Woman jailed for knife attack on tenant

Tam Wai Leng, 37, was jailed for nine months yesterday (Dec 8) after she pleaded guilty to cutting Mr Soon Ah Kwang on his nose, scalp, arms, right ring finger, palm and lip at a flat in Commonwealth Drive.
Tam Wai Leng, 37, was jailed for nine months yesterday (Dec 8) after she pleaded guilty to cutting Mr Soon Ah Kwang on his nose, scalp, arms, right ring finger, palm and lip at a flat in Commonwealth Drive. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

Suffering a relapse of schizophrenia after she skipped her medication, a cook used a knife to attack an elderly tenant for throwing away sardines and luncheon meat meant for her dinner.

Tam Wai Leng, 37, was jailed for nine months yesterday after she pleaded guilty to cutting Mr Soon Ah Kwang on his nose, scalp, arms, right ring finger, palm and lip at a flat in Commonwealth Drive.

She had returned home at about 11.30pm on July 10 this year, and cooked instant noodles.

She also prepared sardines and luncheon meat and placed them on the dining table before taking a shower.

When she was about to have her dinner, she realised the sardines and luncheon meat were missing from the table.

She questioned Mr Soon, 77, who had been living in the unit with her for about 10 years. He said he had thrown them away.

Agitated, Tam kept asking him why he threw away the food, but he ignored her.

She went to the kitchen, grabbed a 19cm-long knife and started to stab and slash the victim on the forehead and arms.

He shouted at her to stop and ran towards the lift landing. A neighbour called the police.

Mr Soon had to be warded in hospital until July 15.

An Institute of Mental Health report stated that Tam had suffered a relapse of her schizophrenia. She had failed to take her medication and defaulted on her medical appointments.

The report also said she suffered from mild intellectual impairment, and this, coupled with her mental disorder, was a strong contributing factor to her crime.

It added that she would need long-term treatment in a structured environment, with close monitoring to ensure she takes her medications.

She could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for causing hurt with an instrument meant for cutting.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2016, with the headline 'Woman jailed for knife attack on tenant'. Print Edition | Subscribe