A Singaporean pastor and principal of a Christian school in Kampong Speu province’s Chbar Mon district was found dead yesterday after being stabbed in her room during a suspected attempted burglary and murder, allegedly by five men who are already in custody, police said.
The victim, Wendy Ng, 52, was the newly appointed principal of the New Hope International School, run by Christian organisation New Hope for Orphans (NHO), and had arrived in Cambodia only a month ago, NHO director Pastor Sinai Phouek told the Post yesterday.
“She was waiting for her new house to be built, that’s why she was staying in the room above the school,” Sinai said, adding that Ng had intended to commit herself to missionary work in the Kingdom for the long term.
NHO is a Christian-run organisation affiliated with churches in the US, Taiwan and Singapore. The group, which has 10 children’s homes and schools spread throughout the country, has received missionary teams from Singapore in the past.
So far, five suspects – all construction workers who were building Ng’s new home – have been arrested and are being detained for further questioning by police, said Sam Sak, deputy chief of the provincial criminal office.
“We suspect robbery, because she was due to receive her salary, as it was the end of the month,” said Sak.
That said, he continued, cash was not removed from Ng’s room and police were trying to figure out why.
Dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, Ng was found lying in a pool of blood on the floor with three stab wounds to her neck.
According to Pastor Sinai, Ng was due to lead the morning devotion for centre’s staff and teachers. When she didn’t show, staff at the school suspected something was amiss.
“When they were left waiting, the teachers went to check her room and tried to pull open the door, but it was locked,” said Sinai. “When they forced their way in, they saw her lying on the floor.”
Chhay Malet, with whom Ng had prayed daily every morning, was one of the NHO staffers who stumbled upon the grisly scene and made the subsequent police report yesterday morning. She was also later questioned by the police.
When the Post called the centre yesterday, police, Ng’s 62-year-old Singaporean husband and staff from the Singapore embassy were on-site.
Deputy chief of mission Edgar Pang said the embassy had been aiding the investigation.
“At this juncture, all I can say is that we are rendering consular assistance to the next-of-kin.”
Pang declined to elaborate, as police investigations were still ongoing.
Ng had previously pastored at Glad Tidings Church in Singapore, along with her husband, who is also a pastor and chairman of the board of the church. Both Ng’s husband and staff at the church requested space to grieve and declined to comment.
Ng’s body was handed over to her husband yesterday, said provincial deputy prosecutor Mut Dara, who added that investigations will reveal if the suspects were the real killers.