Solicitor Ho Ledinh was shot dead outside the Happy Cup Cafe in Bankstown. Source: Facebook
Solicitor Ho Ledinh was shot dead outside the Happy Cup Cafe in Bankstown. Source: Facebook

Final texts of murdered lawyer

IN HIS final hours alive, shooting victim Ho Ledinh texted a close friend about how he could obtain a controversial product banned in several countries.

Mr Ledinh sent a series of text messages to Van Nguyen yesterday asking where to get bear bile from. The product is used in traditional Asian medicine and is said to cure conditions like liver and digestive problems - but it is banned in many countries including Australia because the way it is extracted is considered barbaric.

Mr Ledinh was shot four times as he sat at the Happy Cup Cafe in Bankstown City Plaza, in Sydney's west at 3.40pm on Tuesday. He died in a pool of blood despite frantic attempts from bystanders and paramedics to save him.

"Hey mate, how you been? I've been well," Mr Ledinh wrote, before adding he was about to make a "random" request.

Ho Ledinh was shot four times.
Ho Ledinh was shot four times.

He asked Mr Nguyen if he knew where a friend got bear bile from and if he could have the source's number. "I'm at the cafe now, having coffee," he told his friend.

Soon after the texts were sent a gunman walked up to the 65-year-old and executed him in broad daylight.

A devastated Mr Nguyen told news.com.au his friend of 25 years - "we're like brothers" - was tough because of the emotional toll it took.

The suspected shooter is seen in bright green on CCTV footage.
The suspected shooter is seen in bright green on CCTV footage.

"His job was horrible because he make some people happy and some not happy. Good money but, you know," he said.

He called Mr Ledinh "a good man, perfect" who had struggled with a heart condition in recent times.

"One of his daughters [the adult one] is a lawyer too," Mr Nguyen said. "He was married ... his first marriage had children ... but they divorced. And he married second one and had more children."

Van Nguyen had been a friend of Mr Ledinh for 25 years. Picture: David Swift.
Van Nguyen had been a friend of Mr Ledinh for 25 years. Picture: David Swift.

An emotional Mr Nguyen showed news.com.au pictures of Mr Ledinh's family.

"Look at his children, they are beautiful."

He couldn't think why anyone would want to harm him.

"Someone's not happy, not happy - how can you make every [one] happy? I don't know [why he was killed]," Mr Nguyen said.

Police today warned the gunman to come forward before he was hunted down.

"Hand yourself in," detective Superintendent Scott Cook said. "If you don't hand yourself in we are coming for you. We are going to hunt you down."

Police at the scene of the shooting, paid particular interest in the bins and water bottles. Picture: John Grainger
Police at the scene of the shooting, paid particular interest in the bins and water bottles. Picture: John Grainger

Police would not confirm whether the shooter used a getaway vehicle and encouraged witnesses to come forward with all information - but warned the man should not be approached.

"The man responsible for the shooting is still at large, armed with a weapon," Supt Cook said.

Officers were today seen emptying bins in Bankstown Plaza in search of the water bottle the gunman drank from minutes before the shooting.

Bins near the scene were emptied of every plastic water bottle with the hope the shooter left behind fingerprints or DNA.

 

megan.palin@news.com.au

 

andrew.koubaridis@news.com.au

A trail of blood is left at the cafe where Mr Ledinh was killed. Picture: John Grainger
A trail of blood is left at the cafe where Mr Ledinh was killed. Picture: John Grainger
Ho Ledinh, his wife and their three children.
Ho Ledinh, his wife and their three children.

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