SERIAN – A farmer, who won a lottery but wasted his wealth within five years, dug his own grave behind his house before committing suicide.
His charred remains were found by a nephew in the makeshift grave on Thursday.
The 63-year-old farmer, surnamed Koo, was believed to have dug his own grave behind his house at Mile 29 Kuching-Serian road before committing suicide by setting himself on fire sometime in the past week.
Koo's 30-year-old nephew, who declined to be named, said he suspected something was wrong when he spotted the burnt wreckage of his uncle’s motorcycle in front of the house.
He immediately began calling out to his uncle — who had remained single his whole life — and started searching the area surrounding the house when he failed to get any response.
After several minutes of searching, the nephew said he came across a six-foot-deep hole in the ground with what appeared to be charred human bones at the bottom.
Suspecting the remains belonged to Koo, he immediately notified the police.
District police chief DSP Jamali Umi, who confirmed the incident, said police did not suspect any foul play and that the case has been classified as sudden death pending further investigation.
Meanwhile, a probe on the deceased farmer’s life revealed a man whose life apparently revolved around playing the lottery to the point where it was believed to have driven him to take his own life.
An elderly neighbour, surnamed Lau, 74, told reporters that Koo had lived a simple life as a ‘mengkuang’ farmer in a wooden shack on his own land until a fateful day five years ago when he reportedly won RM750,000 in the lottery.
Over the next five years, he built himself a new cement house next to the old one and began living a life of excesses, which included numerous trips to China.
“He stopped working and started to gamble heavily, often spending up to RM1,800 on lottery numbers each draw in the hope of striking again,” said the neighbour.
Last month, he said Koo had told him that he had spent all of his winnings and was now penniless.
Left with no other option, the farmer dismantled his old shack of its zinc roof and other metal parts and sold the items to a salvage yard for RM600.
According to a Borneo Post report, he was then said to have taken one final gamble by spending the money on lottery numbers.
According to Lau, there were rumours that one of the numbers Koo bought actually struck but, as if to emphasise how his luck had changed for the worst, the ‘winning’ number turned out to be from a different gaming operator than the one where he had made his bet.
That incident was thought to have been what finally drove Koo off the edge and led to him setting himself on fire before leaping to the bottom of his self-dug grave.