Coffee-shop worker fatally slashes patron in Hougang over self-service policy, gets 8 years' jail

A coffee-shop worker got into a heated dispute with an unhappy patron over the shop’s ‘self-service’ policy, fatally slashed him with a cleaver.

The accused, Khor Tzoong Meng, 51, pleaded guilty to culpable homicide and was sentenced to eight years in jail on Monday (July 31). 

The victim, Ang Kim Keat, 37, died in hospital after the attack, which left a gaping 20cm-long wound on his neck. 

According to court documents, on Feb 24, 2016, Khor, who finished his shift earlier, had stayed behind to drink beer at the Hougang Avenue 3 coffee shop.

The victim visited the coffee shop at around 2am on Feb 25, reports The Straits Times

He bought some food from one of the stalls, and ordered a soft drink, which he asked to be sent to his table. 

However, a coffee-shop assistant who was on duty told him that the coffee shop had a ‘self-service’ policy after 11pm.

The upset victim then shouted his order at another assistant, Mr Teo Choong Meng., but was told he had to collect his drink at the counter.

The victim, displeased, shouted at him again.

He eventually sat down and had his meal.

After finishing his food, he threw the plate on the floor, toppled his chair and confronted Mr Teo again.

Mr Teo then reiterated the policy.

The victim, still dissatisfied, walked away.

While he walked off, he confronted Khor and accused him of staring at him. 

Khor apologised, explaining that he was not staring, but the victim hurled vulgarities at him and left.

Saying that he wanted to explain the policy to the victim, Khor took a cleaver and chased after the victim. 

He confronted the victim near a lift landing at the block, and the two got into an argument.

The victim then punched him in the right eye, prompting Khor to slash him in the neck with the cleaver.

The victim collapsed from the wound.

Khor then wiped the cleaver on grass and returned to the coffee shop, while a passer-by alerted the police. 

After he returned to the coffee shop, Khor washed the cleaver and returned it.

He then continued drinking and told Mr Teo that he was in ‘in great trouble’.

Khor was arrested at his home later. 

Khor’s legal representative, Mr Josephus Tan, said that an eye witness had seen Khor speaking softly to Mr Ang, and it was the victim who had resorted to violence first. 

Mr Tan said that things spiralled out control when the victim punched him in the eye, and asked for no more than seven years in jail for Khor. 

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Daphne Lim asked for a sentence of 10 to 12 years imprisonment.

She cited that Khor could have let the matter slide, but insisted on arming himself and following the victim when it was clear the confrontation would result in violence.