This article was first published in The New Paper on Jan 9, 2016
SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - A Chinese New Year greeting mistakenly sent to a former lover led to the death of Mr Dexmon Chua.
Months later, his decomposed body was found abandoned in a military live firing area near Lim Chu Kang Road.
For his part in the grisly revenge killing, former town council cleaning supervisor Chua Leong Aik, 66, was on Friday (Jan 8) jailed five years.
He had earlier pleaded guilty in the High Court to one charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt and one charge of abduction.
Mr Dexmon Chua, 37, was working as a materials analyst for Tetra Pak when he got to know Madam Serene Goh, now 49, in 2003.
She is married to Chia Kee Chen, 55, and lives in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 2. Mr Dexmon lived nearby at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4, so he and Madam Goh often took the company transport together.
About the case
Material analyst Dexmon Chua was reported missing by his family on Dec 29, 2013.
His father found his glasses and droplets of blood on his car at a nearby Choa Chu Kang multi-storey carpark after he did not return home the previous night and could not be reached.
Chia Kee Chen, 55, was arrested on Dec 31, 2013. The next day, he led officers to a live-firing area in Lim Chu Kang, where Mr Dexmon's decomposing body was found. Mr Chua's arms and legs were bound.
Chia has been charged with murder and abduction. His case is still pending.
The third man, Indonesian national Febri Irwansyah Djatmiko, 33, is still at large.
Mr Dexmon and Madam Goh became close in July 2011 and started an affair the following month, carrying out their trysts in his car after work.
But this came to an end a year later, when they started quarrelling more often. They still communicated over the phone.
Later that year, Chia found romantic messages on his wife's phone and confronted her.
She admitted to the affair and said there were videos and pictures of her having sex with Mr Dexmon, which she feared he would spread.
Upset, Chia called Mr Dexmon using Madam Goh's mobile phone and scolded him in Hokkien, telling him to end the relationship and threatening to beat him up if they resumed their fling.
Some time after that, when Chia picked up his wife from work, she pointed out her former lover to him.
On Feb 9, 2013, Mr Dexmon sent a video with a Chinese New Year greeting to Madam Goh over WhatsApp, followed by another message apologising for sending the video by mistake.
But Chia saw the messages and confronted his wife, who insisted the affair was over.
About two months later, Mr Dexmon told his sister that he felt he was being stalked by a driver in a Hyundai car who would often be staring at him as he drove past him at work.
He sometimes saw the same car parked below his block, with the driver staring at their flat.
Mr Dexmon made two police reports.
The first was in December 2012, in which said he had been receiving vulgar and threatening calls and messages from a particular phone number.
The second was in July 2013, when he said that a dark purple Hyundai car had been parked below his block, and its driver staring at his flat.
Police investigations showed that the threatening calls came from a prepaid mobile phone line under Chua's name that was used by Chia. The two men were old friends.
The dark purple Hyundai belonged to Chia's nephew, but Chia often borrowed it.
Chia owned a fish farm in Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia, which was run by an Indonesian man, Febri Irwansyah Djatmiko.
On Dec 24, 2013, Chia told Febri that he was needed in Singapore to help kill someone who had raped his wife and that if it was successful, Chia would set up a business for him in Tanjung Pinang.
Febri agreed and entered Singapore on Dec 26, 2013.
The next day, Chia and Febri went to the substation beside Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4 where Chua was staying.
It was at the substation (above) that they planned the revenge. They would accost Mr Dexmon in a carpark, blocking his way so he would be trapped.
Chia and Febri would lie in wait to pull him into the back of a van, where they would knock him out and beat him up.
When it was agreed upon, Chia called up a friend to borrow a van.
On Dec 28, at about 9.30pm, Chia went to the substation with two knives, an electrode, a torch and a packet of plastic gloves.
The three men drove to the multi-storey carpark at Block 429A, Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4 and waited for Mr Dexmon, who appeared three hours later, at about 1am.
He parked right next to the van.
As he got out to go to the back of his car, the men rushed out of the van and blocked him, trapping him between the vehicles.
