As Dr. Chang negotiates his way through Spit Junction, he passes Bridgepoint shopping centre and continues towards the city. At the intersection of Bardwell Rd and Military Rd, Lim makes his move, deliberately swerving the blue Toyota to hit Chang’s Merc from behind.
Lim pulls past Dr. Chang, flicking his left indicator and the two cars pull into the southern side of Lang St (renamed Snell St in 2010).
At this moment, the pathetic extortion effort of two hopeless, bumbling criminals comes tragically unstuck.
An artists illustration of the ambush. Image: Sydney Morning Herald.
Dubbed an “amateur desperado” by his defence counsel, Lim had a grand plan: to extort $3 million from a wealthy Asian businessman living in Australia, so he could set up a gambling den or massage parlour.
The men had picked Dr. Chang’s face at random from a magazine two months earlier, plotting to either hold his family captive in their home, or demand money in a roadside ambush.
The crime scene on the southern side of Lang St (now Snell St), July 4, 1991.
Eight days before the murder, Lim, Liew and Stanley Ng (a third accomplice who would eventually pull out of the sinister scheme) went to Dr. Chang’s residence on Perrone Ave, Clontarf, to carry out the hostage plan. But the men abandoned it when they saw another car in the driveway.
The next day, a second attempt also failed.
But at 8am on July 4, 1991, Phillip Lim and Chiew Seng Liew finally had their man, albeit in broad daylight – and with 16 witnesses who would watch the horror unfold.
The amateur killers had picked Dr. Chang’s face at random from a magazine two months earlier.
Liew grabbed the heart surgeon by the arm, revealed a pistol and told Dr. Chang he had money problems and needed help.
Dr. Chang then pulled out his wallet, saying to the men: “How much do you want, how about I write you a cheque?”.
As it happened, Mosman resident David Goff was walking down Lang St when Victor Chang cried out, “call the Police, they’ve got guns.”
Detectives photographed at the Mosman crime scene on July 4, 1991.
Giving evidence in the trial, Goff told the court he ran towards Military Rd for help while still watching the men because “it wasn’t something I wanted to take my eyes off”. He then saw one of the men grab Dr. Chang – and point the gun.
“It was touching his head or very close to it,” Goff said, “and they shot him.”
“He (Dr. Chang) kind of toppled around … the guy bent forward from the waist and shot him again in the head.”
Two .38 calibre bullets were fired into the most gifted heart surgeon in the Southern Hemisphere.