Man pleads guilty to hiring hitman to kill ex-lover's boyfriend

American journalist's tip-off leads to arrest of 47-year-old here before the planned date

Consumed by jealousy, a risk management executive went on the Dark Web to hire a hitman to murder his former lover's boyfriend in a staged car accident.

But the executive was arrested after a journalist in the United States tipped off the Singapore authorities about the planned hit.

Yesterday, Allen Vincent Hui Kim Seng, 47, pleaded guilty in court to one count of intentionally abetting "Camorra Hitmen" to kill Mr Tan Han Shen, 30.

Hui was a married man when he started an extramarital relationship with Ms Ng Woan Man, one of his colleagues, on April 22, 2016. They continued with the affair even after he left their firm in November that year. Details about the firm were not revealed in court documents.

Ms Ng, who was also 30 then, ended the relationship in February last year after realising he had no intention of leaving his wife.

The woman met her new boyfriend while working at another firm, and they started dating on April 27 last year. When Hui found out, he became jealous and stalked her to find out more about the man.

On May 6 last year, he went to the Camorra Hitmen website and asked for Mr Tan's right hand to be cut off.

While there was no mention in court documents of whether the people Hui communicated with on the Dark Web were real hitmen or scammers, the Camorra is an Italian mafia-type crime syndicate.

The court heard that Hui later amended the order and asked for Mr Tan "to be rendered unable to use his right hand for life" instead.

Hui was told he would have to pay the hitman only after the job was done. But before that, he had to transfer sufficient bitcoins into his account on the Camorra Hitmen website as proof of his ability to pay.

 JONATHAN CHOO
Allen Vincent Hui Kim Seng being taken to the State Courts in May last year. He pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of intentionally abetting "Camorra Hitmen" to kill a 30-year-old man. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace Chua told District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan: "In accordance with Ca-morra Hitmen's instructions, the accused purchased 0.03 bitcoin valued at $600 on a bitcoin trading website and transferred the bitcoin into his Camorra Hitmen account to facilitate the hit."

Three days later, Hui waited near Ms Ng's flat and spotted Mr Tan taking her home in a car. After noting down the vehicle's number plate, he tailed the man to Hougang in his own car, the court heard. Hui then contacted Camorra Hitmen and wanted acid to be poured on Mr Tan's face. He also transferred about $3,000 worth of bitcoins to his Camorra Hitmen account.

However, Camorra Hitmen later told him that they were against the use of acid as it made avoiding detection more difficult. They suggested that the man be killed instead in a staged car accident or robbery. The court heard that on May 10 last year, they told him that the price of a kill job was an additional US$5,000 (S$6,800).

Hui, who found this price too steep, asked for a staged car accident to leave Mr Tan crippled for life. He transferred another $3,200 worth of bitcoins to his Camorra Hitmen account.

DPP Chua said: "However, a few hours later, the accused changed his mind again as he was still intent on murdering the victim.

"He tried to bargain with Camorra Hitmen and asked if they could still proceed with the kill job if he added another US$1,000 worth of bitcoin into his account. Camorra Hitmen affirmed that they could do so."

 
 

The DPP added that the murder was to take place between 7pm and 8pm on May 22 that year.

But on May 12 last year, a journalist from US-based media company CBS contacted and informed the Singapore Embassy in Washington about the "hit". Court documents did not say how the journalist found out about the plan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs alerted the Singapore Police Force, and officers arrested Hui five days later. Hui's case has been adjourned to Sept 4 for mitigation and sentencing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2019, with the headline 'Man pleads guilty to hiring hitman to kill ex-lover's boyfriend'. Print Edition | Subscribe