Man dead after two punches to face; attacker still at large

The incident occurred at a coffee shop at Block 303, Anchorvale Link in Sengkang at around 10pm on July 8, 2015. PHOTO: GOOGLE STREETVIEW

SINGAPORE - A dispute over money led to a fatal brawl that left catering safety officer Tay Eng Soon, 53, dead after his attacker punched his face twice.

Mr Lim Keow Chye, 49, also kicked Mr Tay's stomach after the latter, who worked for flight service provider Sats, fell to the ground.

In a coroner's inquiry on Wednesday (March 29) into Mr Tay's death, the court heard Mr Lim, who is named as a potential defendant, is believed to have left Singapore shortly after the incident at a coffee shop at Block 303, Anchorvale Link in Sengkang at around 10pm on July 8, 2015.

The investigation officer, Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Arun Guruswamy, who took the stand, said he could be in Malaysia.

Singapore police have also asked their Malaysian counterparts to catch Mr Lim. But so far, there have been no credible leads on his whereabouts.

ASP Arun said Mr Tay, his wife and his two friends had gone to the coffee shop that evening for a meal and drinks.

Mr Lim, his older sister and his three friends were seated at another table, drinking beer.

ASP Arun said: "Investigations further revealed that (Mr Lim) had an ongoing dispute with the deceased and his wife over donations which the deceased's wife had collected for a temple in Thailand."

A CCTV footage taken from a camera at the eatery was played in court on Wednesday, which showed Mr Lim standing near Mr Tay's table in an aggressive manner at 10.09pm.

Mr Lim appeared to be exchanging angry words with them and was observed gesticulating wildly with his hands.

Two minutes later, he marched over to Mr Tay, who was then seated on a chair. Mr Lim suddenly grabbed the latter's neck before punching his face twice.

ASP Arun said after the blows, Mr Tay appeared disoriented and collapsed onto the ground.

A scuffle soon broke out. At one point, Mr Lim was seen shoving Mr Tay's wife, Madam Ng Lee Kiam, who fell down.

He then walked towards Mr Tay and kicked his stomach once before walking away at 10.13pm.

Madam Ng managed to lift her husband up and sat him on a chair. The father of two sons remained unresponsive.

An ambulance later rushed him to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and he was pronounced dead about 2½ hours later.

Following an autopsy, an associate consultant forensic pathologist found that he died due to bleeding within the subarachnoid space, which is the area between the brain and the tissues that cover it.

State Coroner Marvin Bay will deliver his findings on Wednesday afternoon.

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