Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Thursday, July 4, 2013


            On this date, 4 July 1991, Chinese Australian cardiac surgeon and a pioneer of modern heart transplantation, Dr. Victor Chang was murdered by two Malaysian men. We will post information about him from Wikipedia and some news sources before giving our comments and condolences.

Victor Peter Chang, AC (born Chang Yam Him; 21 November 1936 – 4 July 1991), was a Chinese Australian cardiac surgeon and a pioneer of modern heart transplantation. Born in Shanghai to Australian-born Chinese parents, he grew up in Hong Kong before moving to Australia. After completing his medical studies at the University of Sydney and working in St Vincent's Hospital, he trained in England and the United States as a surgeon before returning to Australia. In St Vincent's Hospital, he helped establish the National Cardiac Transplant Unit, the country's leading centre for heart and lung transplants. Chang's team had a high success rate in performing heart transplantations and he pioneered the development of an artificial heart valve.

In 1986, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for his "service to international relations between Australia and China and to medical science". In 1991, Chang died after being shot in a failed extortion attempt against him. His legacy includes the creation of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, being voted Australian of the Century at the People's Choice Awards, and the establishment of the Victor Chang Lowy Packer Building in St Vincent's Hospital.

21 November 1936
Shanghai, China
4 July 1991 (aged 54)
Sydney, Australia
University of Sydney
Years active
Known for
Being a pioneer of heart transplantation
Medical career
St Vincent's Hospital
Cardiothoracic surgery
Heart transplantation
Developing an artificial heart valve
Notable prizes
Companion of the Order of Australia

Education and medical training

Chang was born in Shanghai to Australian-born parents. He grew up in Hong Kong where he attended primary school in Kowloon Tong and spent two years in St. Paul's College. He moved to Australia in 1953 where he attended Belmore Boys High School and completed his secondary education at Christian Brothers' High School. In 1960, he graduated as a Bachelor of Medical Science with first class honours at the University of Sydney and with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 1962. With heart surgeon Mark Shanahan as his teacher, Chang worked for two years as an intern in St Vincent's Hospital before Shanahan sent him to England to train with London surgeon Aubrey York Mason.

Chang became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1966 and trained in cardiothoracic surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital. In London, he met and married his wife Ann (née Simmons). He spent two years in the United States at the Mayo Clinic and became chief resident. In 1972, he returned to St Vincent's Hospital, where he was a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon and was appointed Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1973 and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1975.

Surgical career

In St Vincent's Hospital, he worked with surgeons Dr. Harry Windsor (who had performed Australia's first heart transplant in 1968) and Dr. Mark Shanahan. The advent of anti-rejection drugs in 1980 made heart transplants more feasible, and Chang lobbied politicians and businessmen to raise funds to establish a heart transplant program at St. Vincent's. On 8 April 1984, a team of doctors led by Chang operated on 14-year old Fiona Coote who became Australia's youngest heart transplant patient.

Between 1984 and 1990 Dr. Chang's unit performed over 197 heart transplants and 14 heart-lung transplants. The unit had a high rate of success with 90% of those receiving transplants from the unit surviving beyond the first year. In 1986, Victor Chang was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) "In recognition of service to international relations between Australia and China and to medical science".

Concerned about a shortage of organ donors, he arranged financing and assembled a team of scientists and engineers from around the world to develop an artificial heart. That team, working in Singapore, Guangzhou and Sydney, also developed mechanical and tissue heart valves called the St. Vincent's Heart Valves, which were widely implanted throughout Asia. Dr. Chang and his team also made significant progress on the design of an artificial heart. His research projects ended with his death.


On 4 July 1991, Chang was shot twice in the head in a failed extortion attempt. His body was found slumped in the gutter next to his car in Mosman. Two Malaysian men, Chew Seng (Ah Sung) Liew and Choon Tee (Phillip) Lim, ran their car into Chang's vehicle, forcing him to pull over. After Chang refused to give them money and got into an argument with them, Liew fired the fatal shots. He was sentenced to 26 years in prison with a non-parole period of 20 years. Lim received a minimum of 18 years and a maximum of 24 years. Liew pleaded guilty and Lim pleaded not guilty, claiming he did not know Liew had a gun. Another man, Stanley Ng, abandoned an extortion plan a day before the murder. He had unsuccessfully tried detaining Chang twice to force him to give A$3 million. Ng was granted immunity for his evidence. The prosecution alleged the plan had been to abduct Chang, tie him up with his family at his home in Clontarf, and threaten to hang them to coerce Chang into withdrawing money from the bank. In his ruling, Supreme Court Judge John Slattery stated, "It was an absurd, improbable plan, always doomed to failure".

