Slava Novorossiya

Slava Novorossiya

Saturday, February 28, 2015


               40 years go on this date, February 28, 1975, 7 of the 9 killers in the Gold Bar murders of December 29, 1971 were executed by hanging in Changi Prison, Singapore.

Gold Bar Murders

In December 1972, a group of 10 men killed businessman Ngo Cheng Poh and his employees, Leong Chin Woo and Ang Boon Chai, and robbed them of 120 gold bars. Known as the "Gold Bar Murders", it is one of Singapore's more prominent criminal cases. The men responsible were Andrew Chou Hock Guan, his brother David Chou Hock Heng, Augustine Ang, Peter Lim Swee Guan, Alex Yau Hean Thye, Richard James, Stephen Francis, Konesekaran Nagalingam, Ringo Lee Chiew Chwee and Stephen Lee Hock Khoon. Of the group, Augustine Ang was detained indefinitely without trial, and Ringo Lee and Stephen Lee were detained at the president's pleasure as they were under the age of 18. The remaining seven men were hanged on 28 February 1975.


Andrew Chou worked as a ground operations supervisor with Air Vietnam in Singapore. His job enabled him to pass through airport security with ease, and allowed him to establish connections with Air Vietnam staff and aircrew. He became involved in smuggling gold for three syndicates in Singapore: Kee Guan Import-Export Co., Eastern Watch Co. and Lee Tong Heng Import and Export. The gold was brought to Chou’s house, No. 19 Chepstow Close, Serangoon Gardens, to be taken to the airport for loading. In return, he would receive US$5 from the crew members and US$10 from the local consignee for each gold bar.

However, in October 1971, a sum of US$235,000 that had arrived on an Air Vietnam flight went missing. The money was meant to be payment for the gold to the three syndicates and they pressured Chou to find the missing money. Chou suspected that some of the aircrew had stolen the money and was able to recover most of it, but relations with the syndicates were strained after this incident. The syndicates no longer trusted him and no longer sent as many gold consignments for export. Eastern Watch Co. stopped exporting gold through Chou, Lee Tong Heng Import and Export sent only one consignment, while Kee Guan Import-Export Co. continued to work with Chou but sent smaller consignments.

Description of events
With his income from gold smuggling considerably reduced, Chou plotted with his brother, Peter Lim and Augustine Ang to rob and kill whoever sent the next consignment of gold for export. Lim and Ang were tasked with recruiting some extra help, offering S$20,000 each for the job.

On 29 December 1971, Chou received a call from Ngo Cheng Poh, his contact from Kee Guan Import-Export Co. informing him of the next consignment delivery, in which 120 gold bars (worth S$500,000) were to be delivered to Chou’s house later that night. Chou notified Augustine Ang and all the recruits gathered at Chou’s house. At about midnight, Ngo arrived together with his two employees, Leong Chin Woo and Ang Boon Chai. The Chou brothers greeted Ngo and Leong while Ngo’s other employee, Ang, waited in the car. Augustine Ang was called out to help count the gold, while the others hid in Chou's kitchen. As Ngo and Leong watched Ang count the gold, the brothers attacked them from behind, and the other accomplices hiding in the kitchen came out to help. After Ngo and Leong had been killed, Chou dealt with Ngo's other employee similarly.

The dead bodies were put into Leong’s car and dumped in thick sludge beside a disused mining pond in Jalan Lembah Bedok. Ngo’s car was disposed of by the other accomplices. The Chou brothers and Ang brought the gold to Catherine Ang (unrelated), a contact who was to arrange for the gold to be sold. Chou called Ngo’s wife, claiming that Ngo and his employees had not delivered the gold.

On 30 December, the police discovered the bodies at Jalan Tiga Ratus following an anonymous tip. Police retrieved 115 gold bars from the home of Catherine Ang, while another five gold bars were found in David Chou’s office at Bayer Singapore Pte. Ltd.

Trial proceedings
Nine of the 10 men were brought to trial: the Chou brothers, Lim, Yau, Ringo Lee, James, Francis, Nagalingam, Stephen Lee. All nine pleaded not guilty to three joint charges of causing the death of Ngo, Leong and Ang.