Chia asked Mr Dexmon if he could recognise him, but before he could respond, punches him in the face. The three men then beat him up in the first of two savage attacks.
They eventually pushed him into the van through the side door. There, he was electrocuted and passes out.
Chia and Febri tied up their victim's hands and feet while Chua drove towards Lim Chu Kang. During the journey, Chia and Febri continued to beat the victim, hitting him with a hammer-like object.
As he drove, Chua could hear the attack and their captive's moans. There was also a strong stench of blood. The attack was so brutal that it left bloodstains all over the back of the van, including the ceiling.
After a while, Chua stopped the vehicle around Lim Chu Kang, saying he could not take it any more and he got out of the van.
He took a bus back to the substation.
Chia took over the wheel and drove towards the military live firing area off Lim Chu Kang Road.
He and Febri carried Mr Dexmon's lifeless body out of the van and dumped it among the overgrowth in the live firing area.
Later that day, the men left for Malaysia together with Chia's wife and two daughters.
From there, Febri fled to Indonesia while Chia and his family returned to Singapore on Dec 31, 2013. He was then arrested by police. Febri remains at large.
Chia led investigators to Mr Dexmon Chua's badly decomposed body on Jan 1, 2014.
Chua was arrested eight days later.
In mitigation, defence lawyer James Ow Yong said Chua has two young children, aged two and seven, with his second wife and the family is in Indonesia.
He had misplaced his trust in his friend and played a minimal role in the attack.
Justice Kan Ting Chiu noted that he was neither mastermind nor instigator in the attack.
When sentencing Chua to five years' jail, he said: "While not the instigator, the facts show that you have done nothing to stop the assault.
"There was no sign of remorse or compassion and we now know that even when you were called up by the police, you had initially denied knowledge or involvement."
Body dumped after brutal grab
1. Chia Kee Chen and Febri Irwansyah Djatmiko meet Chua Leong Aik at the substation. Chia has two knives, an electrode, a torch and a packet of gloves.
2. In the early hours of Dec 29, 2013, the men accost Mr Dexmon Chua at a multi-storey carpark. After hitting him, Chia and Febri bundle him into the van and electrocute him.
3. As Chua drives the van, Chia and Febri continue to beat Mr Dexmon. After a while, Chua stops the van and gets out. He takes a bus to the substation.
4. Chia drives the van to a live firing area in Lim Chu Kang, where they dump Mr Dexmon's body.
Mr Dexmon Chua’s decomposed body was heavily infested with maggots when he was found. The injuries he suffered included:
Extensive loss of scalp, especially around the front, top and right side of the head
Loss of soft tissue on the face, including both eyeballs
Fractures on his facial bones. His nose was broken and several teeth dislodged
Fractures on his skull
Internal bleeding in the brain
Five broken ribs
Timeline of Events
Aug 2011: Madam Serene Goh, who is married to Chia Kee Chen, starts an affair with her colleague Dexmon Chua.
Nov 2012: Chia discovers romantic text messages from Mr Dexmon to Madam Goh. He confronts his wife, who admits to the affair. She ends the affair.
Feb 9, 2013: Mr Dexmon accidentally sends Madam Goh a Chinese New Year greeting over WhatsApp. Chia sees it and is furious.
April 2013: Mr Dexmon tells his sister he thinks he is being stalked by the driver of a Hyundai car.
Dec 24, 2013: Chia contacts his worker, Indonesian national Febri Irwansyah Djatmiko, saying he needs help killing a man who had raped his wife. He tells Febri to come to Singapore on Dec 26.
Dec 27, 2013: Chia and Febri meet at a substation near where Chia’s old friend Chua Leong Aik is staying and they hatch a plan.
Dec 28, 2013: At about 10pm, the trio leave the substation and drive to a multi-storey carpark in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4. At about 1am, Mr Dexmon appears. The trio attack him.
Dec 29, 2013: Febri goes to Malaysia with Chia, his wife and their two daughters. Febri goes to Indonesia by ferry the next day. Chia returns to Singapore on Dec 31 and is arrested.
Jan 1, 2014: Chia leads police to the live firing area off Lim Chu Kang Road. They find Mr Dexmon Chua’s body.
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