REMBAU, Negeri Sembilan - A Malaysian father and his Singaporean son who were charged over the death of an alleged robber were out on bail on Wednesday after their murder charge was reduced to death by negligence.
The bail for part-time cook Moo He Hong, 57, and Moo Wee Keong, 29, was set at RM8,500 each (S$3,196). The duo had spent 23 days in remand.
"I feel very relieved that a miracle happened with a lot of help from you all (media). We really appreciate that," said the son.
"All my father and I wanted was to snatch the knife away. We do admit that we beat (him), but it's a robbery so we tried to snatch the knife away,'' he told reporters, adding that he and his father did not tie up the man Chan Boon Poh.
His mother, Singaporean Kuek Soo Lan, told reporters that she was very happy about the outcome.
"We will all go back together. All of our family and friends in Singapore will be very excited to see them again after so long," she said.
The case will be tried on April 30 at the Gemas court.
Their lawyer Gobind Singh Deo had earlier told The Straits Times that the amended charge of death by negligence, which carries "two years' jail maximum and a fine”, is “a far more minor one compared to murder, which carries the death penalty”.
Madam Kuek, a 52-year-old Singaporean who works as a promoter at supermarket chain Giant, was slashed by a parang-wielding robber in the wee hours of Feb 24 while visiting her Malaysian husband's family in Negeri Sembilan over the Chinese New Year period. She and her husband arrived at their Malaysian house - located in a remote and dimly-lit area - at about 12.30am on the day of the incident. As Madam Kuek was walking to the front of the house, she said that a masked man rushed out from the shadows and attempted to grab her bag. Her husband and her son managed to pin down the man.
Her husband then drove her to a nearby clinic for treatment without waiting for the police to arrive. He returned 15 minutes later to the house to discover that Chan had died. Madam Kuek was told by the police that Chan had died from "chest injuries probably caused by multiple blows to the area".
Madam Kuek suffered slash wounds on her left arm and fingers, which required 25 stitches. She has not worked since the incident and has yet to regain full mobility in her fingers.
(Additional reporting by Lee Min Kok)