13 episodes

Synopsis: In this special series, The Straits Times dives into some of the greatest unsolved mysteries in South-east Asia, and examines the underlying issues that they exposed.

Podcasters: Tan Jia Ning, Magdalene Fung and ST Foreign desk

Produced by podcast editor Ernest Luis & producer Teo Tong Kai, The Straits Times, SPH Media Trust. 

The Unsolved Mysteries of South East Asia The Straits Times

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    • 4.0 • 1 Rating

Synopsis: In this special series, The Straits Times dives into some of the greatest unsolved mysteries in South-east Asia, and examines the underlying issues that they exposed.

Podcasters: Tan Jia Ning, Magdalene Fung and ST Foreign desk

Produced by podcast editor Ernest Luis & producer Teo Tong Kai, The Straits Times, SPH Media Trust. 

    Hear our podcasts direct on The Straits Times' app

    Hear our podcasts direct on The Straits Times' app

    Each follow on the audio apps below and a rating really helps us! Happy listening!

    Synopsis: A brand new feature is within The Straits Times app, which you can download from the Apple app store or the Google Play store. For those of you who already have it, the latest version update now has a dedicated Podcast Section, where you can listen to our latest incoming show episodes and check out back episodes too.

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    Produced & edited by: Ernest Luis & Teo Tong Kai

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    Discover ST Podcasts: http://str.sg/stpodcasts

    ---

    Special edition series:

    True Crimes Of Asia (6 eps): https://str.sg/i44T

    The Unsolved Mysteries of South-east Asia (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuZ2

    Invisible Asia (9 eps): https://str.sg/wuZn

    Stop Scams (10 eps): https://str.sg/wuZB

    Singapore's War On Covid (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuJa

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    • 2 min
    Japan: Killer prowled Twitter for the suicidal

    Japan: Killer prowled Twitter for the suicidal

    Journey into the darkest corners of the internet, where a deadly connection was forged in 140 characters or less.

    Synopsis (headphones recommended): A special edition 6-part series by The Straits Times in Singapore, exploring recent real crimes that gripped, horrified and laid bare the issues that afflicted societies in Asia. This is the sixth and final episode of True Crimes Of Asia, a special edition podcast series that started on April 25, 2023.

    Warning: This podcast is an audio documentary of a real crime case which may be troubling and upsetting to certain listeners. This episode specifically covers themes of suicide and details of death and traumatic sexual acts. Listener discretion is advised, and helplines for mental well-being are provided further below.

    Nine heads and 240 bones were found in a tiny apartment just outside Tokyo on Halloween in 2017, in one of Japan's most shocking crimes in history.

    Takahiro Shiraishi baited suicidal victims on Twitter who wanted to die but lacked the courage to end their own lives.

    He posed as an expert in hanging but his real motives were sex and money.

    Shiraishi has been sentenced to death – by hanging – and is now in a maximum-security prison. The case had sparked conversations about social media scrutiny and suicide in Japan.

    ST's Japan correspondent Walter Sim narrates this podcast.

    Highlights (click/tap above):

    1:16 Shiraishi's motives and modus operandi

    5:47 What led Shiraishi down this path

    9:28 Shiraishi meets his first victim

    16:43 Justice catches up with Shiraishi 

    22:19 Social implications of Shiraishi's crimes, and how not much has changed since then

    Interviews & narration by: Walter Sim

    Executive Producers: Ernest Luis (ernest@sph.com.sg) and Tan Tam Mei (tammei@sph.com.sg)

    Podcast Producers: Eden Soh and Fa’izah Sani

    Voiceovers: Paxton Pang, Li Yi, Aqil Hamzah, Hadyu Rahim, David Sun, Edeh Soh, Mubin Saadat

    Reference for research: “Report: Nine Murders in Zama - Why were victims drawn to it?” by Tetsuya Shibui (『ルポ 座間9人殺害事件~被害者はなぜ引き寄せられたのか~』)

