Man pleads guilty to hurting woman with kitchen knife

SINGAPORE - A 23-year-old man who felt very stressed attacked a woman with a kitchen knife in September last year so that he would feel better.

On Tuesday (March 23), Neo Hong Wei pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to a woman with a 31cm-long kitchen knife at the car park near Block 412, Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3.

He has been in remand since the incident.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jun Chong said Neo felt very stressed while he was at home that day and thought of "doing something bad" so that he could feel better. He had been off anti-psychotic medication for three days.

He took the knife with a 17cm blade from the kitchen and left home.

At the carpark, Neo made eye contact with the woman, who was walking towards him, and took the knife out from behind him. The woman, who did not know Neo, ran away but he gave chase.

While running, she tripped and fell. Neo slashed her head and body repeatedly while she tried to block the blows. She managed to get up and run away, screaming for help while Neo pursued her.

An off-duty police officer who was in his flat heard the woman screaming and saw Neo running after her with a knife. He rushed downstairs, borrowed a hoe from a construction site and approached Neo at the carpark.

When the officer told Neo to put the knife down, he shouted "why" and started slashing his own forearm. With the help of members of the public, the officer disarmed Neo and tied him up with a rope.

The woman suffered multiple lacerations and abrasions on her head and body.

Psychiatric assessment by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) found that Neo had a psychotic disorder but "he was not so psychotic as to have abdicated his mental capacity to know right from wrong".

The IMH report dated October last year added that Neo is at risk of acting violently towards others and is unlikely to be compliant with psychiatric treatment if left to his own devices.

District Judge May Mesenas asked for Neo to undergo another medical examination so as to better understand his medical condition and if it contributed to his offences.

Neo's lawyers, Mr Josephus Tan and Mr Cory Wong from Invictus Law Corporation, said that when they visited him in Changi Prison, he had been taking his medication.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2021, with the headline Man pleads guilty to hurting woman with kitchen knife. Subscribe