Gardens by the Bay murder: Man accused of killing lover denies affair with victim

Gardens by the Bay murder: Man accused of killing lover denies affair with victim

Leslie Khoo Kwee Hock
Leslie Khoo Kwee Hock is accused of murdering his lover and burning her body for days. (Photo: Facebook/Leslie Khoo)

SINGAPORE: A man accused of murdering his lover and burning her body told a psychiatrist after his arrest that he did not have an affair with her.

This emerged in court on Wednesday (Mar 13) when Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist Kenneth Koh took the stand.

Dr Koh revealed details as told to him by the accused, 50-year-old Leslie Khoo Kwee Hock. He had interviewed Khoo as part of a routine assessment on his mental state, as done in cases of murder.

According to Dr Koh, Khoo told him that while he had other extra-marital affairs, the victim, 31-year-old Cui Yajie, was not one of them.

Cui was “not his type”, Khoo said, although he would buy her presents and flowers.

Khoo said he befriended Ms Cui after seeing her crying outside his neighbour’s home, saying he helps people “according to scripture”.

"When people come to me for help, I don't say no," Khoo said. He also described Ms Cui as a “greedy woman”.

“She had S$20,000 with me for investment and we made some money,” he said.

Ms Cui’s mother, who briefly took the stand on Wednesday, had said in a statement to the authorities that her daughter told her she was in a relationship with a Singaporean man. She also said she did not approve of her daughter’s relationship with Khoo.


Khoo, a manager at a laundry outlet, is accused of murdering Cui at Gardens by the Bay in 2016. He allegedly strangled her in a car, then dumped her body in Lim Chu Kang where he burnt it for days.

He allegedly killed Cui to silence her, as she had threatened to expose his lies about his relationships and bogus investment schemes, jeopardising his career and marriage.

READ: Gardens by the Bay murder: Man claims trial to killing lover, dumping burnt body in Lim Chu Kang

On Wednesday, the court heard that before the incident, Khoo had picked Ms Cui up from Joo Koon MRT station.

She started cursing him, his son, sister and wife with “terrible” words. This culminated in her hitting his right forearm from the passenger seat.

According to Dr Koh, Khoo said he had stopped his car on a secluded road at Gardens by the Bay to calm her down.

“That day I cannot control myself,” Khoo said. He then grabbed her neck and pushed her away from him, said Dr Koh, reading from his case notes. 

“I had already told her before. She can open her mouth, but she cannot use physical force,” he told Dr Koh, adding that he made an effort to revive her after she stopped moving.

Khoo told Dr Koh that his mistake was sympathising with her too much by, for example, giving her a good dinner.


Dr Koh’s assessment was that Khoo does not suffer from a mental condition called Intermittent Explosive Disorder. He was grilled on this on Wednesday.

The psychiatrist said he interviewed Khoo’s wife, Madam Toh Lee Nah, last month. Dr Koh said three days after the interview, Mdm Toh emailed him saying Khoo would come home angry and slam doors when she messaged him while he was out late.

The court also heard that Khoo had hit his wife early in their marriage, and had also hit their son once.

In her email to Dr Koh, the wife said: “He has been getting better and trying to control his temper all these years. At least he has been less violent to us as years go by.”

Central to Khoo’s defence is that he suffers from Intermittent Explosive Disorder, characterised by violent outbursts among other things.

His lawyers will rely on a private psychiatric report that says he has the mental condition. They will seek to prove diminished responsibility, which could get him off the murder charge.

The trial resumes on Thursday.

Source: CNA/ec(gs)