Substance abuser jailed for stabbing female tenant and threatening to detonate bomb in flat

Lay Chee Leong stabbed himself multiple times in the neck and chest before turning the knife on one of his tenants. He was sentenced to 6 ½ years' jail on Thursday.
Lay Chee Leong stabbed himself multiple times in the neck and chest before turning the knife on one of his tenants. He was sentenced to 6 ½ years' jail on Thursday.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - An unemployed man who stabbed himself multiple times in the neck and chest before turning the knife on one of his tenants was sentenced to 61/2 years' jail on Thursday.

Lay Chee Leong, 39, admitted last October to stabbing Chinese national Wang Aiyan, 27, and threatening another tenant that he would detonate a bomb in the flat. There was no bomb.

He also said he would fill the flat with liquid petroleum gas (LPG) before igniting the vapours to kill everyone in the flat. Lay, his parents and three tenants were in the flat at the time.

The incident happened at a block in Yishun Street 22 on March 23 last year. Two other charges of criminal intimidation and attempted suicide were taken into consideration in sentencing.

Ms Wang, then working as an electronic component assembler, and her two female colleagues, also from China, were occupying a room in the flat.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Lim Yu Hui said Lay had stabbed himself repeatedly in the chest and neck with a 22cm-long knife at about 5.30am that day. He then kicked the tenants' room door open and confiscated their mobile phones as he did not want them to call the police.

Ms Li Hui, 35, was so frightened, she covered her face with a blanket. Lay told her to remove the blanket and pointed the knife at her and Ms Liu Weina, 20.

He left to make a phone call and returned to the room, saying: "Since I'm already like this, it does not matter if I kill another one or two."

He also told the tenants not to open the door for the police or he will detonate a bomb inside the flat.

Lay made them clean up the blood stains on the floor, and warned them not to try anything funny or "he would gas the entire house with LPG and light it up so that they would all die together", said APP Lim.

Lay then stabbed Ms Wang in her neck, before pointing the knife at her friends and said: "Don't think I don't dare to do it."

By then Lay's mother had alerted her 59-year-old brother who lived nearby. When he arrived, he took the knife off Lay.

Lay was taken to hospital with multiple superficial stab wounds to his neck and eight stab wounds to his chest.

Ms Wang had a life-threatening 1.5cm stab wound on the left side of her neck. She was treated and given about three months of medical leave.

The prosecution submitted that Lay's psychiatric disorders had a "substantive contributory link" to the grievous hurt offence at the time.

He had symptoms of paranoia and heard voices telling him to hurt the tenants for trying to harm him when none had done anything to antagonise him.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Lee said Lay poses a danger to the public if he relapses while abusing substances including cough mixture.

DPP Lee added that there is a need to ensure that Lay's incarceration is long enough to supervise his abstinence from substance abuse and wean him off his dependence.

District Judge Low Wee Ping, who backdated Lay's sentence to March 24, said Lay needs an environment with no access to the substances he had been abusing, and a period long enough for his treatment.

Lay, who previously received at least 50 strokes of the cane for a litany of crimes including robbery with hurt and unlicensed moneylending, could have been jailed for life or up to 15 years' jail with fine or caning for causing grievous hurt with a deadly weapon.

The maximum punishment for criminal intimidation is 10 years' jail and a fine.