Channel NewsAsia

Pub owner jailed four years for killing aggressive patron

Man grabs knife and stabs customer after the latter tries to push his head against gate.

SINGAPORE: First, the inebriated patron at his pub hurled vulgarities at him and then grabbed him by the neck, sparking a quarrel. Then, Mohamed Iskandar Ishak went a step further and tried to push Low Chuan Woo’s head against an iron gate.

Angered, Low, 45, ran back into his establishment, Ramesses Entertainment, grabbed a knife from the bar counter and confronted Iskandar, stabbing him on his right arm and back. Iskandar, 45, died less than an hour later.

Last Friday (May 23), prosecutors pressed for Low to be sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and three strokes of the cane for culpable homicide, arguing that he had turned into the aggressor in the fatal incident on Jan 14 last year.

However, a High Court judge disagreed, noting that Iskandar had started the chain of events that night and sentenced Low to four years in prison instead.

The court heard that Iskandar had been drinking beer and a bottle of whiskey with his nephew and brother-in-law at Low’s pub at Block 5, Changi Village Road that day for more than five hours when he got into a disagreement with a Filipino performing artiste working there who had refused to drink a tequila shot he had bought for her.

Although Low tried to pacify him, Iskandar remained agitated, shouting profanities at him and then splashing the shot onto the woman’s face.

Iskandar then grabbed Low by the neck, pulled him out of the pub and was seen grabbing his shirt.

When a bartender tried to intervene, Iskandar continued to be aggressive and punched the worker in his eye. He also tried to push Low’s head against an iron gate.

After Low managed to break free, he retrieved the knife from inside his pub and stabbed Iskandar.

Low then went back into his pub to grab a billiard cue, but by the time he went out again, Iskandar had got into a taxi and asked to be taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

In her submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor Bagchi Anamika noted that Low did not desist from his vicious attack against the unarmed deceased even after he had stabbed Iskandar twice.

“Low’s claims of wanting to protect himself against the victim do not appear to be believable when the deceased lay wounded and unarmed, and eventually escaped to seek medical attention,” she added.

But defence counsel Ram Goswami argued that Iskandar’s abusive and violent behaviour gave Low a reason to fear for his life.

“The deceased was a raging bull who had posed a grave threat to the accused’s life,” added Mr Ram.

Agreeing, Justice Tay Yong Kwang said while it is sad that Iskandar died a violent death, Low had minded his own business outside of the pub when Iskandar started the chain of events.

“The violence was practically forced out of him by (the deceased under) persistent provocation and assault,” he added.

Separately, Low was also sentenced to eight months’ jail for three charges under the Women’s Charter. Two of these were for living off the earnings of prostitutes, while the third was for running his pub as a place of assignation.

Asked if it will appeal, the Attorney-General’s Chambers said it will first study the remarks of the High Court judge in reaching his decision on the sentence.

After the verdict was announced, the courtroom filled with about 20 of Low’s family and friends started cheering. His 73-year-old mother told reporters she was all right with the verdict.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia