Sorry

In our report, ‘Previous convictions did nothing to restrain him’ on Aug 12, we reported Jeron Liew Wei Jie was jailed eight years and given 24 strokes of the cane for attacking Mr Kelvin Gan Teck Xiang, 18.

This is incorrect. The correct sentence was 8½ years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane and this was also for two other offences Liew had committed – robbery with hurt, and drug use.

We are sorry for the error.

Tags: Crime, Court and jail

Hostess on trial for killing roommate in Geylang apartment

They were colleagues at a karaoke lounge and compatriots who shared a room in a private apartment in Geylang.

Then one of the hostesses allegedly slashed and stabbed the other to death in their flat in February 2013.

Ms Zhao Jinhua, 26, a Chinese national, was found dead with over 90 injuries - most of them bruises and scratches - but with three wounds so serious they could have caused death on their own.

Yesterday, her roommate Jiang Yumei, 32, a fellow Chinese national, appeared in the Supreme Court and claimed trial to one count of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Jiang was initially facing a murder charge, but the prosecution amended the charge before the trial started.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Mohamed Faizal said in the prosecution's opening statement that Jiang attacked Ms Zhao in their Lorong 9 Geylang flat sometime between 11pm on Feb 11, 2013, and 10am the next day.

Jiang is said to have repeatedly slashed Ms Zhao's head, face, neck and arms with a cleaver until she collapsed onto the ground and became motionless.

Even after Ms Zhao was on the ground, Jiang continued her assault, DPP Faizal said.

He also said that Jiang, at some point, also used a knife to stab Ms Zhao at least three times.

After the assault, Jiang allegedly attempted to clean up the place before meeting her friend, Mr Jimmy Ho, whom she confided in about what had happened.

POLICE REPORT

Mr Ho then took Jiang to Bukit Merah Neighbourhood Police Centre, where she made a police report.

Yesterday, Health Sciences Authority's senior consultant forensic pathologist Paul Chui took the stand and said he found at least 92 injuries on Ms Zhao during the autopsy.

Three injuries were serious enough on their own to have killed her.

One was a gash on the back of Ms Zhao's neck that damaged the membrane around the spinal cord and left it swollen.

He said that such a deep injury could have caused spinal shock, a condition in which the nerves stop functioning, and paralysis of the limbs and lower body.

Ms Zhao died from the multiple injuries, he said.

Defence counsel Leo Cheng Suan said his client was asleep when Ms Zhao, allegedly armed with a knife, sat on her and grabbed her throat.

Jiang then flipped her roommate off her back, grabbed the knife and hacked Ms Zhao, he said.

But Dr Chui pointed out that there was a lack of bloodstains on the bed and the nearby wall to corroborate Jiang's version of events.

"You need to explain where the blood is," he said.

If convicted, Jiang faces life imprisonment or up to 20 years' jail and a fine. The trial continues today.


By the numbers

90

Number of injuries inflicted by Chinese national Jiang Yumei on her roommate, Ms Zhao Jinhua

Tags: Court, Crime and Geylang

Uber driver in Bugis fight jailed, fined

An Uber driver who cursed at and exchanged blows with a Land Transport Authority traffic warden at a Bugis Junction taxi stand was yesterday jailed for a day and fined $2,000.

Goh Kok Ling, 60, who no longer drives for Uber, admitted to fighting with traffic warden Tan Hock Guan, 51, disturbing the public peace, and uttering a vulgarity in Hokkien on Nov 27 last year.

Tan, who is no longer a traffic warden, had received a similar sentence in May.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Daphne Lim said Tan was standing at the entrance of the taxi stand when he directed Goh, who was driving a Toyota Corolla Altis, not to enter.

He indicated that the Uber driver should proceed to the pick-up and drop-off point instead.

Unhappy, Goh told Tan to speak to his passenger, who wanted to be picked up from the taxi stand.

They had an exchange of words, and then got into a fight, which was broken up by a passer-by.

Goh had bruises on his chest, tenderness over his left cheek and two missing teeth. Tan had abrasions over his left knee.

Tags: Singapore, Uber and Crime

Tank plunges into river, 3 killed

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Tags: army, Accident and Politics

New life for old escalators

Escalators at 42 MRT stations to get refurbished

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Tags: Singapore, Transport and mrt

EZ-Link starts ERP payment system

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Tags: Singapore, Traffic and ERP

Minister addresses concerns about Employment Claims Tribunal Bill

The new Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT) Bill was passed in Parliament yesterday.

While Members of Parliament lauded the Bill (see above), some voiced concerns to Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, who responded.

Mr Faisal Manap (Aljunied GRC) felt that foreign domestic workers as a group needed attention the most.

He said: "Domestic workers are among the most vulnerable workers in Singapore due to the power their employers have over them...

"If they are not covered from the start, requiring them to approach MOM (Ministry of Manpower) would perpetuate all the downsides of the current dispute settlement mechanisms that ECT is trying to resolve."

Mr Faisal proposed that MOM indicate the timeline for when domestic workers will be included in the ECT.

Mr Lim said it already has separate mechanisms in place for domestic workers, but MOM will look at adding them to the ECT in the future.

Mr Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) was concerned with the time frame of the mediation process.

He said: "I would like to propose that the first mediation session be held at least 14 days after it is referred to the approved mediator.

"The Bill currently does not stipulate a time frame as a guideline for mediation cases to be resolved, which I believe, can open a loophole for exploitation."

Mr Lim said the first session of mediation will be made within 14 days.

Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok GRC) said that as a lawyer with a practice involving employment disputes, he was concerned that in certain situations, there may be an "inequality of arms between an employer and employee before the Tribunal", especially when the employer is represented by a legally-trained employee.

He felt that a possible way to address such cases is to allow the Tribunal to appoint an assessor on an ad hoc basis, much like when a District Judge deems it fit to call upon "a person of skill and experience in the matter to act as an assessor".

Mr Murali also highlighted a disadvantage to an employee because of the need of compulsory mediation imposed by the Bill.

He gave an example of an unsuccessfully mediated dispute coming before the Tribunal, but before the claim is heard, the employer withholds salary, giving rise to a second dispute.

Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) also expressed his concern for "low-wage elderly workers who have received little formal education and have a poor command of English".

VULNERABLE

This group of vulnerable individuals should also be protected at the ECT, he said.

Mr Ng said: "In such cases, there is usually a significant power differential between employees and employers, even if interpreters are provided.

"Allowing them representation or assistance by solicitors, agents or McKenzie friends (people who assist a litigant in person in court) will ensure fair outcomes are achieved."

On legal representation, Mr Lim said having a lawyer would work against the worker, putting him at a disadvantage as he would not be able to afford one.

And should the case become complex, then it should be argued in civil court, he said.

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