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Judicial CP - February 2007

Corpun file 18926


Straits Times, Singapore, 23 February 2007

Drunk Thai worker attacked man at friend's bidding

By Chong Chee Kin

DRUNK on rice wine and beer, Phengprom Wanna did not hesitate when a friend asked him to beat up another man, even though he had no idea what the victim was supposed to have done.

The 31-year-old Thai construction worker leapt into the fray with three other countrymen to assault another construction worker, Mr Chaichat Sirichai, on Nov 27 two years ago.

Mr Chaichat, 48, died after being stabbed in his chest during the attack, which took place near a taxi stand in front of the Golden Mile Complex.

Yesterday, Phengprom was jailed for eight years for culpable homicide after he admitted to stabbing Mr Chaichat. He was also given 12 strokes of the cane.

The three accomplices - including Tiyabut Thanakon, who allegedly ordered the attack - are still at large.

Tiyabut, also a construction worker, left Singapore just two days after the attack and has not returned.

Yesterday, the High Court heard how Phengprom had started drinking with Tiyabut at Golden Mile Complex in Beach Road as early as 1pm that day.

By evening, they left the building for a Thai disco at the nearby Golden Mile Tower, where they continued drinking.

They later returned to Golden Mile Complex and joined some friends for another round of drinks.

By the time they were done, Phengprom had consumed more than 10 glasses of rice wine and a jug of beer.

When Tiyabut allegedly asked him to beat up Mr Chaichat, Phengprom readily agreed.

He said he had had no idea why his friend wanted Mr Chaichat attacked.

At about 9.30pm, the pair spotted Mr Chaichat outside Golden Mile Complex near the taxi stand and attacked him.

They were joined soon after by two of Tiyabut's friends.

After failing to hit him with a beer bottle, Phengprom picked up a knife Tiyabut had dropped and plunged it into Mr Chaichat's body. He returned the knife to Tiyabut before fleeing the scene.

Mr Chaichat staggered a few steps before collapsing on the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy report later showed he had bled to death after being stabbed in the heart.

Yesterday, Phengprom pleaded for leniency, saying he had been drunk at the time of the attack.

He told the court that he had stabbed Mr Chaichat in the heat of the moment and bore no grudge against him.

He could have been jailed for life.

Copyright 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 18925


Straits Times, Singapore, 24 February 2007

Sentence cut for waiter who helped boss

Judge halves jail term to 2 years, cuts caning to two strokes

By Chong Chee Kin

A WAITER who took part in a fatal attack on a patron at a karaoke bar where he worked 13 years ago, had his jail term halved on appeal yesterday.

Lim Swee Keong was convicted in July last year for his role in the 1993 death of Mr Chia Hui Nam. He was jailed for five years and ordered to be given six strokes of the cane.

On May 30 1993, Lim heard a commotion in the main hall of Crystal Blue Karaoke Lounge in Balestier Plaza.

Lim, then 23, saw a customer fighting with his employer Tan Tai Seng, so he took an aluminium rod and leapt into the fray to help his boss.

He was joined by Tan's younger brother, 40-year-old Thye Tian, who had a baseball bat. The two men launched a brutal attack on Mr Chia, who died later in hospital from a skull fracture.

Lim returned to his native Malaysia shortly after the attack and remained at large until April last year, when he was picked up during a routine check in Johor Baru and extradited to Singapore.

Yesterday, Lim's lawyers Mr Shashi Nathan and Mr Anand Nalachandran, argued that their client did not deserve a similar punishment to the younger Tan, who had dealt the fatal blow with the baseball bat.

They said there was a 'stark disparity in their respective involvement and a clear distinction in their respective conduct'.

Mr Chia had started the fight and all Lim did was 'to go forward to defuse the situation', they said.

Justice V.K. Rajah agreed, cutting his jail term to 2 years and reducing his caning to two strokes.

Tan Tai Seng was jailed for one year in 1994 for his part in Mr Chia's death. Thye Tian was jailed in the same year for five years and given six strokes of the cane.

Lim could have been jailed for 10 years.

Copyright 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

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