Coroner: Man killed wife before committing suicide in Geylang double tragedy

Uber driver Cheung Thiam Teng appeared to have been stalking his wife, who was living alone at the Silverscape condominium in Lorong 32 Geylang
Uber driver Cheung Thiam Teng appeared to have been stalking his wife, who was living alone at the Silverscape condominium in Lorong 32 Geylang PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean killed his estranged Vietnamese wife before jumping to his own death from the eighth storey of a condominium in Geylang on April 30, two days before their divorce was to be finalised.

In an inquiry into the couple's death on Thursday (Sept 28), State Coroner Marvin Bay said Uber driver Cheung Thiam Teng, 43, had committed the "unlawful killing" of Madam Ly Thi Thu Trang, 30, with whom he had had a "violent and tumultuous" marriage.

Mr Cheung appeared to have been stalking his wife, who was living alone at the Silverscape condominium in Lorong 32 Geylang, said Coroner Bay.

At around 11.30am on April 30, Mr Cheung let himself into the premises by reaching through a side gate to press a release button and went up to her home on the eighth storey.

Investigation officer Inspector Jason Foo told the court on Thursday that were no security guards working at the property.

Madam Ly later fell from height from the building and was pronounced dead in Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) at around 2pm on April 30. Mr Cheung jumped after a stand-off with the authorities and died in TTSH about an hour later.

Coroner Bay said among Madam Ly's injuries was bruising on her right wrist that was consistent with the cable tie found around it. The tie is believed to have been used to restrain her.

There was also an abrasion on her back that had been caused by impact from a longitudinally-shaped object, consistent with what might have been inflicted from a crowbar found in her bedroom.

The coroner said: "Madam Ly's sad demise calls attention to the need to take acts of stalking with the utmost seriousness, especially in the presence of acrimonious antecedent bad blood between the involved parties.

"It also highlights the desirability of hardening the security processes and facilities of condominium premises which include identifying vulnerabilities, such as the one seen here, which allowed an intruder... to (carry out) his malicious and sinister intent."

The couple first met while Madam Ly was studying in Singapore in 2005 and were married two years later.

Their first son was born in 2008 and she gave birth to their second one in 2015. However, the marriage had soured by the middle of last year.

That was when Mr Cheung reportedly discovered his wife had received posts on her Facebook page with allegedly explicit content, and that she had male friends.

Madam Ly denied these accusations and left home for two weeks when he further confronted her. He had also claimed that their second son was not his.

On Sept 1, last year, he was arrested for offences including wrongfully confining and voluntarily causing hurt to his wife.

Mr Cheung was later diagnosed with major depressive disorder. For committing these offences, he was sentenced in March this year to a week-long Short Detention Order (SDO) and made to undergo a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO) for a year.

Offenders given SDOs have to serve a brief stint behind bars for up to 14 days. They will not have criminal records after serving their sentences.

Under the MTO, offenders have to undergo treatment in lieu of jail time. But the order can be revoked if they re-offend or fail to comply with the conditions of their treatment.

After Madam Ly left the home they shared, Mr Cheung would drive to her condo and loiter about there, according to her friend, Mr Tong Choon Peng, who would see him there.

Coroner Bay said: "Mr Tong would spot Mr Cheung near the condominium at a frequency of about once a week. Mr Cheung would usually wait in his car, but sometimes leave to walk around the perimeter of the condominium."

According to Mr Tong, Madam Ly admitted to him that she had abused methamphetamine and was working as a masseuse in Orchard Towers.

Coroner Bay said the same drug was also found in Mr Cheung's body following his autopsy.

Mr Cheung finally gained access to the premises on April 30 this year and Madam Ly called the police at around noon that day, stating that someone had been threatening to kill her.

A police officer who was deployed to the scene later spotted her lying at the foot of the condominium block, still breathing but unresponsive.

Officers went up to her home and a stand off that lasted more than an hour ensued between the authorities and Mr Cheung before he jumped to his death.