Brunei police are probing the death of a Malaysian woman found encased in a block of cement in her friend’s garden, in the latest violent death to shock the sultanate.
Voon Su Ching, 39, was reported missing by her husband on Feb. 13 after she did not return home from an errand to buy their son’s birthday cake.
Police found her body five days later at the home of a friend, who had asked her to check on the property while she went traveling over the Lunar New Year holiday.
Royal Brunei Police Force spokesman Pengiran Abdul Salam Ghani said an autopsy had been completed and police were awaiting the postmortem examination report to establish the cause of death.
Abdul Salam denied reports in the Malaysian media that a suspect had been detained. He declined to comment further on the investigation.
Voon, who hails from Malaysia’s Sarawak state on Borneo island, which borders Brunei, ran a car wash business in the sultanate and lived with her husband and son.
The discovery of her body on Monday caused a stir among locals as sniffer dogs and police vans arrived, with photographs of the scene going viral on social media.
The bungalow where the body was found is still being examined by police.
Malaysian newspaper The Star reported that Voon’s body had been found after the owner discovered a 3m high block of cement in her garden, with a stench coming from it.
Violent crime is unusual in Brunei, an oil-rich sultanate on the north coast of Borneo, with a population of just under 400,000 people.
However, a recent series of alarming deaths have unsettled the tight-knit community.
These include the brutal stabbing of a 62-year-old man, the murder of an Indonesian hardware store worker and the killing of a two-year-old girl who was punched and kicked to death by her mother’s boyfriend.