    MENTAL WELL-BEING


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    Follow ST’s True Crimes Of Asia every 4th Tuesday of the month here:Channel: https://str.sg/i44TApple Podcasts: https://str.sg/i44qSpotify: https://str.sg/i44cSPH Awedio app: https://www.awedio.sg/Website: http://str.sg/stpodcastsFeedback to: podcast@sph.com.sg

    Read Walter Sim's articles: https://str.sg/ws6J 

    ---

    Discover more ST podcast channels:

    COE Watch: https://str.sg/iTtEIn Your Opinion: https://str.sg/w7QtAsian Insider: https://str.sg/JWa7Health Check: https://str.sg/JWaNGreen Pulse: https://str.sg/JWafYour Money & Career: https://str.sg/wB2mST Sports Talk: https://str.sg/JWRE#PopVultures: https://str.sg/JWadMusic Lab: https://str.sg/w9TXDiscover ST Podcasts: http://str.sg/stpodcasts---Special edition series:True Crimes Of Asia (new): https://str.sg/i44TThe Unsolved Mysteries of South-east Asia (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuZ2Invisible Asia (9 eps): https://str.sg/wuZnStop Scams (10 eps): https://str.sg/wuZBSingapore’s War On Covid (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuJa---Follow our shows then, if you like short, practical podcasts!

    #truecrimes
    See omnystudio.com/listen

    • 29 min
    Taiwan: Deadly stabbing spree on metro shocks island of 23 million

    Taiwan: Deadly stabbing spree on metro shocks island of 23 million

    Even the perpetrator's own parents asked for their son to be put to death.

    Synopsis (headphones recommended): A special edition 6-part series by The Straits Times in Singapore, exploring recent real crimes that gripped, horrified and laid bare the issues that afflicted societies in Asia. Episodes drop every fourth Tuesday of the month from April 25, 2023.

    Warning: This podcast is an audio documentary of a real crime case which may be troubling and upsetting to certain listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

    A random stabbing spree in a Taipei metro in 2014 resulted in four dead and 24 injured. There was no apparent motive for the shocking killing, and the assailant Cheng Chieh displayed no remorse.

    Cheng’s childhood, which was fraught with isolation, his public threats against classmates and plans to kill detailed on his blog, also ignited debate about troubled youth and gaps in mental health care. This case also restarted conversations about capital punishment in Taiwan.

    ST’s Taiwan correspondent Yip Wai Yee interviews and narrates this podcast.

    Highlights (click/tap above):

    4:49 Cheng's mental state the subject of intense legal dispute

    6:28 How Cheng planned his stabbing spree

    11:23 He would not have spared anyone, even if his parents had been on board the metro train

    14:40 Cheng executed on May 10, 2016; political motivations behind the extraordinary speediness of his execution?

    21:51 Why Taiwanese often choose to ignore social problems; health ministry establishes new department dedicated to mental health programmes in May 2022

    Interviews & narration by: Yip Wai Yee

    Executive Producers: Ernest Luis (ernest@sph.com.sg) and Tan Tam Mei (tammei@sph.com.sg)

    Podcast Producers: Eden Soh & Fa'izah Sani

    Voiceovers: Fa'izah Sani, Eden Soh, Ang Qing, Samuel Devaraj, Jeremy Au Yong, Jean Iau, Teo Tong Kai, Lee Hup Kheng, Clara Chong, Lee Su Shyan

    Follow ST’s True Crimes Of Asia every 4th Tuesday of the month here:Channel: https://str.sg/i44TApple Podcasts: https://str.sg/i44qSpotify: https://str.sg/i44cSPH Awedio app: https://www.awedio.sg/Website: http://str.sg/stpodcastsFeedback to: podcast@sph.com.sgRead Yip Wai Yee's articles: https://str.sg/i5yX

    ---

    Discover more ST podcast channels:

    COE Watch: https://str.sg/iTtEIn Your Opinion: https://str.sg/w7QtAsian Insider: https://str.sg/JWa7Health Check: https://str.sg/JWaNGreen Pulse: https://str.sg/JWafYour Money & Career: https://str.sg/wB2mST Sports Talk: https://str.sg/JWRE#PopVultures: https://str.sg/JWadMusic Lab: https://str.sg/w9TXDiscover ST Podcasts: http://str.sg/stpodcasts---Special edition series:True Crimes Of Asia (new): https://str.sg/i44TThe Unsolved Mysteries of South-east Asia (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuZ2Invisible Asia (9 eps): https://str.sg/wuZnStop Scams (10 eps): https://str.sg/wuZBSingapore’s War On Covid (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuJa---Follow our shows then, if you like short, practical podcasts!

