Some crimes have a profound impact, causing not only chaos within a country but resonating across the entire nation. Victor Chang, a highly respected cardiac surgeon practicing in Australia, was one such individual who had won the favor and admiration of the people due to his gentle and pleasing disposition. His untimely demise on July 4, 1991, as a result of an attack, remains etched in the collective memory.
Two people were convicted for the murder and Chew Seng “Ah Sung” Liew was one of them. The details surrounding this event continue to be remembered, reflecting the enduring significance of a crime that shook everyone. He is being honored to date with a Google Doodle to his name on November 21, 2023. So, let us see where his killers are today and how justice has persevered.
Who is Chew Seng (Ah Sung) Liew?
Chew Seng Liew’s early life remains shrouded in mystery, with scant details available beyond his birth and upbringing in Malaysia. However, it is suggested that he grew up in financially distressing circumstances. He was visiting Australia and had arrived only 14 months before he would commit the crime. Before orchestrating the plan to attack Dr. Victor Chang, Liew collaborated with two other friends in the plotting and scheming. Strikingly, no personal grudge or animosity was motivating the attack against Dr. Chang. In him, Liew saw a successful Asian figure in a magazine who had achieved prominence in Australia, and driven by the lure of wealth, he devised a plan to extort money by any means necessary.
Dr. Victor Chang, a highly respected and honored figure in Australia, had been appointed as a Companion of the Order of Australia, reflecting his significant contributions to society. He worked diligently at St. Vincent Hospital, where he not only practiced medicine but also advocated for improved facilities and innovative practices. On the morning of July 4, 1991, Dr. Chang was commuting to work in his Mercedes from his residence in Middle Harbour shortly after 7:30 am.
Unbeknownst to him, Chew Seng Liew and his accomplice, Choon Tee Lim, were tailing him in a dilapidated Toyota Corona sedan from the Spit Bridge in Mosman. Suddenly, the Toyota swerved, colliding with Dr. Chang’s car and forcing it to come to a halt. The confrontation escalated as both vehicles came to a stop on Lang Street, prompting Dr. Chang and Liew, along with Lim, to exit their respective cars. Initially considering it a typical accident, Dr. Chang’s apprehensions heightened when Liew, addressing him by name in Mandarin, indicated a more sinister intent.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, Dr. Chang urgently called out to a passerby to contact the police. However, before the bystander could reach the nearest phone box, Liew, brandishing a pistol, fired two shots at Dr. Chang. In the first shot, he hit only his jaw, and the bullet passed from near his right ear. However, before Dr. Chang had time to react, Liew fired another shot straight to his forehead, and the doctor died in that instant.
Where is Chew Seng (Ah Sung) Liew Now?
Initially baffled by the seemingly high-profile attack on Dr. Chang, the police soon realized the amateurish nature of the crime. Within a year, they successfully apprehended Chew Seng Liew. Upon arrest, Liew swiftly pleaded guilty, revealing that his assault was driven solely by a desire for financial gain. Collaborator Ng, serving as a witness, testified against Liew during the legal proceedings. As a consequence, Liew received a 26-year sentence with no parole for 20 years and was incarcerated in an Australian prison, separated from his wife and three children.
In 2011, Chew Seng Liew’s family sought parole for him, citing his completion of the minimum 20-year sentence and his deteriorating health, marked by Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and early-onset dementia. At the age of 68, with concerns that they might lose him due to his medical conditions, his family appealed for his release. Due to the national outcry, the NSW Parole Board initially denied parole. However, in September 2012, Liew’s parole request was granted to allow him to attend his daughter Kwei Fei Liew’s wedding.
On a bridging visa during his prison term, Liew was deported to Kuala Lumpur immediately after his release. Confronted by a TV and news crew at the airport, he expressed remorse, acknowledging his mistake and offering a heartfelt apology to Dr. Chang’s family for the pain he caused. Dr. Chang’s family remained unconvinced by Chew Seng Liew’s apology, viewing it as a strategic move to secure parole. Following his return to Malaysia, there is limited information available about Liew’s life. It is presumed that he is living his life in relative obscurity today.