Wednesday, November 14, 2007

David Marshall Trials (5)

Continuation of excerpt from Alex Josey's The David Marshall Trials (page 246):

It was not until they found Bellows' diary, and the entry about the threat by Ah Tong, that the police began to probe.

The parang (long knife)certainly came from Ah Tong's general store. There were no fingerprints on the handle. Somebody had wiped them off.

The police soon discovered that Ah Tong and Bellows* frequently quarrelled. They found out about him pestering Mei-lin. They were not surprised: in Johore, Bellows had a reputation for manhandling girls whenever he had had a drop too much. He had been involved in several nasty fights over bar girls in some of the more disreputable night haunts. Altogether they seemed to be plenty of evidence that Ah Tong might have a good cause for assaulting Bellows but hardly enough to suggest murder. In any case was Ah Tong strong enough to swing a heavy parang with such murderous intent? It must have been a very determined blow that struck Bellows, a blow that needed considerable effort and strength. Hatred brings strength, sometimes. The evidence in the diary could not be ignored.

When the police told Ah Tong that they might have to arrest him in connection with Bellows, two things happened very suddenly. Firstly, a young man stepped forward and confessed to killing Bellows. His name was Foo Chan. Second, the village headman telephoned the Old Man's (David Marshall's) office to retain his services, "no matter what the cost", he said.

The Old Man hurried to the village, talked to the headman and to the young man who had confessed to killing Bellows.

Then the Old Man inspected the scene of the crime. He was puzzled by the young man's attitude. He seemed not the slightest bit worried. He had no remorse. When the Old Man asked him why he killed Bellows, the young man said, in translation, that he'd picked up the parang, followed Bellows and struck him.


*fictitious name but real person

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