Man who stabbed boyfriend to death jailed 12 years

The walkway near Ang Mo Kio MRT station where Mr Tan Chin Siong was killed. Tan Chee Yeow, who pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide, was found to have moderate depressive disorder which substantially reduced his mental responsibility for h
The walkway near Ang Mo Kio MRT station where Mr Tan Chin Siong was killed. Tan Chee Yeow, who pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide, was found to have moderate depressive disorder which substantially reduced his mental responsibility for his acts.PHOTO: SHIN MIN
The walkway near Ang Mo Kio MRT station where Mr Tan Chin Siong was killed. Tan Chee Yeow, who pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide, was found to have moderate depressive disorder which substantially reduced his mental responsibility for h
Tan Chee Yeow (above) admitted stabbing to death Mr Tan Chin Siong, a 48-year-old assistant vice-president at a local bank, on Sept 4 last year.
The walkway near Ang Mo Kio MRT station where Mr Tan Chin Siong was killed. Tan Chee Yeow, who pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide, was found to have moderate depressive disorder which substantially reduced his mental responsibility for h
Tan Chee Yeow admitted stabbing to death Mr Tan Chin Siong (above), a 48-year-old assistant vice-president at a local bank, on Sept 4 last year.

40-year-old accused has history of depression and was upset his lover did not want to go public with relationship

A hairstylist, upset that his boyfriend of eight years reneged on his promise to go public with their relationship, killed his lover after the latter avoided his calls and told him that he was "not gay".

The tragic turn of events came after Tan Chee Yeow phoned his lover's mother to reveal their relationship but the shocked woman told him "it was not possible".

The 40-year-old accused, who has a history of depression, was yesterday sentenced to 12 years' jail after he pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide. He admitted stabbing to death Mr Tan Chin Siong, 48, an assistant vice-president at a local bank, at a busy walkway near Ang Mo Kio MRT station on the morning of Sept 4 last year.

The two men, both Malaysian, met in Johor Baru in 2007 and started a romantic relationship, the High Court heard yesterday. That year, the accused moved to Singapore after Mr Tan told him to do so.

Their relationship went downhill in the three years before the incident. The accused wanted to be publicly recognised as Mr Tan's partner, but Mr Tan wanted to keep their relationship low-profile and kept it from his parents.

The accused, who has a drinking habit, had also threatened to commit suicide several times.

A passer-by struggled with the accused, kicked the knife away and scolded him before going off. A few others performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Mr Tan before paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead in hospital at about 9.15am.

Things came to a head on Aug 28 last year - Mr Tan's birthday - when the accused threw a tantrum and nagged his lover for not keeping his promise to introduce him as his partner to his family members.

The next day, after Mr Tan left for Johor Baru to celebrate his birthday with his family, the accused called his lover's home and told his mother about their relationship.

After this, Mr Tan ignored the accused's calls and messages.

He did answer one call, however, to say he was not gay and wanted to get married and have children.

The day after, Mr Tan accompanied the accused to see a psychiatrist, who said the accused's depression had been aggravated by the couple's domestic issues.

Mr Tan was advised to delay his intended break-up while the accused was put on medication to stabilise his emotions. But Mr Tan told the psychiatrist he wanted a break-up immediately. He also ignored the accused's calls and messages.

At about 8am on Sept 4 last year, the accused headed for Mr Tan's flat, with a knife he bought a day earlier.

At the walkway, he pleaded with Mr Tan to break up with him "slowly" but the latter kept quiet. He pleaded with Mr Tan to spend time with him but the latter replied that he had to keep his family company.

Sensing little chance of a reconciliation, the accused took out the knife and stabbed his lover twice in the chest and once in the back.

A passer-by struggled with the accused, kicked the knife away and scolded him before going off. A few others performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Mr Tan before paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead in hospital at about 9.15am.

The accused stayed at the scene, wailing that he had killed someone. He was arrested and the knife was recovered from a drain.

The accused was initially charged with murder, but the charge was reduced as he was found to be suffering from moderate depressive disorder which substantially reduced his mental responsibility for his acts.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamed Faizal sought jail of 12 to 14 years, arguing that the accused had made a conscious and deliberate decision to kill his lover.

Lawyer Josephus Tan, acting for the accused under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, argued for not more than 12 years, saying that the case was about "betrayed love".

The accused wrote a letter to seek forgiveness from Mr Tan's family. "I really loved him," he wrote.

His parents and four siblings, who flew here from Kuching, broke down in tears as they spoke to him after he was sentenced. His mother, who declined to give her name, said the family would wait for him. She also apologised to Mr Tan's family.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2016, with the headline 'Man who stabbed boyfriend to death jailed 12 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe