Man in madrasah student attacks found to have major psychiatric illness, risks re-offending

The security officer accused of hurting three madrasah students earlier in April was found to be suffering from psychiatric illness.
The security officer accused of hurting three madrasah students earlier in April was found to be suffering from psychiatric illness. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - The security officer accused of hurting three madrasah students earlier in April was found to be suffering from a major psychiatric illness at the time of the alleged offences.

As Koh Weng Onn's risk of re-offending is high, according to a Institute of Mental Health (IMH) doctor, the prosecution objected to bail, saying he will be a danger to the public.

The 48-year-old was diagnosed to be suffering from delusional disorder with "delusions of persecution and reference".

Quoting the IMH report, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Goh Yi Ling said if Koh is sent back to the community, it is strongly advisable that he should be taken back to IMH for treatment under the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act. In the light of the IMH report, she said the prosecution would be seeking clarification with the doctor.

"I need to find out the specific nature of these delusions of persecution and reference, what causes the trigger," she said.

She also wants to find out the course and length of treatment recommended. She said these points were crucial in determining the prosecution's next course of action.

Koh's lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said he had no objection to the adjournment and that no bail be offered.

He suggested that Koh's psychiatric report be given to the remand prison so that Koh receives treatment during his remand.

The second course, he said, would be to allow bail on condition that the prosecution applies that Koh be taken back to IMH immediately for treatment.

DPP Goh said she had no objections to the psychiatric report being extended to the prison.

As for counsel's second proposal, she said that might be "too preliminary".

Koh has been charged with kicking a 16-year-old madrasah student on her right thigh, an attack which was "racially aggravated", along Paya Lebar Road on April 1 at 7.22am.

A minute later, he allegedly committed a rash act to endanger the personal safety of a 14-year-old girl by swinging a plastic bag with a filled 1.5-litre water bottle at her, which hit her on the face as she was walking.

The third charge says that he was on the descending escalator at Paya Lebar Circle Line MRT station at 7.24am when he swung a plastic bag containing a filled 1.5-litre water bottle at another 14-year-old student, which hit her face while she was on the way down.

The students were making their separate ways to Madrasah Al-Ma'arif Al-Islamiah in Geylang when the alleged incidents happened.

Mr Sunil was engaged to act as Koh's lawyer by an Arab-Muslim entrepreneur from the Aljunied family - descendants of Singapore's first Arab settler Syed Omar Ali Aljunied, who built Singapore's first mosque. The entrepreneur, who is in his 40s, had asked to remain anonymous.

Koh's case is fixed for a pre-trial conference on May 9. He is remanded.

elena@sph.com.sg