Man linked to Orchard Towers murder given conditional warning

Mr Chan Jia Xing's charge was reduced to consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in a public place.
Mr Chan Jia Xing's charge was reduced to consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in a public place.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

One of the seven people linked to the high-profile Orchard Towers murder in July last year has been given a conditional warning.

Mr Chan Jia Xing, 27, was originally charged with the murder of Mr Satheesh Noel Gobidass, 31, along with six others. His charge was later reduced to that of consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in a public place.

On Thursday, Mr Chan was given a conditional warning, which means he has to refrain from any criminal conduct for a year. A conditional warning does not amount to a conviction or a finding of guilt, and does not leave a criminal record.

However, if Mr Chan commits an offence within one year, he can be prosecuted again for the consorting charge and for the new offence.

He is the fourth of seven linked to the Orchard Towers murder to be dealt with. The others are: Tan Hong Sheng, 23; Natalie Siow Yu Zhen, 24; Loo Boon Chong, 26; Tan Sen Yang, 28; Joel Tan Yun Sheng, 26; and Ang Da Yuan, 26.

The group had gone to Naughty Girl Club on the second floor of Orchard Towers in the wee hours of July 2 last year. They were about to leave at around 6.20am when they ran into another group walking in, after which a dispute ensued.

Mr Satheesh was killed after he confronted one of the men involved in the dispute who, along with his friends, attacked him.

Closed-circuit television footage showed Mr Satheesh exchanging blows with some individuals before he stumbled in front of the building's glass doors. He appeared to be bleeding from his neck and died later that morning.


Police officers seen gathering evidence at the entrance of Orchard Towers, on July 2, 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

Speaking to the media outside the State Courts on Thursday, Mr Chan said he had worried about the outcome of his case.

"My parents encouraged me to be strong, and not to do stupid things. I am looking forward to going to work and finding a proper job," Mr Chan said. He added that he has not been in contact with the others involved in the case.

"I will remain crime-free not only beyond this year, but for the rest of my life," Mr Chan added.

Defence lawyer Josephus Tan said he and his client were grateful to the Attorney-General's Chambers for "coming to the right decision", and withdrawing the charge against Mr Chan.

"It's been an arduous journey for him. He is now happily looking forward to the birth of his firstborn next month instead of having to serve time in prison for this very unfortunate tragedy."


Police officers seen gathering evidence at the entrance of Orchard Towers, on July 2, 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

Natalie Siow, the sole woman in the case, was sentenced last Friday to five months' jail. She had pleaded guilty to assault, and to being in the company of Tan Sen Yang, who had a kerambit knife - a curved blade resembling a claw - in his possession at the shopping mall prior to the incident.

Office administrator Joel Tan and hotel receptionist Ang Da Yuan were dealt with in court in March. Ang was sentenced to eight months' jail and six strokes of the cane for assault and being in the company of Tan Sen Yang. Joel Tan was jailed for four weeks for assault.

Tan Sen Yang is the only one still facing a murder charge. His case and those of Tan Hong Sheng and Loo Boon Chong are pending.

Tan Hong Sheng has had the initial murder charge against him reduced to that of consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in a public place. Loo also faces a consorting charge.

Offenders convicted of murder will face the death penalty.

For consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in a public place, one can be jailed for up to three years and caned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2020, with the headline 'Man linked to Orchard Towers murder given conditional warning'. Print Edition | Subscribe