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    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 29 min
    Indonesia: Masked ‘ninjas’ and mass murders of suspected sorcerers

    Indonesia: Masked ‘ninjas’ and mass murders of suspected sorcerers

    How the gruesome 1998 incidents paved the way for black magic to be criminalised last year in 2022, in the predominantly Muslim country of Indonesia.

    Synopsis (headphones recommended): A special edition 6-part series by The Straits Times in Singapore, exploring recent real crimes that gripped, horrified and laid bare the issues that afflicted societies in Asia. Episodes drop every fourth Tuesday of the month from April 25, 2023.

    Warning: This podcast is an audio documentary of a real crime case which may be troubling and upsetting to certain listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

    Sorcery is against Islamic teachings, but today, many in Indonesia still consult black magic practitioners for advice. In 1998, a series of killings by unknown masked 'ninjas', targeting suspected sorcerers in East Java, launched the community into a period of mass hysteria, violence and retaliation-attacks.

    The killings triggered discussions on the need and ways to regulate sorcery, to prevent similar instances and to stop people from taking the law into their own hands. The legal gap was finally plugged last year in 2022, when laws on sorcery were included in the revised Criminal Code passed by the Parliament.

    The government is also seeking to settle the case, along with 11 other human rights abuses, by non-judicial means.   

    ST’s Indonesia Bureau Chief Arlina Arshad narrates this podcast. The reporting and scripting for this episode was done by ST’s Indonesia Correspondent Linda Yulisman.

    Highlights (click/tap above):

    4:20 Why sorcery has long been part of Indonesia’s life and culture, even among the nation's notable figures

    10:05 From 1998 till 1999, a ferocious wave of hysteria spreads against purported black magic practitioners

    20:15 Larger motives behind attacks? Understanding Banyuwangi region's history and Indonesia’s period of political transition

    28:40 Were attacks likely carried out by trained assassins with links to the military?

    33:35 Why it took decades to criminalise witchcraft and sorcery in Indonesia

    Interviews by: Linda Yulisman (ylinda@sph.com.sg)

    Narrated by: Arlina Arshad (aarlina@sph.com.sg)

    Executive Producers: Ernest Luis (ernest@sph.com.sg) and Tan Tam Mei (tammei@sph.com.sg)

    Podcast Producers: Hadyu Rahim & Fa'izah Sani

    Voiceovers: Hairianto Diman, Deepanraj Ganesan, Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja, Dominic Nathan, Lee Nian Tjoe, Colin Tan, Eddino Abdul Hadi, Ernest Luis, Hadyu Rahim.

    Follow ST’s True Crimes Of Asia every 4th Tuesday of the month here:Channel: https://str.sg/i44TApple Podcasts: https://str.sg/i44qSpotify: https://str.sg/i44cSPH Awedio app: https://www.awedio.sg/Website: http://str.sg/stpodcastsFeedback to: podcast@sph.com.sgRead Linda Yulisman's articles: https://str.sg/iif5

    Read Arlina Arshad's articles: https://str.sg/iifS

    ---

    Discover more ST podcast channels:

    COE Watch: https://str.sg/iTtEIn Your Opinion: https://str.sg/w7QtAsian Insider: https://str.sg/JWa7Health Check: https://str.sg/JWaNGreen Pulse: https://str.sg/JWafYour Money & Career: https://str.sg/wB2mST Sports Talk: https://str.sg/JWRE#PopVultures: https://str.sg/JWadMusic Lab: https://str.sg/w9TXDiscover ST Podcasts: http://str.sg/stpodcasts---Special edition series:True Crimes Of Asia (new): https://str.sg/i44TThe Unsolved Mysteries of South-east Asia (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuZ2Invisible Asia (9 eps): https://str.sg/wuZnStop Scams (10 eps): https://str.sg/wuZBSingapore’s War On Covid (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuJa---Follow our shows then, if you like short, practical podcasts!

