Murder suspect denies ever laying hand on wife's ex-lover

He claims two friends could have helped him teach victim a lesson

When he was initially questioned by police over the disappearance of his wife's former lover, a 56-year- old businessman - now on trial for murder - denied ever laying a hand on the 37-year-old ex-paramour.

Chia Kee Chen suggested to police that two of his friends had taken it upon themselves to teach the former lover a lesson. He said they could have tied the victim to a tree to let him suffer from ant bites.

While he denied having anything to do with it, Chia told police that he could help them locate Mr Dexmon Chua Yizhi's body in Lim Chu Kang.

This emerged on the third day of Chia's murder trial yesterday, when investigation records and a statement he had given to the police a day after he was asked to help in investigations were admitted into evidence.

Chia is charged with murdering Mr Chua, together with Indonesian Febri Irwansyah Djatmiko, in a borrowed van between the night of Dec 28 and the early hours of Dec 29, 2013. Febri is still at large.

They allegedly confronted Mr Chua at a multi-storey carpark near his home, forced him into a van and assaulted him.

When Chia was interviewed by police on the afternoon of Jan 1, 2014, he said he had borrowed the van to transport some fish.

He said Febri, whom he knew as "Yee", had come to Singapore to buy some fish.

Chia said he told Yee about his wife's affair with Mr Chua. He also mentioned a Malaysian friend named "Ali", who offered to teach Mr Chua a lesson for $5,000.

Chia told police that Yee and Ali, who knew each other, could have helped him teach Mr Chua a lesson without his consent. He told police that he drove the van home, went out in his own car and, when he returned home, the van was missing from the carpark. He suspected that Yee and Ali had taken the van out.

Chia said Yee later returned with the van. He said he and Yee then went out together, returned to his home, and went out again. But this time, he said Ali was with him.

When the officer asked how Ali had suddenly come into the picture, Chia replied that he was confused.

The officer then asked Chia if he had something to hide. At this point, Chia said he could help locate Mr Chua's body.

Six hours later, police tendered a murder charge against him.

Responding to the charge, Chia said: "I did not touch Dexmon Chua." He said he was in the vicinity but did not go to the carpark near Mr Chua's home on the night of Dec 28. The trial continues.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2016, with the headline 'Murder suspect denies ever laying hand on wife's ex-lover'. Print Edition | Subscribe