SINGAPORE: A day after being released from prison for stalking his wife, a man returned to his wife's workplace and harassed her, refusing to leave until the police arrived. Over the course of four weeks, he returned to harass her on seven more occasions before getting arrested again.
Tan Lye Hock, 59, was given two months' jail on Friday (Jul 23).
He pleaded guilty to one charge each of contravening a personal protection order his 50-year-old wife had against him and of using criminal force on her.
A third charge of unlawful stalking was considered in sentencing.
Tan and his 50-year-old wife, a food stall assistant in a coffee shop, were living separately at the time of the offences, according to court documents.
A personal protection order was issued against him on Apr 7, restraining him from using family violence against his wife.
In May this year, Tan was convicted of breaching an expedited order by using family violence through continual harassment to his wife.
He was given a week's jail and released on May 25. A day after his release, he went back to harass his wife.
He drank beer at the coffee shop she worked at and waited for her to finish her shift, while repeatedly asking her to talk to him.
The victim felt harassed and avoided Tan, as she did not want to speak with him. She called the police for help more than an hour after he first arrived, and he refused to leave until the officers showed up.
On Jun 1, Tan headed towards his wife's workplace again. When she saw him coming, she grew afraid and went to a neighbouring block, calling the police again.
Tan later said he went there as he wanted to talk to her and repair their relationship.
On Jun 10, Tan went back to the coffee shop and followed his wife around, repeatedly calling out to her. She told him to leave, but he kept trying to block her way.
While he was there, he kept calling her mobile phone, disrupting her work.
His wife called the police and he left briefly, but returned again subsequently. When police officers arrived, they observed that Tan reeked of alcohol. He had consumed two bottles of beer.
On Jun 13, Tan went to his wife's workplace to ask for forgiveness. He kept calling out to her, and she avoided him. Her colleagues later managed to convince him to leave.
19 AUDIO MESSAGES
The next day, Tan sent his wife 19 audio messages via his handphone. In the messages, he asked her for forgiveness, despite knowing that she did not want to hear from him or speak to him, as she had told him this many times.
In the ninth audio message, he asked his wife not to ignore his calls as he was very sad and asked if she wanted him to jump off the building. The victim felt harassed by the messages and did not respond.
Tan went back to his wife's workplace again on Jun 18 and Jun 19. When he returned on Jun 20, he followed her into the kitchen and grabbed her hand when she tried to call the police.
He tried to grab the phone out of her hand, but she struggled. The chef at the coffee shop shouted at Tan to stop harassing his wife, and he left.
Tan was arrested subsequently and remanded. The prosecutor asked for between two and three months' jail, listing Tan's previous convictions including armed robbery in 1980 and criminal intimidation in 2016.
In mitigation, Tan told the judge that he had gone to look for his wife as he was alone at home and felt sad.
District Judge May Mesenas asked what the status was with his wife.
Tan replied that he wanted her back, and that was why he kept looking for her.
"However, she is not talking to me, which is why it led to my behaviour and me breaching the PPO. I really want to mend my ways but I didn't expect to come to this stage with me having a PPO and also the breaching."
The judge told him to see a counsellor after the court proceedings and to accept it if his wife wished for them to go their separate ways.
For breaching a personal protection order for a second time, Tan could have been jailed up to a year, fined up to S$5,000, or both.