    #truecrimes
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 41 min
    Singapore: Employers abuse Myanmar domestic worker to her death

    Singapore: Employers abuse Myanmar domestic worker to her death

    Since Ms Piang Ngaih Don’s death in 2016, a slew of measures have been introduced to stem domestic worker abuse.

    Synopsis (headphones recommended): A special edition 6-part series by The Straits Times in Singapore, exploring recent real crimes that gripped, horrified and laid bare the issues that afflicted societies in Asia. Episodes drop every fourth Tuesday of the month from April 25, 2023.

    Warning: This podcast is an audio documentary of a real crime case which may be troubling and upsetting to certain listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

    In 2016, the abuse and eventual death of a young Myanmar domestic worker led to shock and an outpouring of grief in Singapore.

    Ms Piang Ngaih Don left her hometown in Chin State, Myanmar, to work for Gaiyathiri Murugayan and her then-husband and suspended police officer Kevin Chelvam in 2015.

    The details and extent of her torture, at the hands of Gaiyathiri and her mother Prema S. Naraynasamy, brought about heightened checks and health screenings for domestic workers in Singapore. Yet activists say more can be done.

    ST's Singapore journalist Jean Iau interviews and narrates this podcast.

    Highlights (click/tap above):

    4:23 "Their attitude is like animal attitude", says Mr Tin Maung Win who runs an NGO for migrant workers

    6:35 Verbal abuse turns physical: CCTV footage captures the assaults on Ms Piang Ngaih Don over the last 35 days of her life

    9:05 Chilling events the night before she died; Gaiyathiri and Prema now serving sentences

    15:25 Reactions from Ms Piang Ngaih Don’s family; hundreds take to the streets in Yangon to mourn her

    21:06 Revisiting the scene: A young neighbour recalls hearing shouting from Gaiyathiri's flat and avoiding her

    22:48 In February 2021, then-Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said Singapore "must do better"; Manpower Ministry spells out some measures introduced since 2021

    28:10 Should foreign domestic workers be given option to "live out", regardless of higher costs to employers? Ms Jaya Anil Kumar, senior research and advocacy manager at Human Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) believes so

    Interviews & narration by: Jean Iau (jeaniau@sph.com.sg)

    Executive Producers: Ernest Luis (ernest@sph.com.sg) and Tan Tam Mei (tammei@sph.com.sg)

    Podcast Producers: Hadyu Rahim & Fa'izah Sani

    Voiceovers: Leonie Teo, Vimalaraj Rajaratnam

    Audio clip of Ms Piang Ngaih Don's sister reproduced with permission from Al Jazeera (see full documentary - https://str.sg/iUQz)

    Follow ST’s True Crimes Of Asia every 4th Tuesday of the month here:Channel: https://str.sg/i44TApple Podcasts: https://str.sg/i44qSpotify: https://str.sg/i44cSPH Awedio app: https://www.awedio.sg/Website: http://str.sg/stpodcastsFeedback to: podcast@sph.com.sgRead Jean Iau's articles: https://str.sg/iUAz

    ---

    Discover more ST podcast channels:In Your Opinion: https://str.sg/w7QtAsian Insider: https://str.sg/JWa7Health Check: https://str.sg/JWaNGreen Pulse: https://str.sg/JWafYour Money & Career: https://str.sg/wB2mST Sports Talk: https://str.sg/JWRE#PopVultures: https://str.sg/JWadMusic Lab: https://str.sg/w9TXDiscover ST Podcasts: http://str.sg/stpodcasts---Special edition series:True Crimes Of Asia (new): https://str.sg/i44TThe Unsolved Mysteries of South-east Asia (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuZ2Invisible Asia (9 eps): https://str.sg/wuZnStop Scams (10 eps): https://str.sg/wuZBSingapore’s War On Covid (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuJa---Follow our shows then, if you like short, practical podcasts!

