SINGAPORE: One of the seven people originally charged with the murder of a man at Orchard Towers pleaded guilty on Monday (Dec 14) to obstructing justice by discarding a blood-stained shirt belonging to an accomplice.
Loo Boon Chong, 27, admitted to throwing away the shirt that belonged to co-accused Tan Sen Yang, who is accused of inflicting the killing blow.
The victim, 31-year-old Satheesh Noel Gobidass, died of a stab wound to the neck after a brawl early on Jul 2 last year.
Loo also pleaded guilty to a second unrelated charge of gambling in public. Another charge of being in the company of Tan Sen Yang when he had a foldable karambit knife will be taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that Loo was a bartender at the time of the incident. He had been drinking with his friends in Orchard Road that morning before winding up at Naughty Girl Club in Orchard Towers with several others, including Tan Sen Yang.
A dispute broke out between Loo's group of friends and another group at the club, and Loo saw Tan Sen Yang point the knife at the other group.
The court heard that Loo tried to stop a fight that broke out near the club entrance, where Tan Sen Yang injured two men with his knife.
Loo later took the lift to the ground floor with his friends, where another fight broke out with the deceased, with Tan Sen Yang allegedly inflicting a fatal injury with his knife.
Loo did not join the attack on Mr Satheesh, but left with the group knowing that the latter was grievously injured.
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Loo took a taxi with Tan Sen Yang and two others to Boon Lay Market, and Tan Sen Yang asked Loo if he could take a shower at Loo's house. At his agreement, the pair took another taxi to Loo's house.
After Tan Sen Yang took a shower, he asked Loo to lend him a new top. Loo noticed a blood-stained patch on Tan Sen Yang's white shirt, which he knew Tan Sen Yang had worn earlier at Orchard Towers.
Loo gave Tan Sen Yang a fresh shirt to change into and lent him a pair of slippers before passing him S$50 at Tan's request.
After Tan Sen Yang left his house, Loo traced Tan Sen Yang's steps in his apartment to make sure that the knife had not been left behind.
When Loo saw the blood-stained shirt in his bedroom, he picked it up and discarded it into the common rubbish chute.
He did so to prevent the police from finding the shirt in his house and to try to avoid being implicated in Tan Sen Yang's offence, the court heard.
Later that day, Loo heard that the Orchard Towers incident had been classified as a murder case and surrendered himself along with another accomplice.
The shirt was not retrieved by the police. Several months later, Loo was caught gambling in public with dice at a block in Jurong West - an offence he also admitted to.
Loo will return to court for mitigation and sentencing in January. He is the fifth person to plead guilty in the Orchard Towers case.
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CO-ACCUSED IN THE CASE
Seven people were originally charged with murder.
Co-accused Joel Tan Yun Sheng received four weeks' jail in March after pleading guilty to voluntarily causing hurt to the victim by common intention.
Ang Da Yuan, was sentenced to eight months' jail and six strokes of the cane. He pleaded guilty to voluntarily causing hurt to the victim by kicking and punching him, and to consorting with Tan Sen Yang.
The sole woman in the case, Natalie Siow Yu Zhen, was given five months' jail in October. She pleaded guilty to one charge each of voluntarily causing hurt with common intention and of consorting with a person possessing an offensive weapon.
READ: Woman originally charged with murder in Orchard Towers case gets 5 months' jail on downgraded offences
That same month, Chan Jia Xing was given a conditional warning for a reduced charge of consorting with a person possessing an offensive weapon.
The cases for Tan Hong Sheng - who jumped bail in August 2019 and remanded after his arrest - and Tan Sen Yang are pending - with Tan Sen Yang being the only one still facing a capital charge.
For intentionally obstructing justice, Loo could be jailed for up to seven years, fined, or both. For gambling in public, he could be jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$5,000, or both.