Kovan murder victim’s friend: I don’t recognise alleged murder weapon
Victim's fishing buddy says accused's drawing of alleged weapon shows serrated knife they don't use
He wanted to visit his friend on the afternoon of July 10, 2013 but his call went unanswered.
The next day, Mr Sherman Loh found out that his friend, car workshop owner Tan Boon Sin, 67, and his son had been killed, Mr Loh told the High Court yesterday.
He was one of two witnesses who testified yesterday at the trial of Iskandar Rahmat, a former police officer accused of murdering Mr Tan and his son, Mr Tan Chee Heong, 42.
Mr Loh, a 66-year-old fishing enthusiast, had known Mr Tan, who was his car mechanic, since the 1970s.
He last saw Mr Tan alive when they had lunch together at the Singapore Swimming Club on July 9, the day before Mr Tan's death, he said.
The next day, he called Mr Tan at about 3.30pm because he wanted to visit him. But there was no response.
Later that evening, a mutual friend told him about a hit-and-run accident involving Mr Tan's car, a silver Toyota Camry with the registration plate number SGM 14J.
They used to go on fishing trips together, Mr Loh said, adding that his friend walked with a bad limp because of pain in his knees.
"(Mr Tan) had a passion for fishing. Just having a bad knee or a bad back like myself, it doesn't stop us. Life has to go on, we cannot just lie there," he said.
Responding to a question from Justice Tay Yong Kwang, Mr Loh said the other anglers in their group would help Mr Tan with his equipment whenever he had to board a boat, especially if it was from a floating platform.
He also told the court about how he was involved in helping to identify Mr Tan's fishing equipment in a shed and a cupboard behind the kitchen of Mr Tan's house.
On July 18, Mr Loh went to Mr Tan's home at 14J Hillside Drive, where he met police investigators.
Among the equipment were three small knives, whose lengths including the blade, measured between 13cm to 20cm. They were used for cutting bait and filleting fish when they went fishing.
Shown Iskandar's drawing of the alleged weapon used to stab Mr Tan and his son, Mr Loh said: "This drawing indicates it's a serrated kind of knife. We do not use serrated knives when we go fishing.
"(We) prefer smooth-edged knives. Serrated knives are not practical because when you cut bait, there isn't a clean cut.
"We like our bait clean-cut."
Pressed by defence lawyer Shashi Nathan, Mr Loh admitted that he was not completely sure if Mr Tan had other fishing knives that were not kept in the shed with the rest of the equipment.
WEAPON NOT FOUND
Despite an extensive search, the weapon that Iskandar allegedly used to stab the father and son was never found.
The prosecution believes that Iskandar went to the house intending to rob and kill Mr Tan, but his defence team maintains that it was a theft gone horribly wrong, and that their client was acting in self-defence.
The trial continues on Monday when about half a dozen witnesses, including the caretaker of a nearby school, a neighbour's former domestic helper, and pathologist Gilbert Lau, are scheduled to testify.
Accused told at hearing to settle debt or face action
Deputy Superintendent of Police Borhan Said
Despite facing disciplinary action from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) for financial embarrassment, Iskandar Rahmat (above) not only allowed his debt to go unpaid but even made a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Borhan Said, 63, told the court yesterday that he began disciplinary proceedings against Iskandar in a hearing on April 15 in 2013.
The Police Disciplinary Board officer said it was the first time that he met Iskandar.
He read Iskandar the charge of financial embarrassment and told him of the penalties if he was found guilty.
The penalties included a reduction in rank, no salary increment and even dismissal from the SPF.
The hearing, which is similar to a court trial with a prosecuting and defending officer, was adjourned to July 10 that year.
When the hearing resumed that day, DSP Borhan asked Iskandar if he had sorted out his $65,000 debt to OCBC Bank.
Iskandar said he had not because he had recently gone on a minor pilgrimage, or Umrah, to Mecca.
DSP Borhan told the court that he gave Iskandar "fatherly advice", telling him to prioritise his present problems and pay off the debt.
Iskandar then said that he was going to get money from his cousin to pay off his debt. Investigations have shown that he has no such cousin.
The disciplinary hearing was adjourned to a later date after Iskandar was interdicted following his arrest.
ABOUT THE CASE
On July 10, 2013, the body of Mr Tan Chee Heong, 42, was found with stab wounds at a taxi stand outside Kovan MRT Station, where it had been dislodged after being dragged nearly 1km by his father's car.
The blood trail led back to 14J Hillside Drive, where the body of Mr Tan's father, Mr Tan Boon Sin, 67, was found with multiple stab wounds in his home.
Iskandar Rahmat, 36, then a police officer with the Bedok Police Division, is now on trial for the double murder.
Iskandar, who was facing disciplinary proceedings because of a $50,000 debt to OCBC Bank, fled to Malaysia that night. He was arrested in a popular Johor Baru eatery two days later.
The prosecution says that Iskandar had hatched an elaborate plan to rob and kill Mr Tan Boon Sin to alleviate his money problems.
His defence team, experienced criminal lawyer Shashi Nathan, Ms N. Sudha Nair and Mr Rajan Supramaniam, who were appointed by the Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences, maintain the incident was a theft gone wrong with tragic consequences.
The trial continues on Monday.