    #truecrimes
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 31 min
    Thailand: Thousands of foetuses hidden in a Bangkok temple

    Thailand: Thousands of foetuses hidden in a Bangkok temple

    This is the 2010 case that became a turning point in Thailand's debate over abortion.  

    Synopsis (headphones recommended): A special edition 6-part series by The Straits Times in Singapore, exploring recent real crimes that gripped, horrified and laid bare the issues that afflicted societies in Asia. Episodes drop every fourth Tuesday of the month from April 25, 2023.

    Warning: This podcast is an audio documentary of a real crime case which may be troubling and upsetting to certain listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

    Be transported back to the events of 2010, when the discovery of thousands of rotting foetuses, hidden in a Bangkok temple - led to more awareness and debate over illegal abortions in Buddhist-majority Thailand.

    The grisly remains at Wat Phai Ngern were traced to a network of clinics. The case uncovered the scale of the illegal abortion industry at a time when the procedure was still largely illegal and heavily stigmatised.

    ST's Thailand correspondent Tan Tam Mei interviews and narrates this podcast.

    Highlights (click/tap above):

    2:03 A dog chews on something in the middle of a Bangkok temple; long-time temple worker Supote Leangbamrong recalls the stench and discovery by authorities in 2010

    5:52 Shockwaves throughout Thailand; abortion hardly discussed and was largely illegal and taboo back then 08:57 Nursing assistant Lanchakorn Janthamanas's underground operation; roping in two temple undertakers to dispose of the bodies

    11:40 Abortion activist Supeecha Baotip on how voices of women were missing in the discussion on abortion, her own story and how much has changed since the crime case17:44 Restrictions against abortion relaxed in 2021, sweeping legal changes in Thailand20:00 Cultural beliefs: Why some doctors don't perform abortions because they are afraid of karma23:09 Expanding availability of legal abortions and to change mindsets; abortion offered as a tele-health service in Thailand

    25:05 Rumours about the souls of the aborted foetuses haunting the temple still linger, even more than a decade later

    Interviews & narration by: Tan Tam Mei (tammei@sph.com.sg)Executive Producers: Ernest Luis (ernest@sph.com.sg) and Tan Tam MeiPodcast Producers: Teo Tong Kai and Fa’izah SaniVoiceovers: Raul Dancel, Shahrena Hassan, Lee Nian Tjoe, Joel ChngFollow ST’s True Crimes Of Asia every 4th Tuesday of the month here:Channel: https://str.sg/i44TApple Podcasts: https://str.sg/i44qSpotify: https://str.sg/i44cSPH Awedio app: https://www.awedio.sg/Website: http://str.sg/stpodcastsFeedback to: podcast@sph.com.sgRead Tan Tam Mei's articles: https://str.sg/iJxJ

    ---

    Discover more ST podcast channels:In Your Opinion: https://str.sg/w7QtAsian Insider: https://str.sg/JWa7Health Check: https://str.sg/JWaNGreen Pulse: https://str.sg/JWafYour Money & Career: https://str.sg/wB2mST Sports Talk: https://str.sg/JWRE#PopVultures: https://str.sg/JWadMusic Lab: https://str.sg/w9TXDiscover ST Podcasts: http://str.sg/stpodcastsDiscover BT Podcasts: https://bt.sg/pcPL---Special edition series:True Crimes Of Asia (new): https://str.sg/i44TThe Unsolved Mysteries of South-east Asia (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuZ2Invisible Asia (9 eps): https://str.sg/wuZnStop Scams (10 eps): https://str.sg/wuZBSingapore’s War On Covid (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuJa---Follow our shows then, if you like short, practical podcasts!

    #truecrimes
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 28 min

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