SINGAPORE: A man who hired a hitman on the Dark Web to kill the new flame of his former mistress did so in a series of calculated steps that showed "cold-bloodedness, a high level of sophistication and involved a high degree of planning and deliberation".
These were the words of the judge who sentenced 47-year-old Singaporean Allen Vincent Hui Kim Seng to five years' jail on Wednesday (Sep 18).
District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan said the sentence "accurately reflects his culpability and society's opprobrium towards the crime".
Hui had admitted in July to ordering a hit worth a few thousand US dollars on the 30-year-old Singaporean man through the Dark Web, where websites are hosted on encrypted networks inaccessible via traditional search engines or browsers.
Hui, then a risk management executive married with a daughter, started an affair in April 2016 with a 30-year-old Malaysian woman he worked with.
The relationship ended in February 2018, but Hui continued to buy gifts for her and pay for half the rental of a flat she stayed in that was meant to be their shared home.
When he found out that she had a new boyfriend in April 2018, he became jealous and began stalking her to learn the identity of the man.
He also monitored her social media accounts, and took a screenshot of her new boyfriend.
Hui then downloaded a browser to access the Dark Web and found a website claiming to provide hitmen services.
He initially ordered a hit to cut off the new boyfriend's right hand, before asking for acid to be poured on his face, and finally asking for the man to be killed.
The plan - which was meant to take place on May 22, 2018 and look like a car accident - was foiled when a CBS journalist informed the Singapore embassy in Washington DC of the hit.
The judge in delivering his sentence disagreed with defence lawyer Lee Teck Leng's arguments that his client had reduced culpability as the hitman-for-hire was actually a scam.
"In my opinion, what is material is the accused's belief at the time when he engaged the hitman," said the judge.
"His conduct showed that he genuinely believed that he was engaging a hitman to murder the victim. Operating on this belief, he unwaveringly and relentlessly took significant steps to achieve his objective," said the judge.
He added that there was no evidence that Hui was suffering from clinical depression.
Hui also did not baulk at the idea of murder when the would-be assassin suggested it, even though he had not started out with the intention of having the victim murdered, the judge said.
For abetting a person to commit a murder that was not eventually carried out, Hui could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.