any signs of life.

Justice Chan said: "From this fact, I deduce that Wang believed (albeit wrongly) that he had succeeded in killing (Meilin)."

He also said that Wang performed a series of tasks before attacking the co-tenants, like looking for another weapon and walking around the flat, giving him sufficient time to cool down.

He said: "Clearly, Wang was no longer in a frenzied state by then, nor was he acting in an irrational manner or behaving in an uncontrolled fashion anymore.

"He knew and understood what he was doing when he cut (Madam) Yang's fingers.

"He was able to exercise his rational judgment and his intention to have (Madam) Yang killed to silence her as a potential informant and witness was clear."

As for the killing of Madam Zhang and Jianyu, Justice Chan said the defence of diminished responsibility applied.

Wang had told the court that on the night of the killings, Madam Zhang had insulted his parents and cruelly belittled and baited him. He was so angry that his mind went blank. He picked up a knife and stabbed her repeatedly in her sleep.

As he was attacking her, Jianyu entered the room and he lunged at her.

Said Justice Chan: "I find that, coupled with his adjustment disorder, which might have reduced his capacity to control himself and which developed as a result of the multiple stressors... Wang became so angry with (Madam) Zhang on that evening that he went into a frenzy that was beyond his control..."

Thus, the charges of murdering them was reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Justice Chan reserved his judgment on the sentencing for these charges, pending Wang's appeal against the death sentence.


'Just sentence me to death', says Chinese triple murderer Wang Zhijian

April 30, 2012

After another day of intense grilling, Chinese national Wang Zhijian had had enough.

Faced with the horrific facts of his lover's death, Wang, 45, said he did not want to be questioned any more and pleaded in tears with the judge to sentence him to death.

Yesterday was the fifth day since his murder trial resumed on Monday.

He is accused of intentionally killing his lover, Madam Zhang Meng, 41, her 17-year-old daughter Feng Jianyu, and causing the death of their co-tenant, Madam Yang Jie, 36, in 2008.

One charge of attempting to murder Madam Yang's daughter, Miss Li Meilin, who was 15 at the time, has been stood down.

Miss Li, now 19, is the sole survivor of the attack.

Deputy Senior State Counsel Mohamed Faizal Md Abdul Kadir put it to Wang that not only was he aware that he was stabbing Madam Zhang and Jianyu, but that he had also planned to flee, among other things.

Speaking through an interpreter, Wang replied firmly to most statements: "I disagree."

When challenged with information from Miss Li's statement, Wang stressed that he didn't want to contradict her as he felt that he had "let her down".

After the prosecution finished the cross-examination, he told Justice Chan Seng Onn that he was "starting to feel fear, and felt tense".

Justice Chan asked if he could bear with it for an hour, and Wang replied: "Whenever I think of the past, I feel uncomfortable."

But he complied and his assigned lawyers, Mr Kelvin Lim and Mr Jason Dendroff, took over the questioning.

Barely five minutes later, he broke down.

His face and neck turned red and tears flowed. Audible sniffles and deep breathing echoed as he struggled to reply.

When Mr Lim asked if he denied causing the deaths of Madam Zhang and Jianyu, he asked for the question to be repeated before answering: "I must have done all this."

Reminded of the 44 injuries he inflicted on Madam Zhang, Wang said: "I am shocked, fearful and frightened. I can't imagine that I did this to her."

He later said: "I love her, why would I do it?"

Justice Chan told Wang after Mr Lim ended: "It has been a gruelling time for you. It has ended." Wang begged him not to be questioned any more.

In tears, he pleaded: "You can sentence me to death. Just don't ask me any more. It is too uncomfortable."

Dr Tommy Tan, consultant psychiatrist at Novena Medical Center, examined Wang four times in October and November 2010.

Dr Tan and Dr Kenneth Koh, who is the prosecution's expert witness, agreed that Wang suffered from a prolonged depressive reaction, or adjustment disorder with depressed mood.

Dr Tan concluded that Wang "has an abnormality of mind, and he qualified for the defence of (diminished responsibility)", but in court documents submitted, Dr Koh disagreed.

