SINGAPORE - An accomplice of infamous gangster Tan Chor Jin, who drove him out of Singapore an hour after he shot dead a nightclub owner, was on Monday (Aug 8) convicted of harbouring the fugitive.
Ho Yueh Keong, 43, who had been on the run for nine years, pleaded guilty to the crime.
Another charge of concealing information about the murder will be taken into account when he is sentenced on Wednesday (Aug 10).
A two-day trial had been scheduled to begin on Monday morning on the two charges, but Ho opted to admit to his crimes.
The court heard that Ho, a Malaysian also known as "Moh Tang", often drove Tan Chor Jin from Malaysia to Singapore in a Malaysian car. He was paid between $50 and $100 in return.
In late 2005, Tan, who was also known as "One-eyed Dragon" because he was blind in one eye, bought a Beretta 0.22 calibre pistol. Around January 2006, Tan told Ho he wanted to kill nightclub owner Lim Hock Soon.
On Feb 14, Tan asked Ho to drive him to Singapore in a Malaysian-registered dark blue Kia car. While in the car, Tan mentioned he might meet Mr Lim, but did not say why. Tan brought along his pistol.
Tan and Ho entered Singapore via Woodlands Checkpoint at about 4.45pm and went to Block 515, Hougang Avenue 10, where they rested for the night.
The next morning, Tan fired six rounds from the Beretta pistol into Mr Lim at his Serangoon Avenue 4 flat. Five bullets hit Mr Lim, killing him.
Tan fled to Block 515, Hougang Avenue 10, where he woke Ho up and asked him to drive back to Malaysia.
While in the car, Tan told someone over the phone that he had killed Mr Lim. Ho later asked Tan if he had indeed done so, and Tan said he shot him using his pistol and threw the gun into a river.
Ho drove Tan into Malaysia via the Woodlands Checkpoint at about 8.20am. They headed for Ho's home in Larkin, Johor Baru.
Ho later drove Tan to Penang in Tan's BMW, before heading back to Muar in Johor. Tan passed Ho RM500 (S$167) before they separated.
A few days later, Ho called Tan to say he wished to surrender. But Tan told him not to do so and he obeyed.
Tan was arrested in the early hours of the morning on Feb 25, 2006, in Kuala Lumpur. He was brought back to Singapore on March 1, 2006.
He was originally prosecuted for murder, but the charge was later amended to discharging a firearm.
The High Court rejected his defence of being drunk, accidentally firing the shots, and acting in self defence. Justice Tay Yong Kwang labelled his actions as those of an "assured and accomplished assassin" and sentenced him to death.
Tan was executed on Jan 9, 2009.
Ho was arrested by Malaysian police when he tried to leave Malaysia for Batam, Indonesia, and extradited on July 13 last year.
For harbouring a person who committed a crime punishable with death, with the intention of screening him from legal punishment, Ho faces up to five years in jail and a fine.
The maximum punishment for omitting to give information about a crime is six months' jail and a fine.