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Elderly man jailed, fined for criminal intimidation and rash act

An elderly church caretaker was on Monday jailed a day and fined S$3,000 by a district court for criminal intimidation and committing a rash act.

SINGAPORE: An elderly church caretaker was on Monday jailed a day and fined S$3,000 by a district court for criminal intimidation and committing a rash act.

79-year-old Lim Song Chong pleaded guilty to criminal intimidation by chasing his victim with a kitchen knife, as well as to committing a rash act by throwing the knife at the victim.

The court heard that the incident took place in March 2013 at the Glad Tidings Church in Valley Road, where Lim was a caretaker. He had lived there for over 30 years.

The dispute between Lim and his victim -- 65-year-old Cheong Yee Mun -- broke out over a woman who was a regular church-goer.

At around 8.30pm on March 5, 2013, Mr Cheong went to the church to speak to Lim. This was because Lim had been harassing him over the past week, accusing Mr Cheong of having an affair with the woman.

When Mr Cheong arrived at the church, he waited for the woman, who arrived a short while later with Lim.

Lim suddenly threw an umbrella in Mr Cheong's direction, and challenged him to a fight. Mr Cheong refused and said he only wanted Lim to stop calling and harassing him.

Lim then went to a storeroom, and returned with a small knife.

Mr Cheong threw a fire extinguisher in Lim's direction to prevent him from getting closer.

Lim then tried to poke Mr Cheong in the stomach with the small knife, and later threw it in his direction, though the knife missed its target.

After that, Lim went to the kitchen and came back with a 20-cm long kitchen knife and a pair of scissors. Pointing the knife toward Mr Cheong, Lim chased him and again, threw the knife at him. The knife did not hit Mr Cheong.

Both men suffered minor injuries from the altercation.

In mitigation, Lim's lawyer Josephus Tan asked the judge to impose a fine on Lim, citing his old age and frail health.

"He is remorseful... and in light of his age and frail health, he may not be able to survive the rigours of prison life," Mr Tan added.

Mr Tan, who is handling the case pro-bono, also said Lim had earlier sought treatment for alcohol addiction, and that the church will continue to provide him shelter.

Lim has prior convictions, dating back to the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

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