On 26 October 2009, Lim was awarded parole. Following a public outcry and objection by the New South Wales Corrective Services Minister, John Robertson, his release was put on hold, pending another parole hearing. In the New South Wales Supreme Court, that decision was quashed due to the Parole Authority making a procedural error. Lim was freed from Parramatta Correctional Centre on 1 March 2010 into the custody of immigration officers. He was to be deported back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 2 March, but the flight was cancelled for technical reasons. He was flown out of Australia on 3 March.

After serving 21 years in prison, Chiew Seng Liew was granted parole and was deported to Malaysia on 13 October 2012. During Liew's parole hearing, he made a broad apology for the crime he committed and believed that his long term in prison had taken effect. There was a small outcry from NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith however this was retracted and Liew was released from prison on 12 October 2012. 

Life-size bronze statue of Chang outside the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, sculptor Linda Klarfeld.

On 15 February 1994, the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, a body intended to focus on researching "the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart muscle diseases", was launched by Prime Minister Paul Keating with Kerry Packer as its patron. The "Dr Victor Chang Science Labs" in Christian Brothers' High School are named after him. In 1999, Prime Minister John Howard announced Chang as Australian of the Century at the People's Choice Awards after a decision between two Australian larrikins and two lifesavers. Swimmer Dawn Fraser, cricketer Donald Bradman, and ophthalmologist Fred Hollows were other contenders.

In St Vincent's Hospital, the Victor Chang Lowy Packer Building was established in 2008 with A$35 million from the state government and $45 million in corporate and private donations. Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark officially opened the building and declared that Chang "was an original thinker and saw the need for research and the development of heart assist devices and, not least, he is known for his legendary caring for his patients and their families". In Time magazine's "A Golden Anniversary" article, which lists people who have shaped the last "50 Years in the South Pacific" (1959–2009), Chang was listed as the figure of 1979–1989.

Parole for Dr Victor Chang's murderer Chiew Seng Liew


Dr Victor Chang was shot dead during in a failed extortion attempt in Sydney in 1991. Source: Supplied (SOURCE: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/parole-for-dr-victor-changs-murderer-chiew-seng-liew/story-fnat7jnn-1226477586707)
HE shot dead Australia's pre-eminent heart surgeon, now Chiew Seng Liew is to be paroled before Parkinson's disease renders him unable to be deported.

The now 69-year-old, who murdered Victor Chang with two shots on a Mosman street in 1991, showed little emotion yesterday as he learnt he will return to Malaysia within three weeks, after the State Parole Authority granted his release.

He will have served just over 21 years of a 26-year prison sentence.

Liew fired the fatal shots amid a failed extortion attempt after he and co-offender Phillip Choon Tee Lim, who was paroled in 2010, deliberately ran into Dr Chang's car.

Chiew Seng Liew was convicted of the 1991 murder of Dr Victor Chang. (SOURCE:
The parole authority said while "the whole of Australia and beyond mourned the loss" of Dr Chang, his family "would have been distraught with grief at their personal loss".

Dr Chang's family, who weren't present for the decision, had urged against Liew's release.

"(Liew) offered no clemency to Dr Chang when he pulled the trigger, twice, and yet now seeks clemency," their letter to the court said.

"(Liew's) conduct in custody is nothing but an insult to the Chang family and his impending release does nothing to enhance their feelings."

The parole hearing was told Liew had made "broad" apologies for the murder - to which he pleaded guilty - and believed his long prison term was "karma taking effect".

His lawyer Will Hutchins said that to keep Liew in jail was to play "Russian roulette", as the worsening of his "degenerative and incurable" disease could soon result in him being "medically unfit" to return to Malaysia.

Paul Menzies QC, acting for Attorney-General Greg Smith, argued against Liew's release, saying "the damage" his crime caused meant it "was in the public interest for him to continue to (be imprisoned)".

But the authority said it was "appropriate" and in the public interest for Liew to leave jail.

Mr Smith indicated yesterday he would consider an appeal.

The authority ordered Liew's release between October 3 and 10, when he would be transferred to immigration officials for immediate deportation.

Chang killer arrives back in Malaysia

  • From: AAP
  • October 13, 2012 10:16AM
THE man who murdered world-renowned heart surgeon Victor Chang has arrived in his native Malaysia after being released from a Sydney jail. 

Chiew Seng Liew, who gunned down Dr Chang in the northern Sydney suburb of Mosman in 1991 in a bungled attempt at kidnapping for ransom, was driven out of the Long Bay Correctional Centre on Friday night, accompanied by Department of Immigration officers.

Hours earlier, NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith had said that the government would not launch a further appeal against Liew's release.