Augustine Ang confessed to being an accomplice and participant in the murder of the three men. He became the key prosecution witness in order to save his own life. The murder charges against him were thus withdrawn and he was discharged. However, the discharge did not amount to an acquittal.  Ang was arrested and detained under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act, which allows the government to detain dangerous criminals without trial for an indefinite period.

In December 1972, Solicitor-General A. W. Ghows made his final submission to Justice Chua and Justice Choor Singh that all nine accused should be found guilty as charged. The accused tried to appeal against the verdict twice, first to the Appeal Court that all nine accused did not have the common objective of killing the victims. The next appeal was made to the Privy Council. Both appeals were unsuccessful. As a last resort, they appealed to President Benjamin Sheares for clemency, but in February 1975, it was reported that the president had rejected their petitions.

Ringo Lee Chiew Chwee and Stephen Lee Hock Khoon escaped the death penalty because they were both under 18 at the time of the murders. They were ordered to be detained at the president’s pleasure. The other seven men, having been found guilty and unsuccessful in their appeals and clemency petitions, were hanged in Changi Prison on 28 February 1975.

Cherylyn Tok

A graveyard meeting with bomohs – and a heinous plot to kill three friends. (1978, April 2). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved January 5, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

All 7 lose their last hope: Gold bar murders. (1975, February 25). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved January 3, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

Another man charged with gold bar murders. (1972, February 9). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved January 3, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

Cheang, C. and Muthu, S.M. (1972, May 9). "I thought he had been waylaid”. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved January 5, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

Court told of $20,000 offer to kill 3.
(1972, May 4). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved January 5, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

Davidson, B. (1972, November 22). Robbery idea was Ang’s says Andrew. The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved January 3, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

Hwang T. F. and Davidson, B. (1972, October 10). Gold bars triple murder trial opens – 9 in dock. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved January 3, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

'I wasn't given pardon to be a witness'. (1972, November 3).  The Straits Times, p.6. Retrieved November 30, 2012, from NewspaperSG.

Josey, A. (1981). The tenth man: Gold bar murders. Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 364.1523095957 JOS)

QC to argue gold bars murder appeal. (1973, November 10). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved January 3, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

Further readings
All of the bullion is mine: Claimant. (1974, December 10). The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved January 3, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

Court allows HK man to make joint bullion claim. (1974, December 13). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved January 3, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

Davidson, B. (1974, November 6). The illegal $40,000 gold deal. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved January 3, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

Gold bar killings: Two more petitions. (1975, January 29). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved January 3, 2011, from NewspaperSG.

Josey, A. (2009). Bloodlust. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions.
(Call no.: RSING 345.595702523 JOS)

Josey, A. (2009). Cold-blooded murders. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions.
(Call no.: RSING 345.595702523 JOS)

Thursday, February 26, 2015


            On this date, February 26, 1943, one of Hitler’s most evil henchmen, Theodor Eicke was killed in action. I will post information about this SS-Obergruppenführer from Wikipedia and other links.

Eicke as a SS-Obergruppenführer with Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

17 October 1892
Hudingen (Hampont), Alsace-Lorraine, German Empire
26 February 1943 (aged 50)
near Kharkov, Ukraine, Soviet Union (present-day Kharkov, Ukraine)
  • German Empire (to 1918)
  • Weimar Republic (to 1933)
  • Nazi Germany
Years of service
SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Waffen-SS
Service number
NSDAP #114,901
SS #2,921
Commands held
3rd. SS-Division Totenkopf
World War I
World War II
Ritterkreuz des Eisernes Kreuz mit Eichenlaub
Bertha Schwebel (m. 1914)

Theodor Eicke (17 October 1892 – 26 February 1943) was an SS-Obergruppenführer (German General), commander of the SS-Division (mot) Totenkopf of the Waffen-SS and one of the key figures in the establishment of concentration camps in Nazi Germany. His Nazi Party number was 114,901 and his SS number was 2,921. Together with SS-Obersturmbannführer Michael Lippert, Eicke executed SA Chief Ernst Röhm following the Night of the Long Knives purge.

