SINGAPORE: A former Lianhe Wanbao reporter who interviewed the condominium manager caught up in a spat with two sisters took the stand as a witness for the defence on Thursday (Oct 5).
Tang Bei and her twin sister Tang Lei are charged with hitting condo manager Colvin Quek Choon Kiat on Apr 28, 2015, in a spat over an access card for Simei Green, the condo she was staying at.
In a testimony in April this year, Mr Quek denied giving an interview to the Wanbao reporter, in which he admitted to hitting one of the sisters as well.
The article was published in the Chinese-language newspaper on May 14, 2015, about two weeks after the alleged incident.
In an English-translated version of the newspaper article that was submitted to the court, Mr Quek admitted that he was indeed angry at the time of the incident and had hit Tang Bei.
He was also quoted as saying, “In order to make her (Tang Bei) leave, I am (sic) already prepared to go to jail.”
On Thursday, Joyce Leung Sok Cheng confirmed that she had indeed interviewed Mr Quek.
The reporter, who worked for Wanbao until Jul 2017, testified that she did not fabricate an interview she had with the condo manager.
"HE SAID WHAT HE SAID"
In his April testimony, Mr Quek denied that the interview ever took place, saying: "I believe this paper (Lianhe Wanbao) all gossip column papers, right?"
Upon being questioned further by defence lawyer Derek Kang in the April hearing, Mr Quek said: "The interview has never taken place as far as I'm concerned."
But on Thursday, Ms Leung insisted that the interview did take place.
When deputy public prosecutor Tan Wen Hsien asked Ms Leung if she had asked Quek if he was willing to be interviewed, she replied: “That’s not the norm.” She explained that this is because reporters would usually identify themselves, and the interview would proceed if they did not face any objection from the interviewee.
Ms Leung added that she could not remember all the questions she had asked Quek as the interview happened over two years ago. However, she stated that the article was written based on the notes she had taken down during the interview.
“He said what he said”, added Ms Leung.
The former SPH employee also interviewed the twins on the same day she spoke to Quek. Both sisters have acknowledged that an interview did take place.
TANG LEI TESTIFIES
Also testifying for the first time today was the younger of the twin sisters, Tang Lei, who revealed that she did have further contact with Mr Quek for two days straight after the incident on Apr 28.
She said that on Apr 29 and Apr 30, Mr Quek allegedly taunted her to “get out of Simei Green, get out of Singapore” while she was waiting for Tang Bei at the condo’s swimming pool.
She also alleged that on Apr 30, 2015, a few police officers who were present that day, also advised her to pay heed to Mr Quek's words and leave the condo or risk being deemed a trespasser.
Tang Lei added she had not met Mr Quek prior to Apr 28, the day the spat erupted. Her sister had gone to collect the access card at the management office while she was waiting outside with a friend.
She said she later heard a commotion and went into the office. Tang Bei then told her that Quek was the man who allegedly molested her.
Tang Lei said she "lost control" of herself as well.
Tang Bei has previously accused Quek of molesting her and choking her in a separate quarrel in Feb 2015.
In her testimony today, Tang Lei said she had asked her sister to make a police report at the time of the incident but Tang Bei did not.
"I blame her for that until today,” Tang Lei said.
A police report about the alleged molest was filed by Tang Bei on the same day of the April 2015 dispute.
The trial will resume on Oct 17.