SINGAPORE: A man accused of killing his lover and burning her body told the court that he was “just friends” with the deceased and that he had no feelings for her.
Leslie Khoo Kwee Hock, 50, made the assertions while being cross-examined on the witness stand on Tuesday (Mar 19) by Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar Nair.
Grilled by Senior Counsel Nair, Khoo said he did not have feelings for 31-year-old engineer Cui Yajie, whom he is accused of strangling in his car on the morning of Jul 12, 2016.
“I didn’t have feelings,” he said through a Mandarin interpreter. “If I felt something towards someone, I would have done a lot. I would have tried to please the girl.”
The former laundry company employee admitted that he had other girlfriends, even though he is married and has a son, who is now 15.
“I would sacrifice for my girlfriends,” said Khoo.
“At the time you knew the deceased, you had other girlfriends at the same time?” Questioned Judicial Commissioner Audrey Lim.
“Yes, I have this bad habit. That is the fact. That is really a fact,” said Khoo.
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“Even though you are married?” The judge pressed. “And a few girls at one time?”
“Yes, your honour,” he answered.
Asked why he had told Ms Cui then that he was not married, since the simplest way to draw a line between the two of them would be to tell her so, Khoo said that he told every woman who asked him if he was married that he was not married.
KHOO SAYS HE DID FAVOURS FOR VICTIM TO REPAY KINDNESS
He explained that he did favours for Ms Cui, such as helping her with her home renovations and accompanying her to events, because he wanted to “repay her kindness” in return for the S$20,000 Ms Cui had lent him.
He allowed her to tell her colleagues that he was her boyfriend as he “didn’t care”, and knew that she wanted to “show off” to them.
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He also said he had taken her on a fishing trip and bought her flowers, a cake and a gold chain on her birthday, but maintained that he did not know she had any romantic feelings for him.
Senior Counsel Nair asked Khoo why his DNA had been found on a toothbrush in Ms Cui’s room, Khoo said: “I don’t know. I’ve never stayed there before and I’ve never used other people’s things, I might have touched items here and there, I don’t know.”
He had explained that he had been alone with Ms Cui in her bedroom "a few times" to "help her repair items".
Senior Counsel Nair said Khoo was a liar, pointing out various ways that showed how Khoo had given Ms Cui the impression that she was in a relationship with him.
He referred to text messages exchanged between Ms Cui and Khoo, where Ms Cui said she wished to “have a hug”. Khoo replied “OK”, and Ms Cui responded “I wish for a hug hug”.
Khoo said he never actually physically hugged Ms Cui, and said that a witness’ account of him linking arms with Ms Cui at an event was inaccurate.
He admitted to suggesting marriage to several women, and admitted that he had not told Ms Cui several facts about himself - in particular, that he was married, that he was bankrupt and that he had criminal convictions.
Senior Counsel Nair said Khoo “put on a false show of wealth by driving around in a BMW”, even though it was his wife’s car, and even though he did not have a driver’s licence.
“I just liked it when others ‘looked me up’,” said Khoo, meaning that others looked up to him. He admitted that even his wife did not know that he did not have a licence.
The trial resumes on Wednesday, with the prosecution being given a day and a half more to cross-examine Khoo.