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Singapore mourns 'angel' killed in Mumbai attacks

"You look at her smile, you can see that radiance of her soul", said husband of Lo Hwei Yen who was murdered by the Mumbai attackers. -AFP

Thu, Dec 04, 2008

A vicious tropical rainstorm beat down from darkened skies Thursday as mourners began a funeral mass for Singapore's "angel" murdered by armed militants in India.

The rain continued even as Lo Hwei Yen's white coffin left the church.

Lo, 28, was one of at least 188 people, including 22 foreigners, killed in a shooting and grenade rampage by 10 militants who terrorised Mumbai for 60 hours last week.

The Church of Saint Teresa was packed for the private service, and family friends said hundreds of mourners were expected.

Hundreds more, including cabinet ministers, turned out during the week for her wake.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a letter of condolence that Lo was Singapore's first victim of terrorism.

Her death has jolted the nation, which prides itself on rigorous security measures, and politicians said Lo's death reinforces the need for vigilance.

"She was there at the wrong time," Devendran Puhaindran, the uncle of Lo's husband, Michael Puhaindran, said before the funeral.

"I remember her as a very bubbly girl, always with a smile."

Funeral mourners were urged to wear "fabulous black", a reflection of Lo's stylishness, friends said.

Even the skies obliged, making the early afternoon resemble the dim light of dusk.

Lo's smiling face has been regularly featured in newspaper photographs since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced her death late last week.

"You look at her smile, you can see that radiance of her soul," her husband said in a 15-minute eulogy.

They were married only last year on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, local newspapers have reported.

Reports said Lo, a lawyer, had gone to Mumbai for only one night to deliver a talk about the global credit crunch.

She was taken hostage, along with others, by the militants who stormed the Oberoi/Trident hotel where she was staying.

Jai Sohan, an official from MFA, told reporters earlier that before she died Lo had conveyed a message from the attackers.

"The terrorists demanded that the Indian authorities refrain from storming the Oberoi hotel or else they would harm her," Sohan said.

Her body was found on the 19th floor of the hotel, he said.

"Yen, my angel, my princess, words cannot express how much I miss you," her husband said, choking on his words during the eulogy.

"I love you my baby."