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Judicial CP - November 2006

Corpun file 18586

Straits Times, Singapore, 7 November 2006

Karaoke death: Extradited waiter jailed

By Chong Chee Kin

A WAITER who fled the country after he helped beat a man to death 13 years ago was yesterday sentenced to jail for his part in the crime.

On May 30, 1993, waiter Lim Swee Keong heard a commotion in the main hall of Crystal Blue Karaoke Lounge.

Lim, then 23, realised a customer was fighting with his employer, Mr Tan Tai Seng, so he took an aluminium rod and leapt into the fray.

He was joined by Mr Tan's younger brother, Thye Tian, who had a baseball bat. The two men launched a brutal attack on the customer, Mr Chia Hui Nam, bludgeoning the unarmed man with the bat and metal rod.

Mr Chia, 27, died later in hospital from a skull fracture.

One year later, lounge owner Tan Tai Seng, 47, was jailed for a year for his part in Mr Chia's death. His 40-year-old brother, Thye Tian, was jailed for five years and caned six strokes.

Lim, however, returned to his native Malaysia shortly after the attack at the Balestier Plaza lounge.

He was put on the police wanted list, but remained at large until April this year, when he was picked up during a routine check in Johor Baru and extradited to Singapore.

Yesterday, Lim, 36, was jailed for five years and given six strokes of the rotan for his role in the attack on Mr Chia.

Lim told the court that he returned to Malaysia only because his work permit was about to expire and not because he wanted to flee and evade arrest.

The fight had started in the lounge after closing time, when Mr Chia threw a glass onto the stage. When the younger Mr Tan approached him, Mr Chia grabbed him by his shirt, sparking a violent scuffle.

The older Mr Tan then took a knife and a wooden pole and hit Mr Chia with it. Lim joined in, swinging his rod at Mr Chia's arms, face and neck.

Mr Chia retreated to the stage in the hall, pursued by the lounge owner and the waiter. The younger Mr Tan followed with a baseball bat and swung it at Mr Chia, who collapsed from the blow.

The fight stopped when Mr Chia's friends carried him out and took him to hospital.

Lim's lawyers had pleaded for leniency, arguing that Mr Chia and his friends had 'behaved in a rowdy and disruptive manner' at the lounge.

Lim had taken the rod as a 'precautionary measure' and joined in the attack in 'the heat of the moment'.

He could have been jailed for up to 10 years.

Copyright 2006 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

blob Follow-up: 24 February 2007 - Sentence cut for waiter who helped boss

Corpun file 18635

Straits Times, Singapore, 22 November 2006

Cellphone row: Man jailed for killing flatmate

By Khushwant Singh

A 23-YEAR-OLD cleaner has been sentenced to 10 years' jail and six strokes of the cane for stabbing a flatmate to death in a dispute over a $100 cellphone.

Gelau Anak Jimbat, from Sabah, pleaded guilty in the High Court to killing 19-year-old Mr Azlizan Mali, a fellow cleaner from Sarawak, on Jan 11 this year.

The court heard that the men lived with five other cleaners from Malaysia, in a four-room flat in Teban Gardens Road. The Singaporean owner lived in one of the bedrooms.

On the morning of Jan 9, one of the flat occupants was getting ready for work when he spotted Gelau picking up something from the folding chair in the living room.

A while later, another flatmate, Mr Marakus Lai Yu, 41, could not find his cellphone and suspicion fell on Gelau.

He vehemently denied taking the phone and became furious that night when his flatmates asked him about the missing phone again.

Two days later, Mr Azlizan accused Gelau of stealing the phone. Gelau shouted back and Mr Azlizan went at him with a knife.

After disarming his attacker, Gelau stabbed him in the chest, piercing the heart. He then chased and stabbed his flatmate again and again as he tried to flee.

Mr Azlizan collapsed and died at the lift landing.

Gelau faced life imprisonment or up to 10 years for culpable homicide but Deputy Public Prosecutor Cheng Howe Ming said considering the circumstances of the case, the prosecution believed the shorter term was adequate.

He said Gelau should have got rid of the knife after disarming Mr Azlizan but instead had stabbed him and chased him, knifing him another four times.

Gelau's lawyer Amolat Singh said he is very remorseful. 'He told me he intends to do penance every day for taking a life so unnecessarily,' Mr Singh added.

Copyright 2006 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 18680

The Irrawaddy, Thailand, 27 November 2006

Illegal Burmese Immigrants to Face the Cane in Singapore

By Clive Parker

A Singaporean court on Monday sentenced five Burmese to four strokes of the cane each and four weeks in prison for illegal entry after trying to swim to the city state at the weekend.

Ah Myint, Tun Lin Zaw, Maung Mon, Kyaw Thu and Min Thu, all males aged between 17 and 26 years old, pleaded guilty to the charge at the Subordinate Courts of Singapore, a court spokesperson told The Irrawaddy.

The case of a sixth Burmese, Thet Soe, was adjourned until December 11 after the defendant chose not to post bail, which was set at 20,000 Singaporean dollars (US $12,910).

The Singaporean Police Coast Guard detected three of the group attempting to swim to shore near the Admiralty Road West area of Singapore shortly after 10 o'clock local time on Saturday evening, a police statement said. Four hours later, the second group of three was spotted trying to enter at Kranji, near the causeway that joins Singapore to Malaysia. 

The Burmese embassy in Singapore on Monday said it knew nothing of the case. A spokesperson said that in the past, Burmese caught attempting to enter Singapore illegally had been deported back to Burma, or the country from which they came, following punishment.

Singaporean authorities have arrested 204 people trying to enter the country illegally this year, including the six Burmese detained at the weekend.

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