Accomplice of 'One-eyed Dragon' jailed 20 months

He helped notorious gangster flee to Malaysia after fatal shooting

Ho Yueh Keong (middle) was sentenced to 20 months in jail for harbouring one of Singapore's most notorious gangsters, Tan Chor Jin.
Ho Yueh Keong (middle) was sentenced to 20 months in jail for harbouring one of Singapore's most notorious gangsters, Tan Chor Jin. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A decade ago, Malaysian Ho Yueh Keong helped one of Singapore's most notorious gangsters flee to Malaysia after a gangland-style shooting of a nightclub owner.

Yesterday, the 43-year-old Ho, who was caught only last year, was sentenced to 20 months in jail for harbouring Tan Chor Jin - dubbed the "One-eyed Dragon" as he was blind in one eye.

Tan had sparked an international manhunt after he repeatedly shot Mr Lim Hock Soon in his Serangoon Avenue 4 flat on Feb 15, 2006.

While driving him into Johor, Tan had admitted to Ho that he had killed Mr Lim, but the latter never went to the police, fearing the consequences for himself, the prosecution accused.

"This is not a case of mere inadvertence to inform the authorities; (Ho) wilfully and deliberately withheld such information, for fear of the consequences that would certainly follow to himself," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wen Hsien. "His continued silence about the commission of the offences for the next nine years shows an utter lack of remorse."

But Ho's lawyer Kertar Singh argued that he was shocked when he realised Tan had killed Mr Lim.

"His mind was in a whirl; he was unable to think straight and did not know what to do... He found himself between the devil and the deep blue sea."

And when Ho later found out about Tan's arrest, which came in a Kuala Lumpur hotel 10 days after the killing, he took it to mean that the matter was closed.

Ho, who is unemployed, is married with a three-year-old child and is the sole breadwinner of his family in Johor, Mr Singh told the court in mitigation. He also pays maintenance for his two children from a previous marriage.

Tan, better known as Tony Kia to his associates, was part of the Ang Soon Tong gang which operated in both Malaysia and Singapore.

He often hired Ho to drive him from Malaysia to Singapore, and paid him $50 to $100.

In late 2005, Tan bought a Beretta pistol. On Feb 14, 2006, Tan asked Ho to drive him from Malaysia to Singapore in a Malaysian-registered dark blue Kia car.

The next day, Tan fired six rounds from his pistol at Mr Lim at his flat at about 7am - five bullets hit his victim.

Before killing the nightclub boss, he made Mr Lim tie up his wife, maid and teenage daughter.

Ho drove Tan into Malaysia at about 8.20am. He later drove Tan to Penang in the latter's BMW before heading back to Muar in Johor. Tan gave him RM500 before they separated. A few days later, Ho called Tan to say he wished to surrender, but Tan told him not to do so and he obeyed him.

Tan was found guilty of discharging a firearm and hanged in 2009 at the age of 42.

But Ho remained at large for nine years and was caught only when he tried to leave Malaysia for Batam. He was extradited in July last year.

Ho pleaded guilty on Monday to one charge of harbouring a fugitive. Another count of concealing information about the murder was taken into consideration.

Ho's sentence was backdated to his remand date on July 15 last year.

For harbouring a person who committed a crime punishable with death, Ho could have been jailed for five years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2016, with the headline 'Accomplice of 'One-eyed Dragon' jailed 20 months'. Print Edition | Subscribe