SINGAPORE - The prosecution has sought a sentence of at least five years' jail for a man who went on the Dark Web to hire a hitman to murder the boyfriend of his former lover in a staged car accident.
On Monday (Sept 9), Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan told the court that risk management executive Allen Vincent Hui Kim Seng, 47, was unable to move on and "remained obsessed" with his former girlfriend, Ms Ng Woan Man, 30, stalking her "incessantly".
The DPP added that after finding out she had a new lover, Mr Tan Han Shen, also 30, Hui took a series of calculated steps to engage a hitman-for-hire to orchestrate the younger man's murder.
He told District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan: "The accused's engagement of Camorra Hitmen to murder a stranger was not only a cold-blooded but highly sophisticated act which involved significant planning and premeditation, and leveraged on the convenience and anonymity of the Dark Web, a platform notorious for illegal activity."
The court heard that the Dark Web contains websites that are not indexed by search engines such as Google.
It is accessible only by special software where users and website operators can remain anonymous as well as untraceable.
Defence lawyer Lee Teck Leng, who pleaded for a sentence of 2½ years' jail, said that "no potential harm" was caused by his client's offence, and that Camorra Hitmen was a scam.
He highlighted two articles, one of which had appeared in July last year on British newspaper The Times' website, entitled "Hire-a-hitman website is a scam and its owner has made a killing".
Mr Lee said the report stated: "The website which goes under various names including Chechen Mob, Russian Mafia and Cosa Nostra has been linked to the arrest of a deacon in Minnesota, a businessman in Singapore and a retired family doctor from Bournemouth."
The lawyer said that Hui was the "businessman in Singapore" referred to in the report.
He said the other article, entitled "The unbelievable tale of a fake hitman, a kill list, a darknet vigilante... and a murder", was published in Wired magazine last December.
The article contained "extensive interviews" with a man known as Chris Monteiro, a "British vigilante".
Mr Lee said Mr Monteiro had also provided US-based media company CBS with details about conversations from the "hitmen website".
The lawyer said: "CBS subsequently tipped off the police. Those tips triggered investigations and arrests, one of which was in Singapore - (and) was actually the accused's case."
In response, DPP Kumaresan said it was "dangerous" for the court to place any weight on the articles, stressing that it is not known for a fact that Camorra Hitmen was a scam.
The website's name could be a reference to the Camorra, an Italian Mafia-type crime syndicate.
On July 17, Hui, who is married and has a young daughter, pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally abetting Camorra Hitmen to kill Mr Tan.
Hui started an extramarital relationship with Ms Ng on April 22, 2016, but she ended the affair in February last year when she realised he had no intention of leaving his wife.
About two months later, Ms Ng started dating Mr Tan.
Consumed by jealousy, Hui went on the Camorra Hitmen website on May 6 last year and asked for Mr Tan's right hand to be cut off.
He later asked for the younger man to be killed in a staged car accident and the murder was to take place between 7pm and 8pm on May 22 that year.
Hui was told that he would need to pay the hitman only after the job was completed.
Before that, he had to transfer sufficient bitcoins into his account on the Camorra Hitmen website as proof of his ability to pay.
But on May 12 last year, a CBS journalist told the Singapore Embassy in Washington about the "hit".
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs alerted the Singapore Police Force and officers arrested Hui five days later.
He will be sentenced on Sept 18. For intentionally abetting Camorra Hitmen to kill the man, he can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.