Woman jailed 6 months for threatening social worker and having knife, chopper

On Tuesday (May 30), Neo Mui Liang, 46, was sentenced to six months' jail after admitting to criminal intimidation and unlawful possession of the chopper and knife.
On Tuesday (May 30), Neo Mui Liang, 46, was sentenced to six months' jail after admitting to criminal intimidation and unlawful possession of the chopper and knife.ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - Upset that her supervised access to her newborn son was cancelled, a woman took along a chopper and a knife and threatened a case worker at her office.

On Tuesday (May 30), Neo Mui Liang, 46, was sentenced to six months' jail after admitting to criminal intimidation and unlawful possession of the chopper and knife. Her sentence was backdated to March 10.

Neo, who delivered the baby last October, was found incapable of taking care of him. The infant was placed into foster care by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), which allowed Neo access to her child every Friday from 4pm to 5pm.

On Feb 24, she was told at about 10am that the supervised access that day was cancelled. This was after MSF found out that Neo had a dispute with her boyfriend, and it would not be suitable for her to see her child later that day due to concerns for the baby's safety.

Upset, the unemployed divorcee decided to confront social worker Joanne Tan Pei Yuen, 36, at her Social Services Office @ Taman Jurong as she felt that it was the latter's fault that the supervised access session had been cancelled.

She took along a 15cm-long chopper and a 7cm-long knife and put them in her pants pockets.

When she arrived at the Corporation Drive office, she held the knife against her own neck, and demanded that the counter officer call Ms Tan. The alarm in the building was triggered.

On hearing the alarm, Ms Tan looked down to the lobby and saw Neo holding the chopper in her left hand and the knife in her right. She called the police before going down.

When Neo saw her, she held the chopper at Ms Tan's neck. Ms Tan was later able to push her hand away. Neo was restrained and disarmed.

Neo's lawyer Genesis Shen Luda said his client has a long history of psychiatric disorders including anti-social personality disorder and depression.

He said MSF had "taken away her one source of joy and emotional stability" just as Neo was feeling stressed and upset over an unrelated dispute with her boyfriend.

In the heat of the moment, she took the weapons to the Social Services Office, intending to compel MSF to allow her to see her son, and not to cause hurt or threaten anyone.

The counsel also said Neo had cut her own wrist when confronted by the staff.