KUALA LUMPUR: THE abduction, rape, and murder of Canny Ong on June 13, 2003, were among the high-profile cases that shocked the nation.
The then 29-year-old Canny, full name Canny Ong Lay Kian, was in town to visit her cancer-stricken father, Ong Bee Jeng, when she was kidnapped from the parking lot of a shopping centre in Bangsar here.
The IT analyst working in the United States had attended a farewell dinner along with her mother, sister and friends at the shopping centre.
She was scheduled to go back to the US the next morning.
After bidding farewell, Canny, her mother (Pearly Visvanathan) and sister (Elsie Ong Lee Cheng) realised that they had left the parking ticket in the car.
Canny dashed to get the ticket from the car in the basement of the shopping centre, and that was the last time her mother and sister saw her.
They searched in vain for her. Upon checking at the parking area, there was no sign of Canny or the violet Proton Tiara, which belonged to Pearly.
Along with several of her friends, the mother and sister sought help from the security guards and after much persistence, they were allowed to review the tapes from the closed-circuit television cameras.
The videos showed the car being driven out by an unidentified male at speed and crashing through the barrier at the exit.
Three days later, the car was found abandoned in Taman Petaling and several hours later, the charred remains of a woman were found in a culvert along the New Pantai Expressway construction site at Batu 7 Jalan Klang Lama, after construction workers were overcome by a stench emanating from the area.
Two tyres filled with cement were placed on the body, to pin it down, before it was torched. A half-metre wide board was placed on top of the culvert opening.
It was reported that the then Petaling Jaya Criminal Investigation Department chief Superintendent Ahmad Razil Yaakub said a positive identification of the body was difficult at that stage and could be determined only with a DNA test.
He said police, however, did not rule out that it might be Canny, who was married to a US citizen, Brendon Ong.
Three days after the charred remains were recovered, a former aircraft cabin cleaner, Ahmad Najib Aris, then 27, was arrested at his house in Pantai Dalam here.
He was charged at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court on July 3.
The 2005 trial, which was given wide publicity, stunned the nation with horrific details of the abduction, rape, murder and the dumping of Canny’s body into a manhole before it was torched.
On Feb 23, 2005, the Shah Alam High Court convicted Najib of the rape and murder of Canny and meted out the death penalty for the murder and 20 years’ imprisonment.
In 2007, Court of Appeal rejected his appeal.
On March 27, 2009, the Federal Court upheld his conviction and death sentence for the rape and murder of Canny.
On Oct 21 of the same year, he failed to obtain the Federal Court’s permission to review his conviction and death sentence.
On Sept 23, 2016, he was hanged at Kajang Prison, bringing closure 13 years after the case.
Following Canny’s abduction, shopping centres in the Klang Valley began introducing guarded women’s only parking sections near the entrances for the safety of lone female drivers.
Many shopping centres installed CCTV cameras or improved their CCTVs to higher definition ones.
In some buildings, panic buttons were installed to prevent such cases from recurring.
The parking section is usually guarded by security personnel.