Murder of Dr. Victor Chang, the Heart Surgeon, Man Called “Australian of the Century” – History of Mosman

Source: – Dr-Victor-Chang-murder

On Thursday, July 4, 1991, Dr. Victor Chang left his Clontarf driveway and drove to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst. He was driving a brand-new Mercedes 500SL.

After eating breakfast with his wife, Ann, the pioneer cardiac surgeon was running behind schedule.

She would later tell the Sydney Morning Herald, “We never had breakfast together because he was always up early, had a cup of tea on the run, and was out the door, but on this day he sat and we were talking over a leisurely breakfast.” For us, that was somewhat strange.


The distinguished cardiac surgeon, aged 54, was dressed in a grey suit, blue shirt, blue socks, and slip-on shoes. His gold and blue tie was still undone.

According to Ann Chang, “at 7:30, he said goodbye and, as usual, got in the car and picked up the mobile phone and we continued our conversation.”

Dr Chang most likely saw the beautiful morning sunlight reflecting off Middle Harbour as he swerved through rush hour traffic while driving over the Spit Bridge.

It was a picture-perfect Sydney winter’s morning, despite the severe traffic.

At 7:45 a.m., Dr. Chang was ambling gently upward and through the s-bends towards Mosman, completely unaware of the dilapidated Toyota Corona after him.

Phillip Lim and Chiew Seng Liew, two criminals, were about to carry out one of Australia’s most infamous crimes inside.

Dr. Chang proceeded towards the city, passing the Bridgepoint shopping mall as he made his way through Spit Junction. Lim made his move at the crossroads of Military Road and Bardwell Road, purposefully veering the blue Toyota to strike Chang’s Merc from behind.

After passing Dr. Chang, Lim turned on his left indicator, and the two vehicles entered the southern portion of Lang Street, which was renamed Snell Street in 2010.

This was the moment when the pitiful attempt at extortion by two desperate, incompetent crooks fatally failed.

Dubbed a “amateur desperado” by his defence attorney, Lim had a brilliant scheme to extort $3 million to open a massage parlour or gambling den from a wealthy Asian businessman residing in Australia.

Two months prior, the guys had randomly selected Dr. Chang’s face from a magazine and were planning to either kidnap his family and hold them hostage in their house or stage an ambush on the roadway to demand money.

To carry out the hostage plot, Lim, Liew, and Stanley Ng—a third participant who would later leave the evil plan—went to Dr. Chang’s home on Perrone Ave. in Clontarf eight days before to the murder. However, the men gave up when they noticed another vehicle in the driveway.

Another effort failed the next day as well.

However, on July 4, 1991, at eight in the morning, Philip Lim and Chiew Seng Liew had finally found their man—albeit in broad daylight—and sixteen witnesses to the atrocity.

Liew took the cardiac surgeon by the arm, pulled out a revolver, and confided in Dr. Chang that he was having financial difficulties and needed assistance.

With that, Dr Chang reached into his pocket and asked the men, “How much would you like? How about I write you a cheque?”

David Goff, a resident of Mosman, was really strolling along Lang Street when Victor Chang yelled, “Call the Police, they have guns.”

During his trial, Goff said that he watched the guys and raced towards Military Rd for assistance because he “didn’t want to take my eyes off” of them. Subsequently, he witnessed a man seize Dr. Chang and aim the firearm.

“They shot him, and it was touching his head or very close to it,” Goff stated.

“Dr. Chang kind of fell off his chair. The man shot him in the head once again while bending forward from the waist.

The murderer then pivoted and aimed the pistol at Mr. Goff, who then retreated while begging Liew “not to shoot.”

The most talented cardiac surgeon in the Southern Hemisphere had been shot twice with a .38 calibre bullet.

Detective-Sergeant Dennis O’Toole stated in a news conference a few days later that “Dr. Chang would have woken up and… apart from probably a mark on his cheek, that would have been it” after the first shot “didn’t even break a tooth.”


“Liew didn’t need to shoot the second time. That was the senselessness and callousness of it all.

Chiew Seng Liew, 49, received a minimum 20-year sentence from Supreme Court Judge John Slattery a few days before Christmas in 1992. Liew did not express any emotion during the proceedings. The 33-year-old Phillip Choon Tee Lim winced and bent his head when the minimum 18-year sentence was announced.

According to Justice Slattery, the two had stolen the life of a renowned surgeon who was well-liked and respected all over the world and “deserved the severest of sentences.”

In 2010, after completing eighteen years in jail, Lim was granted release and sent back to Malaysia. In 2012, Chiew Seng Liew, the murderer of Dr. Chang, was granted parole and sent back to Malaysia.


Note: Diana, Princess of Wales, formally launched the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in 1996. More than 250 researchers and personnel call it home today, continuing the legacy of one of the most accomplished surgeons in history.

The Australian people named the cardiac surgeon, researcher, and humanitarian, who was loved by his patients, friends, and family, Australian of the Century in 2000, nine years after his passing.

Anyone can make donations to the Institute through the official website.