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The Straits Times
March 16, 2021
A 30-year-old man has admitted to assaulting his 68-year-old mother in their home over a few years, even using a metal padlock to hit her in the groin.
Andy Koh Ju Hua, who was a master's student at the time of the offences, starved and attacked his mother when he was stressed with schoolwork.
He appeared before a district court on Tuesday (March 16) via video link and pleaded guilty to four charges of voluntarily causing hurt to his mother by punching her in the face and using his kneecap to hit her genitals, among other acts of physical violence.
The court also heard that he did not allow her to shower or make noise at home.
The woman ran away on several occasions to seek shelter with other family members, was hospitalised and even placed in a safe house, but insisted on returning to her family each time.
She initially refused to make a police report because she did not want to jeopardise her son's future.
Koh's case has been adjourned to March 23.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) said Koh was no longer with the university.
Its spokesman said he was a graduate student and had been on a leave of absence since August 2019. But he did not return to his studies after his leave expired and his candidature was terminated in January this year.
The court heard that the abuse started some time in 2017 and Koh, who claimed to suffer from a psychotic disorder, also kneed his mother in the groin in January 2018.
The woman then called a relative for help. She was found under another block by her niece in an unkempt state and complaining of pain in her lower abdomen. Her niece wanted to call the police but the older woman refused.
When she went to the hospital, she said she had fallen down, in order not to implicate her son.
In December 2018, he hooked a metal padlock around his finger and swung it towards his mother's genital area multiple times because he was "angry over certain issues".
She called her brother for help, and he found her with a swollen face and bloodstains on her gown in her groin area.
She was taken to Sengkang General Hospital and found to have facial injuries including a nasal bone fracture, and bruising in her pubic region.
She was also found to have anaemia which was attributed to a vitamin B deficiency, post-menopausal vaginal bleeding and multiple bruises.
The police were called but she told them that she had fallen in the toilet.
In June last year, her nephew called the police to report the case of family violence after she ran away to a relative's house. They described her state as frail and dirty.
She finally told the doctors that her son had punched her and said she had pain in her lips and chin.
Police investigations found that Koh had punched his mother in the mouth three times.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Magdalene Huang urged the court to sentence Koh to at least 30 weeks' imprisonment, noting that the victim is not only elderly and vulnerable but residing in the same household as Koh.
As his most recent charge occurred after Jan 1, 2020, Koh is liable under the new enhanced provisions for victims in close relationships with the accused.
DPP Huang added that for the charge pertaining to the metal padlock, he had used a weapon and "struck her multiple times (on) vulnerable parts of her body including her private parts".
Calling his manner "especially vicious and cruel", she noted how Koh had earlier denied the offences to the police, and an Institute of Mental Health report found that Koh "displayed a complete lack of remorse".
Addressing the court, Koh said: "I love my mother a lot, I don't know why I did those silly things to her."
Saying that he needed to undergo treatment for his psychotic disorder, he said he hoped to be cured and reunited to "live happily ever after with my mother".
"She is not young any more and I certainly wish to take care of her in her remaining days," he said.