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Judicial CP - January 2001
The New Paper, Singapore, 10 January 2001
He went fishing ... for valuables
By Jason Tan
The Straits Times, Singapore, 30 January 2001
Jailed for stabbing man to death
A man who escaped to Thailand after stabbing a man in Beach Road eight years ago is sentenced to 10 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane
By Elena Chong
AN ODD-JOB labourer fled to Johor and then flew to Bangkok after he stabbed a man to death in Beach Road eight years ago.
Lai Kah Seng, 39, was arrested when he tried to enter Singapore with a forged passport in August last year.
Yesterday, Judicial Commissioner Choo Han Teck sentenced him to 10 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane for manslaughter and using a forged passport.
Lai pleaded guilty to causing the death of Mr Lew Ngiau Lon, 32, by culpable homicide not amounting to murder, at Block 6, Beach Road, on Jan 4, 1993.He also admitted the passport offence.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaswant Singh said Mr Lew had been to a wedding dinner with some colleagues at City Plaza on the night before he was killed.
He later went to a karaoke lounge, then drank four bottles of beer with a colleague at a furniture shop in Block 7, North Bridge Road, near his home.
Two hours later, as Mr Lew was walking towards his block, Lai, a complete stranger, told him to be careful as there were policemen around.
Mr Lew placed his arm on Lai and told him not to frighten him with the word 'police'. The two had an argument.
The DPP said Lai became angry as he had merely wanted to alert the intoxicated Mr Lew about police presence.
Lai went and retrieved a knife from his letterbox at Block 8, North Bridge Road, nearby, and confronted Mr Lew, who was waiting for the lift at Block 6, Beach Road.
It was about 2.30 am.
A resident saw the two facing each other and heard the victim say 'don't stab me' twice in Hokkien.
The witness also heard Lai swear and saw his hand move in a stabbing motion.
A few days after the fatal stabbing, Lai took a taxi to Johor, then boarded a flight to Bangkok where he stayed illegally for seven years.
He was arrested when he flew home with a forged passport he bought for $500.
Defence counsel Peter Low said in mitigation that his client was angry with the deceased because his well-meaning caution was met with insolence, assault and a direct and open challenge to his courage.
Mr Lew had claimed he was the headman of a secret society, counsel said.
He not only punched Lai but also provoked him by challenging to meet him at the next block, said the lawyer.
The court heard Mr Lew's blood-alcohol concentration was 226 mg of ethanol per 100 ml of blood.
Copyright (c) 2001 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
The Straits Times, Singapore, 31 January 2001
Molest in the air
Jail and cane for airplane molester
By Wong Fei Wan
A COMPUTER engineer accused of molesting a woman seated next to him on board a Singapore Airlines flight was yesterday ordered to be given three strokes of the cane, on top of a year's jail sentence.
Swarup Das, 27, was found guilty by a district court of touching the 32-year-old woman's groin and slipping his right hand under her dress to stroke her private parts while she was asleep.
He is appealing against both the sentence and conviction.
District Judge Hoo Sheau Peng said Swarup's evidence that he was sleeping when he accidentally touched the woman was 'hard to believe'.
Swarup, an Indian national, had earlier said that he had raised the armrest which separated him from the woman because he wanted to sleep more comfortably. He added that he had put a pillow between the seats.
He also demonstrated in court how he had placed his right elbow on the pillow and rested his head on his right palm before dozing off.
But the judge did not believe him. He said that as Swarup was tall, the final sleeping position which he demonstrated to the court was 'incredible' and stretched the imagination.
Earlier, a doctor testified that Swarup suffered a mild sleep disorder and could display a lot of leg and hand movements in his sleep.
The judge did not accept the defence's argument that Swarup had hiked up the woman's dress with his legs unintentionally.
This was because, District Judge Hoo added, the victim would have been awakened by Swarup's 'kicking and thrusting movements'.
Besides, the blanket covering the woman's feet was still in place, even though her dress had been lifted up to her thigh area.
The judge said that the woman was a reliable witness and there was no reason for her to frame Swarup as they were total strangers.
The woman and her friend had boarded the Singapore-bound plane in San Francisco on Sept 8 last year. She was seated between her friend and Swarup, who was next to the window.
Both women covered themselves with blankets before going to sleep.
The woman said she was awakened when she felt something resting heavily on her groin. It was Swarup's right hand.
Thinking it was an accident, she lifted his hand and pushed it back to his side of the seat.
But about 30 minutes later, she was again awakened when she felt one of Swarup's fingers slipping into her panties and touching her. She grabbed Swarup's hand immediately and flung it away from her.
Both women were transferred to seats reserved for cabin crew after the woman's friend informed a stewardess about the incident.
Swarup is out on bail of $15,000.
Copyright © 2001 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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