Taking the stand late yesterday afternoon, Dr Tan said he believes that Wang has been suffering from this condition since 2007, when he was still in China, and that it "escalated when he was in Singapore".

Stress factors like the harassment and threats he faced from Madam Zhang's family, the loss of his job and the humiliating conditions he faced while living with Madam Zhang in Singapore contributed to his condition.

A person suffering from this disorder may have violent outbursts.

To explain why Wang was able to give detailed and coherent statements to the police but unable to do so in court, Dr Tan said it could be that Wang unconsciously forgot this part of his memory.

He speculated that the trauma of having killed his loved one could have caused this memory loss.

Dr Tan also said that when stabbing Madam Zhang, Jianyu, and attacking Madam Yang and Miss Li, Wang would have been aware of his actions.

He added: "It could have been a temporal loss of self-control."

But Wang would have known what he was doing, explained Dr Tan.

He added: "A big proportion of such offenders cannot remember (what they did).

"When they are doing it, they are aware. Post-event, they may forget."

Answering Justice Chan's question on how soon this memory loss occurs, Dr Tan said it could be quite soon or even immediately. He was not able to give a specific answer as no study had been conducted on this.

Asked to comment on the ferocity that Wang attacked Madam Zhang and Jianyu with, Dr Tan said: "I can only say that it was a frenzied attack. Awareness does not equal thinking. Maybe he was not thinking. He cannot control his actions but knows what he is doing."


Yishun murders: Mother and daughter knifed 98 times

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More details have emerged from the 2008 Yishun killing frenzy case in which three persons were killed and one grievously wounded.

It was revealed in court that Wang Zhijian stabbed and slashed two of the victims, a mother and her daughter, a total of 98 times. 16 of these wounds were potentially fatal.

According to Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao, he had allegedly quarrelled with his 42-year-old girlfriend Zhang Meng on September 18, 2008.

An hour after the quarrel, he used thrusted the blade of a kitchen knife 45 degrees downwards into Madam Zhang's abdomen as she slept on a mattress on the floor.

The Straits Times reported that Wang told the court yesterday that at the moment he thrust the knife in her, Madam Zhang screamed and struggled a little as if she wanted to sit up but did not manage to.

The Chinese national, 45, then attacked the victim's daughter 17-year-old daughter Feng Jian Yu after she was awakened by her mother's cries. He stabbed her until she collapsed.

Wang, who was naked, subsequently went into a second room and attacked another mother-and-daughter pair who was staying in the same flat at Block 349, Yishun Street 11.

In her bid to escape, one of the women, Yang Jie, ran to the kitchen and climbed out the window and stood on the narrow ledge outside, while holding on to the laundry pole holders. The prosecution reportedly claims that Wang then hacked at her fingers.

Unable to hold on, she fell to her death. While she died because of the fall, the court hears that two other victims died from multiple stab wounds.

Madam Yang's daughter, Li Meilin delivered her harrowing account of the slashings yesterday.

The teenager is the only survivor from attack that lasted one hour and 49 minutes.

Li, 18, said Wang pushed her onto a bed, but when she saw him thrust the blade towards her, she kicked him and ran out of the room.

She managed to get to the kitchen toilet and closed the foldable plastic doors. But Wang hacked at it till it collapsed and then slashed Li's head, face and neck until she fell to the floor.

He reportedly came back and stabbed her again, reported The Straits Times.

Li was rescued by police. At that time, she did not know her mother was dead.

According to the national daily, Li, who was dressed in a long-sleeved plaid shirt and jeans, was serene on the stand. With a small smile on her face, the lanky teenager, who wore spectacles, identified Wang by pointing at him when he was sitting in the dock.

Madam Zhang, who was estranged from her husband, was reportedly in a romantic relationship with Wang since 2005. He and the four women were all Chinese nationals.

After the hearing, Wang, who is denying murder, asked his lawyer to tell her that he was sorry.

Wang had only been in Singapore for 10 days before he attacked the women. He was here on a 30-day social visit pass.



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