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Elderly man jailed 4 years for slashing flatmate to death

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SINGAPORE: A 72-year-old part-time cleaner was sentenced to four years' jail on Tuesday (Mar 27) for slashing his flatmate’s arms, head and body, dealing him such severe injuries he bled to death.
Tan Kim Hock, who is stateless, pleaded guilty to one count of culpable homicide not amounting to murder for knifing welder Fan Fook Heng, 62, after Fan punched him for making noise.
The men had lived together in a one-bedroom flat at Bendemeer Road for four years. They struggled to get along, and had come to blows before, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Nim said. Fan’s main gripe was that Tan smoked inside the flat.
The High Court heard Tan had been washing a cup at the sink when Fan, who was resting on his mattress in the living room, got up and grabbed the cup from Tan, slamming it against the kitchen sink.
This happened sometime between 11.30pm on Jun 27, 2016 and 12.25am the next day.
Fan told Tan: “I don’t care if I have to go to jail for a long time. If you don’t stop making noise, I will beat you up”, Mr Nim said. Tan was angry but did not respond and continued to rinse his cup.

AdvertisementAdvertisementFan got up from his mattress again, grabbing the cup and slamming it against the sink. He punched Tan, who suffered a cut lip, and scolded him for making noise. Fan then went back to the living room and lit a cigarette.

“(Tan) was angry … the more (he) thought about it, the angrier he became”, Mr Nim said. “He decided to teach (Fan) a lesson … so that (he) would not hurt him in the future.”

Tan picked up a 17cm kitchen knife and lunged at Fan, slashing the man’s arms, head and body. He only stopped when Fan collapsed, the High Court heard.
Fan, still conscious and lying in a pool of blood, asked Tan to press an emergency panic call button installed at the front door of their flat. Tan refused. The floor was slick with blood, and he did not want to slip and fall, Tan had said.

Fan crawled to the door to sound the alarm himself, before slumping to the ground, where paramedics found him later. Tan eventually sought help from a neighbour and called the police.

Fan was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he died on Jun 29.
He had arrived at the hospital “with no recordable blood pressure or heartbeat … (and had to be) resuscitated", Mr Nim said.

Fan’s condition remained unstable. He required massive transfusions of blood and blood products, and had his left arm amputated below the elbow. The main arteries in his left forearm had been severed in the attack and blood no longer flowed through them, the High Court heard.

Fan’s “injuries were so severe … he essentially bled to death”, Mr Nim said.

He sought a jail term of four and a half years for Tan. “Although (Fan) may have been the initial aggressor, the retaliation was entirely disproportionate”, the prosecutor said.

Mr Nim also noted several aggravating factors in the case, including the sheer brutality of the attack, the use of a deadly weapon, and that Tan’s motive was to exact revenge.

Tan should not have resorted to “vigilante justice by taking the law into his own hands”, he said.

Tan’s lawyer said a jail term of three and a half to four years was fair, pointing out that Tan had eventually sought help and called the police himself.

In sentencing Tan, Justice Chan Seng Onn said there was “a significant degree of provocation” that led to Tan’s attack.
Noting that the men had come to blows before, this incident “might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back”, Justice Chan said.

Tan could have been jailed for up to 10 years for culpable homicide. As he is over 50, he cannot be caned.
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