After an unruly court session on Sep. 23, an 85-year-old man may now face the death penalty for murder, having initially been given a reduced charge for the 2019 slaying of his partner.
According to CNA, Pak Kian Huat had been set to plead guilty to the offence of culpable homicide, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, or up to 20 years with a fine or canning.
He is accused of killing his 79-year-old partner, Lim Soi Moy, with a chopper after an argument over which room in her HDB flat he would be allowed to sleep in.
However, when the statement of facts was read out in court, CNA reported that Pak repeatedly interrupted and objected to it through his interpreter.
This derailed the proceedings, with the judge at one point telling Pak that if he did not admit to the facts, his guilty plea could not be accepted and that he would have to be put on trial for the original charge of murder, which is a crime punishable by death.
To this, Pak replied: "Fine, death penalty."
Bad temper and abuse
The statement of facts, seen by Mothership, state that Pak had first met Lim in the 1950s when the pair were in their teens. He was employed as a shipyard worker, while she worked as a housekeeper.
They had their first child in 1963 but were never formally married.
Pak and Lim eventually had three other children and they lived together in a Whampoa flat.
Yet, their relationship turned sour over the years — partly due to Pak's bad temper and the abuse Lim and their children were subjected to.
Lim, encouraged by her children, moved out of the family home with her elder daughter in 1980.
She reconnected with Pak more than two decades later in 2004 through their children.
Dispute over which bedroom he could sleep in
Pak then asked Lim if he could move into her four-room Toa Payoh flat as he did not want to stay alone since their children had moved out.
The statement of facts, which Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang read in court, said that they eventually came to an arrangement which would see Pak rent out his Whampoa flat and move in with Lim, paying her S$400 to S$500 a month.
Pak moved into the flat in 2004 and occupied the smallest of its three bedrooms.
Of the two other bedrooms, Lim slept in one, while the other was reserved for when their children based abroad returned to Singapore.
On Aug. 26, 2019, Pak told one of his sons that he had the flu and a bad cough. He blamed the dust in his bedroom for causing his condition, and complained that Lim had refused to allow him to move into the vacant bedroom.
After their children intervened, Lim and Pak came to an agreement that the latter could sleep in the vacant bedroom but would have to move back to the smaller room whenever any of their children stayed with them.
Pak was aware that he would have to return to his original room before Sep. 1, 2019, as one of his sons would be back then.
The statement of facts read that on Aug. 31, 2019, Pak once again asked Lim if he could permanently move into the reserved bedroom, a request she rejected.
Growing angrier throughout the night, Pak would take a chopper and attack Lim in her bedroom.
He then called one of his children and told them that he had killed Lim, asking them to call the police.
Interrupting court proceedings
As a mandarin interpreter read the statement of facts to him in court on Sep. 23, Pak objected loudly at various points, reported CNA.
This included disputing the number of wounds found on the deceased, which was stated to be 54.
"I don't admit. There aren't so many," said Pak, according to CNA.
"This is the medical officer counting the wounds. Are you saying you counted the wounds after you stabbed your 'wife'?" asked Justice Aedit Abdullah.
"I can't possibly have killed her so skilfully," Pak said, reportedly after laughing.
Pak also made known what his preferred prison sentence would be, reported Today.
"I can do three to five years, this is the maximum," he said in court; his lawyers — who have discharged themselves from representing Pak — had reportedly told him that he would have to serve at least seven years in jail.
"I cannot accept seven years," Pak continued, "because I don't feel that it warrants such a lengthy sentence."
According to Today, prosecutors were originally seeking 15 to 18 years' jail for Pak if he had pleaded guilty to culpable homicide.
Another interaction reported by CNA saw the judge admonish Pak for his behaviour in court.
After another objection, the judge said in raised voice: "I have been very patient with you. You will behave in court. You are not in a coffee shop, you are not in any other place, you are in a courtroom, you will behave with proper decorum, you understand?"
The hearing was adjourned as prosecutors figure out how to proceed with Pak's case.
Top image from Shin Min Daily News