A 67-year-old woman whose body was found decapitated in southwest England may have been killed because she was Asian, according to a campaign group.
What happened: Mee Kuen Chong was last seen in the Wembley area of London on June 10 and was reported missing the next day. She was found headless in the woods near Bennett Road in Salcombe, Devon County on June 27, according to the BBC.
Authorities said her body may have been where it was found for days. They would like to hear from anyone who may have seen her at the time she was missing, including from any hotel or bed and breakfast accommodation she may have stayed in.
“A number of inquiries will be carried out in Salcombe over the coming days, and it is likely that the local community will continue to see a high level of police activity,” Devon and Cornwall police said in a statement. “Police would like to reassure the public that while this discovery may cause some concerns in the community, the heightened police presence is to investigate all of the circumstances.”
Chong was also known as Deborah. She was originally from Malaysia and had been living in London since 2004.
What a campaign group is saying: Hau-Yu Tam, who chairs End the Virus of Racism, a campaign group supporting East and Southeast Asians, fought to publicize Chong’s disappearance. She believes her death may have been racially motivated and plans to contact the police about it.
“It's very hard to say at this stage but we definitely think it could have been a racially motivated matter. There is a lot of soft-pedalling around race hate crimes,” Tam told DevonLive. “It's only in the last year and a half that racism against the East and Southeast Asian community has risen into the public consciousness. If this is racially-aggravated, why tip-toe around that fact?”
Tam criticized the lack of rallying around when Chong disappeared and compared it to the massive publicity that transpired when Sarah Everard -- a young white woman -- went missing. “Because she was an older Asian woman, there didn't seem to be any interest at all,” Tam said.
Anyone with information on the incident is urged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101, quoting reference number 0700 of Sunday, June 27.
Featured Images via Devon and Cornwall Police (left) and Brent Metropolitan Police Service (right)
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