Teen who threatened landlord fined $4.5k, then jailed a week for contempt

SINGAPORE - A teenager who called his criminal intimidation trial "biased" and a "sham" while being cross-examined on the stand was sentenced to a week behind bars for contempt of court on Thursday.

This was on top of the total fine of $4,500 that Pierre Chng Yuheng was given on two counts of threatening his landlady at Paya Lebar Crescent in May 2013.

After a five-day trial, the 19-year-old was convicted of threatening to "ruin" Madam Khoo Kim Cheng, her child and grandchildren and of pointing a 1m-long tree branch at her to cause her alarm.

The full-time national serviceman is appealing. Bail of $5,000 was offered and his passport has been impounded.

The judge granted a stay of execution with regard to the criminal intimidation charges, meaning that Chng has to serve his jail term for the contempt charge.

The court heard that Madam Khoo had rented part of her house to Chng's mother at $1,500 a month from February 2013.

But the family, also comprising Chng and his two siblings, failed to pay after March and 56-year-old Madam Khoo wanted to evict them.

She turned up with an air-conditioning technician on May 2 that year and was abused by Chng and his younger brother who took pictures of her.

Chng told her: "I'll look for you 6 feet underground even if I have to... I'll exhume you. Don't worry. And your grandchildren and children, I'm gonna look for them."

Madam Khoo recorded a video clip of the incident, and of the second one on May 22 that year when she returned with two men to lock up the meters as the family had still not paid their rent.

The latter footage showed an angry Chng shouting at one of the workers and hitting a lorry with a branch, before walking towards Madam Khoo with it.

District Judge Lim Keng Yeow said Chng showed an appalling lack of remorse and insisted he was innocent. He also chided him for his "deplorable" court conduct by making allegations against the prosecution.

After fining him, the judge commenced contempt of court proceedings. Chng pleaded not guilty to acting in a manner which scandalised the court on Feb 4 this year.

As well as accusing the court of being prejudiced, he also tried to have the case transferred to the High Court. He could have been jailed up to two years and/or fined for each count of criminal intimidation. The maximum punishment for contempt is six months' jail and a $2,000 fine.