Man charges at 74-year-old smoker who falls and dies after confrontation over smoking in void deck

Samuel Devaraj
The Straits Times
Feb 3, 2023

After having breakfast at Hougang Mall, Allan Chua Kim Wee was on his way home when he spotted an elderly man smoking at a void deck.

Wishing to file a complaint with the authorities, Chua took photos of the man with his smartphone, and a confrontation ensued.

When he saw Mr Ng Sioh Leng advancing towards him holding a walking stick, Chua charged at him and hit him. The 74-year-old man fell, and died later that day.

On Friday, Chua, 36, pleaded guilty to one charge of voluntarily causing hurt which causes grievous hurt.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Koh Yi Wen said Chua, a customer due diligence analyst at Standard Chartered Bank, was on his way home from Hougang Mall at about 10.30am on Dec 25, 2021, when he spotted Mr Ng smoking while seated on one of the benches at the void deck of a Housing Board block in Hougang Avenue 5.

While he was taking photos of Mr Ng with his smartphone, Chua also confronted him about smoking at the void deck.

Mr Ng responded by chasing Chua around a pillar twice, but DPP Koh said Chua was able to easily evade him by back-pedalling.

After a short while, Chua left and headed towards the lift lobby of the block. But when he arrived there, he saw Mr Ng advancing in his direction.

Said DPP Koh: “(Chua) then lowered his stance and charged towards the deceased, using his right shoulder to hit the deceased in the stomach area. The deceased fell backwards from the impact and hit the back of his head on the ground of the void deck.”

Noticing that Mr Ng was unresponsive after his fall, Chua called the police at 10.40am to request medical assistance. In the call, Chua was apologetic and said he retaliated after a man wanted to attack him with a stick.

Mr Ng was later taken to the emergency department of Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he was found to have numerous head injuries.

He was admitted to an intensive care unit, where he died at 10pm that day. An autopsy certified the cause of death as severe head injury.

DPP Koh asked the court to sentence Chua to four years in jail, saying Chua had initiated and continued the confrontation, and that there was a disparity in size and physical condition between the two men.

Chua’s lawyer Ranjit Singh said his client has a strong sense of civic-mindedness and that he raises an average of three to four concerns a month on the OneService portal to provide feedback on estate issues, including high-rise littering and dirty public areas.

Mr Singh added that his client is deeply traumatised and remorseful over what happened, and urged the court to impose a sentence of 24 months.

Chua will return to court next Wednesday for sentencing.

For voluntarily causing hurt which causes grievous hurt, he could be jailed for up to five years, fined up to $10,000, or both.

The Straits Times

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