AT THE COURTS

Man, 85, accused of killing long-time partner in dispute over room

An 85-year-old man allegedly hacked his 79-year-old long-time partner to death with a chopper after she refused to let him occupy a bigger room in their flat.

Pak Kian Huat, alias Pek Kiah Huat, was due to plead guilty on Friday to a reduced culpable homicide charge for killing Madam Lim Soi Moy in their flat in Lorong 4 Toa Payoh. However, he disputed many details of the incident, which happened at about 3.30am on Sept 1, 2019.

The hearing started with Pak's lawyer applying to discharge himself. Mr Jonathan Wong said the original capital murder charge was reduced on the condition that Pak pleaded guilty, but his client now wanted the death penalty.

When Justice Aedit Abdullah clarified this with Pak, the accused said that the sentence of seven years' jail that his lawyer was seeking was too long.

Pak suggested not more than five years' jail. The prosecution is asking for 15 to 18 years.

When the facts of the case were read out in court, Pak repeatedly interjected to dispute details, including autopsy findings that the victim had 54 wounds.

When the judge asked if he had counted the wounds after the attack, Pak replied that he had not.

The court heard that Pak and Madam Lim met in the 1950s.

They never married but lived together and had four children, who are now in their 50s. Their relationship became strained over the years, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang.

From 2004, the couple lived in a flat with three bedrooms.

Of the two larger rooms, one was occupied by Madam Lim while the other was reserved for their elder daughter and elder son, who were based abroad, when they returned to Singapore.

Pak occupied the smallest room but slept in the other room when the children were not in town.

In the early hours of Sept 1, 2019, Pak took a chopper from the kitchen and attacked Madam Lim after she allegedly turned down his request to continue occupying the bigger room even after the return of their elder son.

Pak disputed this on Friday, saying that Madam Lim had told him to leave the flat.

The case was adjourned for the prosecution to decide whether it wants to proceed on the original charge or reduced charge.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2022, with the headline Man, 85, accused of killing long-time partner in dispute over room. Subscribe