Man found guilty of stabbing female tenant in neck, threatening to detonate bomb in flat

SINGAPORE - A 39-year-old unemployed man stabbed himself multiple times in the neck and chest, before stabbing a tenant in her neck in March, a court heard.

Both the assailant, Lay Chee Leong, and his victim survived.

Lay, who suffers from substance use disorder with symptoms of psychosis and depression, then threatened to detonate a bomb in his flat.

He also said he would fill the unit with liquid petroleum gas before igniting the vapours so that everyone inside would die.

On Tuesday (Oct 25), Lay was convicted on one charge of causing grievous hurt by means of an instrument likely to cause death and one count of criminal intimidation.

Lay, who pleaded guilty to the charges, also admitted to one count each of criminal intimidation and attempted suicide. These charges will be taken into consideration when he is sentenced on Dec 15.

A district court heard that Lay, who has received at least 50 strokes of the cane for a string of previous crimes including robbery, stayed with his parents in a flat in Yishun. They occupied one room and rented out the other to three women from China, aged 20, 27, and 35, who worked together as electronic component assemblers.

At about 5.30am on March 23, Lay took a 22cm-long knife from the kitchen and stabbed himself repeatedly in the chest and neck.

He then called the police and said: "Commit suicide, OK never mind (unintelligible)".

Lay then forced open the tenants' room door and demanded they hand over their mobile phones as he did not want them to call the police.

"He also threatened the victims and told them not to open the door for the police or he would detonate a bomb inside the flat," said Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP) Lim Yu Hui.

Lay then said he would fill the flat with LPG gas and set off a flame and kill all of them if they tried anything "funny", APP Lim said.

He then stabbed the 27-year-old tenant in her neck, and then pointed the knife at the other two tenants saying "don't think I don't dare to do it", before leaving the room.

Shortly after, Lay's 59-year-old uncle came by the unit and took the knife off him. Lay was taken to hospital with multiple superficial stab wounds to his neck and eight stab wounds to his chest. The wounds were stitched up.

His 27-year-old tenant was also taken to hospital and treated for the 1.5cm stab wound at the left side of her neck which was found to be capable of endangering her life. She was given 33 days of medical leave and, later, another 59 days.

She is unable to carry heavy objects with her left hand for long periods, and now does administrative work.

The maximum punishment for causing grievous hurt with an instrument likely to cause death is life imprisonment, or up to 15 years' jail and with a fine or caning.

The maximum penalty for criminal intimidation, where the threat is to cause death, is up to 10 years' jail and a fine.

The maximum punishment for attempted suicide is up to one years' jail and a fine.

Correction Note: In an earlier version of this story, Lay Chee Leong's name was misspelt. We are sorry for the error.