Theodor Eicke

Early Life — World War I

Eicke, the son of a station master, was born in Hudingen (Hampont), near Château-Salins (then in the German province of Elsass-Lothringen) into a lower-middle-class family. The youngest of 11 children, he did not do well in school and dropped out at the age of 17 before graduation. He joined the 23rd Bavarian Infantry Regiment as a volunteer; later on, in World War I, he took the office of paymaster for the 3rd — and, from 1916 on, the 22nd Bavarian Infantry Regiment. He won the Iron Cross, Second Class in 1914 for bravery.

Eicke resigned from his position of army paymaster in 1919. He began studying in his wife's hometown of Ilmenau. However, he dropped out of school again in 1920 intending to pursue a police career. He initially worked as an informer and later as a regular policeman. His career in the police came to an end because of his fervent hatred for the Weimar Republic and his repeated participation in violent political demonstrations. He finally managed to find work in 1923 at IG Farben.

Nazi activist

Eicke's views on the Weimar Republic mirrored those of the Nazi Party, which he joined, along with Ernst Röhm's SA on 1 December 1928. He left the SA in August 1930 for the SS, where he quickly rose in rank after recruiting new members and building up the SS organization in the Bavarian palatinate. In 1931, Eicke was promoted to the rank of SS-Standartenführer (colonel) by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler.

His political activities caught the attention of his employer and in early 1932 he was laid off by IG Farben. At the same time, he was caught preparing bomb attacks on political enemies in Bavaria for which he received a two-year prison sentence in July 1932. However, due to protection received from Franz Gürtner, who would later serve as minister of justice under Adolf Hitler, he was able to flee to Italy on orders from Heinrich Himmler.

Insignia of the 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf

Rise in the SS

In March 1933, less than three months after Hitler's rise to power, Eicke returned to Germany. Eicke had political quarrels with Gauleiter Joseph Bürckel, who had him arrested and detained for several months in a mental asylum. Also during the same month, Himmler set up the first official concentration camp at Dachau. Hitler had stated that he did not want it to be just another prison or detention camp. In June 1933, Himmler obtained the release of Eicke from the asylum and promoted him to an SS-Oberführer. On 26 June 1933, Himmler appointed him commandant of Dachau after complaints and criminal proceedings against former commandant SS-Sturmbannführer Hilmar Wäckerle following the murder of several detainees under the "guise of punishment". Eicke requested a permanent unit and Himmler granted the request; the SS-Wachverbände (Guard Unit) was formed.

Promoted on 30 January 1934 to SS-Brigadeführer (equivalent to Major-general in the Waffen-SS), Eicke as commander of Dachau reorganized the camp. Eicke devised a system that was used as a model for future camps throughout Germany. He established new guarding provisions, which included rigid discipline, total obedience to orders, and tightening disciplinary and punishment regulations for detainees. Uniforms were issued for prisoners and guards alike; the guards' uniforms had a special death's head insignia on their collar. Eicke detested weakness and instructed his men that any SS man with a soft heart should "...retire at once to a monastery". Eicke's anti-semitism and anti-bolshevism as well as his insistence on unconditional obedience towards him, the SS and Hitler made an impression on Himmler. In May 1934, Eicke claimed the title of Concentration Camps Inspector for himself.

In early 1934, Hitler and other Nazi leaders became concerned that Ernst Röhm, chief of the SA, was planning a coup d'état. Hitler decided on 21 June that Röhm and the SA leadership had to be eliminated. The purge of the SA leadership and other enemies of the state began on 30 June in an action which became known as the Night of the Long Knives. Eicke along with hand-chosen members of the Dachau concentration camp guards assisted Sepp Dietrich's Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler to arrest and imprison SA commanders. After Röhm was arrested, Hitler gave him the choice to commit suicide or be shot. When Röhm refused to kill himself, he was shot dead by Eicke (together with his adjutant, Michael Lippert) on 1 July 1934. Shortly thereafter, Himmler officially named Eicke chief of the Inspektion der Konzentrationslager (Concentration Camps Inspectorate or CCI) and promoted him to the rank of SS-Gruppenführer in command of the SS-Wachverbände. As a result of the Night of the Long Knives, the remaining SA-run camps were taken over by the SS.

