SINGAPORE - After finding out that his girlfriend had lied about her age and was seven years older than him, a man repeatedly threatened to kill her if she did not pay back the money he had spent on her.
On the night of July 11, 2019, Chinese national Chen Jianhua, a cook, 31, confronted club hostess Ye Yuhuan, 38, near her workplace in Race Course Road and demanded that she withdraw a police report she had made against him.
When she refused, Chen stabbed her with a knife and bit off part of her left earlobe during the attack outside Muthu's Curry restaurant.
On Tuesday (Feb 23), Chen was sentenced to 5½ years' jail after he pleaded guilty in the High Court to one charge each of attempted culpable homicide, criminal intimidation and trespassing into her room. A theft charge was taken into consideration.
In sentencing, Justice See Kee Oon said: "The attack on the victim was vicious, causing serious injury and permanent scarring."
The judge noted, however, that Chen "came to his senses" after stabbing the victim and had helped stop her bleeding and surrendered himself to police at the scene.
The court heard that Chen befriended Ms Ye on the social networking platform WeChat. Between February and June 2019, he bought her gifts and helped her out financially. The pair regarded themselves as a couple although they were not physically intimate.
In July 2019, their relationship soured as Chen suspected that she was working more than a host in a "flower joint" as she claimed.
On July 7, 2019, at about 8pm after the victim had gone to work, Chen went into her room at her hostel without her permission to look through her things.
After forcing the door open, Chen found a China train ticket and a Singapore disembarkation card with her particulars and was shocked to learn that she was seven years older than him.
Chen then stole items including an iPhone 6 Plus and two red packets containing $800.
He contacted her over WeChat and confronted her for cheating and lying to him. He tabulated the amount he had spent on her and demanded to get his money back.
In the chat, Chen sent two audio messages threatening that they would "die together" if she did not pay him back.
Over the next few days, he continued demanding money from the victim.
On July 9, 2019, the victim discovered that her things were missing and told Chen that she would be making a police report.
Chen, worried that he might be sent back to China, then bought a knife, intending to stab her with it if she insisted on going to the police.
On July 11, Ms Ye lodged a police report after Chen contacted her relatives in China to complain about her and told her he would be going to her workplace.
After getting a call from the investigation officer, Chen became enraged. When he called his family in China to complain that he had been cheated, his mother advised him not to do anything stupid.
After work, Chen retrieved the knife and headed for Ms Ye's workplace.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Dora Tay told the court: "He felt that he was prepared to kill her and then die himself when he is punished by the law subsequently."
After spotting Ms Ye and her friends, Chen began arguing with her, but the victim refused his demands and tried to walk away.
Chen took out his knife, pulled the victim towards him and stabbed her body from the front. He then hugged her and stabbed her neck and back in downward motions.
While doing so, he bit off part of her earlobe and spat out the torn flesh. He stabbed her with such force that the blade of the ceramic knife broke into two.
After he saw the victim bleeding, Chen threw his knife into the nearby bushes and called the police. Several passers-by also called the police after witnessing the attack.
The torn flesh was recovered and later surgically reattached.
Ms Ye was warded for seven days, and given 14 days' hospitalisation leave on discharge.
Her wounds were not expected to result in permanent disability, although they would leave visible scars, said the prosecutor.
A psychiatric assessment found that Chen was suffering from adjustment disorder, which impaired his mental responsibility for his actions.