Karmein Chan

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Karmein Chan
Born (1977-11-05)5 November 1977
Disappeared April 13, 1991 (aged 13)
Cause of death Murder (gunshot)
Body discovered Edgars Creek, Thomastown (9 April 1992)
Nationality Chinese-Australian
Known for Murder victim
Parent(s) Phillis lam
Awards $1,000,000 reward

Karmein Chan was a 13-year-old Australian girl who was abducted from her home at night in the Melbourne suburb of Templestowe on 13 April 1991 and was subsequently murdered.[1]

Karmein was at home babysitting her two younger sisters while both her parents worked at their Chinese restaurant in the nearby suburb of Eltham. Karmein and her sisters were confronted by a man in a balaclava with a knife. He forced Karmein's sisters into a wardrobe before fleeing with Karmein. Before leaving, he spray painted "Pay up Asian Drug Dealer, More and More to Come" on a vehicle in their front yard. Police suspect this was a ruse to distract them from the killer's real motive. Karmein's mother made an emotional plea on television for Karmein's return.

There had been several abductions of girls in Melbourne prior to the abduction of Karmein by an offender known in the media as Mr Cruel. Victoria Police had started scaling down Operation Challenge the day before Karmein's abduction that had been established to investigate two abductions in which the victim was raped and an earlier home invasion also involving rape.[2] Detectives believed that Karmein would be released the same as previous girls abducted.

On 6 May 1991, 23 days after Karmein's abduction, Victoria Police formed the Spectrum Taskforce to investigate Karmein's abduction and to continue Operation Challenge investigations.[3] A reward of $100,000 was offered for information on her abduction.[4]

On 9 April 1992, Karmein's remains were found nearly a year later in a landfill area at Edgars Creek in the suburb of Thomastown. The skull had three bullet holes in the back of the head. The body had probably been there for 12 months.[5] On 31 January 1994, the Spectrum Taskforce was disbanded, despite their best efforts the offender was never brought to justice.[6]

An inquest was held in 1997 with the Coroner finding that she met her death through foul play but it was not possible to identify the person or people responsible.[7]

The case has remained open with cold case detectives regularly reviewing the investigation.[8]

On the 25th anniversary of her abduction the reward was increased from $100,000 to $1,000,000.[9]


  1. ^ Silvester, John (8 April 2006). "'Mr Cruel' filmed his victims, say police". The Age. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Tobin, Bruce (11 April 1993). "Why Mr Cruel has to be caught". The Age. 
  3. ^ Tobin, Bruce (28 January 1993). "Police receive 400 calls on kidnap drawings". The Age. 
  4. ^ "Karmein Chan $100,000 award announced 1991". Victoria Police News. Victoria Police Media Unit. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "Mr Cruel executed Karmein – police". The Age. 11 April 1992. 
  6. ^ Moor, Keith (2 April 2001). "A cruel time on manhunt". Herald Sun. 
  7. ^ Button, Victoria (12 September 1997). "Police keep file open on Karmein". The Age. 
  8. ^ "New clues in police hunt for 'Mr Cruel'". Sydney Morning Herald. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "$1 million reward announced Karmein Chan". Victoria Police News. Victoria Police Media Unit. 13 April 2016.