West Coast death: Paramedic asked accused repeatedly for help

SCDF paramedic Elroy Chan (pictured), who tried to resuscitate Mr Tan Kok Keng on Feb 10, 2015.
SCDF paramedic Elroy Chan (pictured), who tried to resuscitate Mr Tan Kok Keng on Feb 10, 2015.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - The businessman accused of causing his father's death in their West Coast Rise house last year had sat in a daze as a paramedic trying to resuscitate the elderly man asked him repeatedly for help.

Mark Tan Peng Liat, 30, was sitting on a chair "in a daze" and seemed "shocked" as Singapore Civil Defence Force paramedic Elroy Chan asked for help to move his father's body.

He did not respond when asked a second time, said Mr Chan, who took the stand on Friday (July 8), the second day of Tan's trial for culpable homicide.

Tan was said to have put his father Mr Tan Kok Keng, 67, in a headlock and chokehold after a quarrel on Feb 10. The older man was sent to hospital and later pronounced dead.

 
 

Originally accused of murder, his charges were reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder last October.

Mr Chan said Tan also had a belated reaction when asked about what happened earlier that day.

"What surprised me was, people are usually very pro-active at providing history because it (involves) their loved ones," said Mr Chan.

When asked a second time, Tan told the paramedic that he had a quarrel or fight with his father and pinned the older man on the floor.

After that, his father stopped breathing.

When the ambulance arrived, the senior Mr Tan was lying on the floor in the second level master bedroom, his face turning blue.

Mr Chan said this suggested Mr Tan could have been in respiratory distress. There could have been deprivation of oxygen, resulting from the patient not breathing for a while, his heart stopping.

On Thursday (July 7), Tan's paternal aunt Madam Tan Hoon Choo, 72, took the stand to recall events of that day. Her younger brother's maid had come to her house "hysterical" and crying, asking for help around 5.40pm.

Tan was "pale" and looked "bewildered and lost" outside the house when she hurried over. She then found her brother lying in the master bedroom, unresponsive.

The court also heard that both men had a "very good relationship," and that Mr Tan, a taekwondo black belt who exercised regularly, was proud of his son.

The Straits Times understands the accused's position is that his father's death was "accidental" and he had been trying to restrain the older man, who had become violent.