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BERBICE Dental Surgeon, Neville Fung-A-Fat, 77, was murdered by bandits who pretended to be patients requiring dental care shortly after he opened his clinic at 18 Main and Kent Streets, New Amsterdam yesterday morning.
The grim discovery was made at 09:33 hrs by Fung-A-Fat's housekeeper, Mrs. Kamilla Ramnarine.
According to Ramnarine, she was on the upper flat of the two-storey building when she was alerted by a knocking on the entrance door to the residence which is located on the lower flat.
"I went downstairs to open the door and I saw a young lady, who requested to purchase chickens. (The Fung-A-Fats operate a chicken farm on the Corentyne). I went to alert the doctor, who was at the time in his surgery."
The woman recalled knocking on the inner door dividing the surgery and the garage, but got no response.
"I opened the door and saw the doctor lying on the floor in a pool of blood, with his hands tied behind his back, his feet were also tied, while his mouth was gagged", she said.
Ramnarine said she raised an alarm, alerting Mrs. Pat Fung-A-Fat, who was shocked at the discovery and was too distraught to speak to the Chronicle.
It was reported that Mrs. Fung-A-Fat had heard a scuffle and subsequent scream coming from the dental clinic, but she presumed it was a customer undergoing tooth extraction.
It is believed that the knocking by the customer, who visited to purchase chickens, distracted robbery attempts by the killers who washed their hands in a nearby receptacle before escaping through a window. One eyewitness reported seeing two men wearing Rastafarian wigs jumping through a window of the dentist's office.
Another recalled observing a strange looking man, also with Rastafarian wig, coming out of Fung-A-Fat's office around 13:30 hrs on Wednesday.
President of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association, Mr. Ramesh Maraj, who shared a close relationship with the Fung-A-Fats for more than 40 years, said the attack on the dentist was senseless and noted it was sad as the crime was committed by killers who posed as customers.
"Where are we going? People have lost value for other lives," he stated.
Maraj said that Dr. Fung-A-Fat, along with the late President Dr. Cheddi Jagan, was a graduate of Howard University, USA and had served the New Amsterdam community for 54 years.
Meanwhile, residents of the township expressed shock at the early morning slaying and called for a speedy investigation into the incident.
Scores of persons rushed to the residence of the Fung-A-Fats, causing a build up of traffic on the main thoroughfare.
The Police who responded to a call made by neighbouring businessman, Mr. Mohammed Ally, were armed and well prepared for any possible confrontation.
Although ranks from the Criminal Investigations Department had concluded their internal investigations at about 11:20 hrs, members of the media were disallowed from entering the premises on the request of the widow.
Nevertheless, residents were very vocal on the current trend of crime in the country and one recalled noticing a white Toyota Carina without number plates in the area.
According to the woman, the four occupants were unfamiliar and requested to be directed to Sandvoort, a West Canje Village.
Other reports revealed that strange men were seen in the township at various liquor restaurants.
Citizens feel the Police should investigate the reports thoroughly as the men seen are believed linked to the five notorious bandits who escaped the Camp Street, Georgetown Jail on February 23, last.
But Assistant Commissioner (Administration), Mr. Michael Somersall, who is Commander (acting) for B Division, denied reports that unfamiliar persons were seen in the township.
"It is strange that strange persons were seen in the township, yet no one came forward and made a report. We have no such report", he said.
Somersall, who has been at the Berbice location since Monday, stated that the Police will be continuing their investigations to ascertain the motive of the killing.
Dr. Fung-A-Fat and his wife lived alone at their Kent Street residence and he would have turned 78 on September 7.