Footage broadcast on the Seven network on Saturday showed 69-year-old Liew arriving at an airport in Malaysia, wearing a dark hooded top that covered his head.

He has served 21 years of a 26-year sentence and was granted parole last month. As an inmate, he held a bridging visa which expired as soon as he left custody, triggering his deportation.

He suffers from Parkinson's disease, the early onset of dementia and a host of physical ailments.

Liew has three adult children and will live with his wife and two sons. He is now free to attend his daughter's wedding on October 20.

Dr Chang's son has said through their advocate that Liew's release has devastated his family.

Liew and his co-offender Phillip Choon Tee Lim were sentenced to maximum terms of 26 years and 24 years, respectively, for the murder.

One of the pair dropped his wallet in the street where the shooting took place.

Liew had been in Australia just 14 months before committing the crime and learned about Dr Chang from a newspaper.

The co-accused Lim was granted parole after serving his minimum 18-year sentence, which expired in November 2009.

Victor Chang's family blasts 'sorry' killer Chiew Seng Liew

HIS parole has left a family deep in grief and a nation outraged - now Chiew Seng Liew, the killer of heart surgeon Victor Chang, has used his first hours of freedom to seek forgiveness. 

But the respected doctor's family have spurned his plea, describing it as hollow.

"He had 21 years to make an apology. He refused to do so," Victims of Crime Assistance League spokesman Howard Brown said on behalf of the Changs. "He's only sorry he has lost 21 years of his life."

Smiling at times as he walked through Kuala Lumpur Airport, Liew, 69, was yesterday far removed from the family's misery as he was welcomed in-to the arms of his son Andrew after the NSW Supreme Court approved his release and deportation to Malaysia, his country of birth.

His hands trembling with Parkinson's disease, Liew told Channel Seven he wanted Dr Chang's family to know he was remorseful. "I want to apologise to the family," Liew told Channel Seven. "I tell them I'm very sorry, I'm very sorry. I hope you forgive me, the family. Please."

Chiew Seng Liew in 1991.
The Chang family were devastated by the decision to release Liew after he served 21 years of a 26-year sentence, believing he should have been jailed for life.

Liew's parole was opposed by the NSW Government, but on Thursday the NSW Supreme Court decreed he should be set free and deported to Malaysia.

Liew, who gunned down Dr Chang in the northern Sydney suburb of Mosman in 1991 in a botched kidnap attempt, claimed he was "changed" and said he could understand the family's grief.

"His wife, his children, the whole family suffer, too. Now I changed. I understand already. I do everything wrong."

He also claimed he could empathise with their suffering and - controversially - he forgave them, too.

"I forgave them because I also suffer," Liew said. "My family suffer, too. Every day I (am) thinking about my problem. Now I get sick already (with) Parkinson's disease."

Daughter Kwei Fei Liew, who hopes her father can walk her down the aisle when she marries on Saturday, begged the public to give him "one more chance".

"This is a very, very wrong thing," Ms Liew told Channel 7.

"These things make us feel guilty for the past 21 years.

"We understand also the Victor Chang family can't also accept these things because we lost our father for the past 21 years and they also lost their father. Give my father one more chance.
"My father will definitely not do this thing any more."

But speaking on behalf of the Chang family, Mr Brown said Liew's actions could never be forgiven. "He had 21 years to make an apology," he said.

"He refused to do so. Apologies are very hollow when they are only spoken and not followed up by action.

"He had 21 years to do the things necessary to prove he was truly remorseful. He has done none of those things, such as participating in rehabilitation programs treating his offending behaviour. As far as the family is concerned, he's only sorry he has lost 21 years of his life. The Chang family lost their husband and father for the rest of their lives."

Dr Chang, a much-loved cardiovascular surgeon, was shot twice in the head on July 4, 1991.

Liew and his co-offender Phillip Choon Tee Lim, who was released on parole and deported to Malaysia in 2010 after spending 18 years in jail, deliberately ran their car into Dr Chang's, forcing him to pull over.

After the surgeon refused to give them money, Liew fired the fatal shots and left the surgeon slumped in a gutter.

Liew was handed a 26-year sentence, but the State Parole Authority granted his release one year after his 20-year non-parole period had ended.

NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith appealed that decision in the Supreme Court but failed.

                First of all, We, the VFFDP, will give our sincere condolences and our heartfelt empathy and sympathy to the Dr. Chang’s family for their lost. As there is no death penalty in Australia, we wished there was at least, Marsy’s Law. It was such an injustice that the two killers of Dr. Victor Chang were paroled and allowed to return to the families of theirs.  

            Nevertheless, we will not forget Victor Chang for being a cardiac surgeon and a pioneer of modern heart transplantation. We wish the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute all the best in their work. 

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