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Singapore

Jail for man who slashed neighbour with chopper outside Aljunied supermarket

SINGAPORE: What started as a feud during Chinese New Year ended in a confrontation outside a supermarket a year later, with a man slashing his opponent with a chopper, fracturing the victim's arm.

For his actions, carried out before young families near an NTUC FairPrice supermarket in Aljunied in February 2018, 58-year-old Tan Kok Ann was sentenced to four-and-a-half years' jail on Friday (Mar 1).

Of this, six months were imposed in lieu of caning, as he is over the age of 50 and cannot be caned.

The court heard that Tan, who is jobless, had an undisclosed feud with retiree Tan Beng Yian, 69, who lives in his neighbourhood.

Sometime during the Chinese New Year period in 2017, the two men had "a physical altercation arising from a petty argument", said Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jun Chong.

There was bad blood between the two for about a year until they met again on Feb 20, 2018, at about 7pm.

Tan had been to the supermarket at Block 114, Aljunied Avenue 2 to buy bread with his wife.

He was carrying a plastic bag with a chopper wrapped in newspaper, intending to pass it to his mother's maid, as she had asked for a knife to cut vegetables and fish.

However, Tan spotted his neighbour walking in front of the supermarket. Still angry from their earlier arguments, Tan walked towards him and swung the chopper, with its 19cm-long blade, repeatedly at the older man.

The neighbour raised his forearm to block the attack and sustained a deep cut on his right forearm, which began bleeding profusely, the court heard.

There were young families nearby, including a child in a pram, and another standing about a metre away, the prosecution said.

After yelling and gesticulating at his opponent, Tan left the scene. A shopper at the supermarket then called the police for help and Tan was arrested.

The victim was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital with a 12cm-long wound over his forearm, a complete fracture of his forearm bone and a cut on one of his fingers.

He was given a month's hospitalisation leave and is permanently disabled, with impaired fingers and restricted motion in his wrist and forearm.

Tan pleaded guilty to one charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapon.

His defence lawyer Vivian Siah had urged the court not to punish her client with a long custodial sentence as the monastery volunteer was an "otherwise pleasant and benevolent man who committed the offence out of a moment of rashness".

"The weapon was in (Tan's) possession ... under entirely fortuitous circumstances," she said. "There was no premeditation on (his) part to seek out the victim."

District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan ordered him to pay the victim S$1,149.86 as compensation.

Source: CNA/ll(hs)

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