In his role as the Concentration Camps Inspector, Eicke began a large reorganisation of the camps in 1935. The smaller camps were dismantled. Dachau concentration camp remained, then Sachsenhausen concentration camp opened in summer 1936, Buchenwald in summer 1937 and Ravensbrück (near Lichtenburg) in May 1939. There were other new camps in Austria, such as Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, opened in 1938. All SS camps' regulations, both for guards and prisoners, followed the Dachau camp model.

Further, in 1935, Dachau became the training center for the concentration camps service. On 29 March 1936, the concentration camp guards and administration units were officially designated as the SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV). Eicke's reorganizations and the introduction of forced labour made the camps one of the SS's most powerful tools; this earned him the enmity of Reinhard Heydrich, who had already unsuccessfully attempted to take control of the Dachau concentration camp in his position as chief of the SD. Eicke prevailed with support from Himmler.

Totenkopf Division

At the beginning of World War II, the success of the Totenkopf's sister formations the SS-Infanterie-Regiment (mot) Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler and the three Standarten of the SS-Verfügungstruppe led to Hitler approving Himmler's recommendation for the creation of three Waffen-SS divisions in October 1939.

SS-Division Totenkopf was formed from concentration camp guards of the 1st (Oberbayern), 2nd (Brandenburg) and 3rd (Thüringen) Standarten (regiments) of the SS-Totenkopfverbände, and soldiers from the SS-Heimwehr Danzig. Eicke was given command of the division.

After Eicke was reassigned to combat duty, Richard Glücks his deputy, was appointed the new CCI chief by Himmler. Later in early 1942, the CCI became Amt D (Office D) of the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt (SS Main Economic and Administrative Department or SS-WVHA). Richard Glücks was appointed the head of Amt D and answered to Oswald Pohl the chief of the SS-WVHA. Pohl assured Eicke that the command structure he had introduced would not fall to the jurisdiction of the Gestapo and SD. The CCI and later Amt D were subordinate to the SD and Gestapo only in regards to who was admitted to the camps and who was released. However, what happened inside the camps was under the command of Amt D.

The Totenkopf Division went on to become one of the most effective German fighting formations on the Eastern Front, often serving as "Hitler's firemen", rushed to the scene of Soviet breakthroughs. During the course of the war, Eicke and his division became known for brutality and several war crimes, including the murder of 97 British POWs in Le Paradis in 1940, the murder of captured Soviet soldiers and the plundering and pillaging of several Soviet villages. The Totenkopf continued to show ferocity, during the advance in 1941 as well as the summer offensive in 1942, the conquest of Kharkov, the defense of the Demyansk Pocket, the defense of Warsaw, and Budapest in 1945.

Theodor Eicke and SS Division Totenkopf on the Eastern Front in 1941.


Eicke was killed on 26 February 1943, several months after being promoted to SS-Obergruppenführer (equivalent to general in the Waffen-SS). While performing a battlefield reconnaissance during the opening stages of the Third Battle of Kharkov, his Fieseler Fi 156 Storch aircraft was shot down by Soviet troops 1 kilometre southwest of Artelnoje (near Lozovaya). An assault group from the division recovered the bodies of Eicke, the pilot and SS-Hauptsturmführer Friedrich from enemy territory.

Eicke was portrayed in the Axis press as a hero, and soon after his death one of the Totenkopf's infantry regiments received the cuff-title Theodor Eicke. Eicke was originally buried at a German military cemetery near Orelka, Russia. Later, Himmler ordered Eicke's remains disinterred and reburied at the Hegewald German military cemetery in Zhitomir. In 1944, the Germans were pushed back and forced to retreat yet again. Eicke's corpse was left where it had been re-buried.

Personal life

Eicke married Bertha Schwebel on 26 December 1914. They had two children, Irma (born 5 April 1916) and Hermann (born 4 May 1920, killed in action as Leutnant of the Heer on 2 December 1941).

Summary of his military career

Dates of rank
Notable decorations