Originally sentenced to hang for murdering a taxi driver, Chinese national Wang Wenfeng wiped away tears on Wednesday after he was sentenced to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane instead.
Wang, 35, is the fifth murderer on death row to be re-sentenced following changes to the law which give judges the discretion to impose either the death penalty or life imprisonment in certain categories of murder.
All five cases have resulted in the original death sentences - mandatory under the old law - being commuted to a life term, together with caning.
In Wang's case, the prosecution argued that the death penalty should remain as there was a need to deter violent crimes against taxi drivers. But the High Court said that the ends of justice are served by a life term and 24 strokes.