SINGAPORE: After rejecting a job promotion, a warehouse employee began falling behind in work until his bosses eventually fired him.
Angered by the perceived rejection and after weeks of searching "how to kill people so that they can die easily", 24-year-old Malaysian Yee Jing Man took a chopper to the office where he slashed one of his three bosses to death.
He slashed another boss grievously and made the third eat a red packet as he felt this boss had given him a low amount of money for Chinese New Year.
Yee was sentenced to 20 years' jail on Wednesday (Jun 9) for one charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and another of voluntarily causing grievous hurt by a dangerous weapon.
Another eight charges including wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation were taken into consideration.
The court heard that Yee was introduced to the job at e-commerce firm Ji Ji by his girlfriend, who worked there.
The company was helmed by three directors: The deceased, 29-year-old Lin Xinjie, 30-year-old Li Mingqiao and Ryan Pan Zai Xing, 29.
Yee began working as a warehouse employee at the company in Sungei Kadut in March 2017, loading purchases onto delivery trucks.
Initially, he performed well at work and was praised by his boss for being hardworking.
In 2018, Mr Lin - whom Yee later slashed to death - gave Yee a red packet containing S$999 for Chinese New Year due to his good performance.
He also offered to promote Yee to warehouse manager, and raise his salary by S$300. This would take Yee's monthly salary to S$2,000.
Yee rejected the offer because he did not want the increase in workload and stress, the court heard.
HIS WORK PERFORMANCE WORSENED
From September 2018, Yee's work performance worsened, court documents said. He missed work on multiple occasions and did not provide medical certificates explaining his absence for some of those occasions.
Between Dec 1, 2017, and Mar 12, 2019, he was absent from work for 69 days.
Yee began bearing a grudge against Mr Lin and Mr Li, as he felt he had been scolded unreasonably or spoken to sarcastically by them, the court heard.
He felt that Mr Lin in particular was "a stubborn and useless person" who became a boss only because of his family's wealth.
By February 2019, Yee was suffering from insomnia and started visualising hacking the three directors to death with a chopper whenever he tried to fall asleep, the court heard.
He also decided he would commit suicide if he were to kill the trio as he did not want to be a fugitive and felt there was no purpose in living if he had to constantly worry about earning money.
On Feb 12, 2019, Yee's girlfriend called him and told him that Mr Lin wanted to fire him.
Yee had thoughts of chopping Mr Lin to death at that time, the court heard. He told his girlfriend he was going to buy a chopper to attack Mr Lin, and purchased one from a provision shop before hiding it in his sling bag, the court heard.
He then headed to the office, and demanded that Mr Lin give him a termination letter. Mr Lin responded that he was busy and would do it later.
While Yee waited for Mr Lin, Yee's girlfriend felt a hard and odd-shaped object in his bag, the court heard. Yee brushed her hand away and warned her angrily not to touch his bag.
Yee later changed his mind about killing the deceased, the prosecutors said.
Eventually, two of his bosses decided that Yee should take the rest of the month off and continue working thereafter for lower pay.
For the rest of February 2019, Yee mostly stayed at the home he rented with his girlfriend.
She noticed that he mainly played games on his phone and saw that his Internet search history included topics such as "how to die quickly" and "how to kill people so that they can die easily", the court heard.
Yee returned to work at Ji Ji in March 2019, but his performance did not improve. He stopped showing up by Mar 6, 2019, and took leave to explain his absence.
On Mar 11, Yee told his girlfriend that he was tired and did not feel like going to work. Angered, his girlfriend slapped him and told him to return to Ipoh, offering to buy him a bus ticket.
Later that morning, Mr Pan texted Yee's girlfriend saying that Yee no longer needed to return to work. She forwarded the messages to Yee, adding "you decide for yourself".
Yee grew very angry after reading the messages and decided to attack the three directors of the firm. He retrieved the chopper he bought earlier as well as another knife.
Before leaving the house, he made an Internet search on whether he would be deported back to Malaysia after his arrest, the court heard.
He sent a message to Mr Pan saying he had made a decision and asking him not to run. He alleged that he was treated "like a beggar" as he was given only a S$20 red packet for Chinese New Year that year.
THE OFFICE ASSAULT
Yee arrived at the office at 12.55pm. He walked to Mr Li, who was seated at his desk, and slashed his head and neck from the back.
He then walked to Mr Lin and swung the chopper a few times towards the back of his neck. Several employees witnessed the attack.
Yee then pointed his chopper at Mr Pan and threw the red packet Mr Pan had previously given back at him. He told Mr Pan to eat it, and Mr Pan complied.
Yee closed the door and barricaded the entrance with cabinets and tables to prevent people from leaving or entering. Mr Lin was bleeding and asked his workers to call the ambulance.
Yee told Mr Pan "I have no way to go" and stabbed himself in the stomach with the knife before slashing his wrist with the chopper.
As he collapsed to the floor, he threw up and said in Mandarin: "Why you all have to dismiss me, I have no other way to go."
Officers arrived at the scene and restrained Yee, who put up a struggle.
Mr Lin was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. He had multiple injuries including a 19.5cm-long gaping wound on his neck, and he died of incised wounds to the neck.
Mr Li suffered injuries including lacerations to his scalp, injuries to his face and a fractured jaw.
Yee was treated in hospital for a liver laceration from his stab injury and a deep cut on his wrist. He was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, placed under suicide caution and prescribed an antidepressant and sedative.
An Institute of Mental Health report found that Yee was suffering from major depressive disorder which caused "blinkered and catastrophic thinking" and substantially impaired his ability to think of more obvious, logical and pro-social solutions.
A second report found that the disorder had significantly impaired Yee's mental responsibility and qualify him for the defence of diminished responsibility.
A subsequent medical report in April 2020 found that Yee had responded well to antidepressant medications in prison and his condition had significantly improved.
Another report found that his risk of reoffending and violence was low, and that he was of a "much reduced risk of danger". However, he needed to continue his antidepressant medication.
The prosecution called for at least 21 years' jail, citing the degree of premeditation and blatant disregard for human life displayed. In view of his mental condition, they did not call for caning. The killing would have been classified as murder but for his mental condition, said the prosecutors.
Justice Valerie Thean said Yee wrongfully confined and criminally detained four people and demanded that Mr Pan swallow a red packet.
However, she said Yee's mental condition was a central focus of the case. She considered that the offences arose out of "a single episode of mental breakdown, of which he was hitherto undiagnosed".
"In this context I also consider his otherwise clean record, relative youth and, with proper medication and care, his ability to rehabilitate," she said.
For culpable homicide not amounting to murder, he could have been jailed either for life or up to 20 years' jail, fined and caned.