Daughters of man who killed wife in Singapore ‘not ready’ to take him back
SINGAPORE, Jan 23 — With the time he had already spent in remand taken into account, retired aircraft technician Kong Peng Yee, 69, was released from jail on October 16 last year, the day he was sentenced for killing his wife during a psychotic episode.
But he has remained a “voluntary” patient at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) because his family is not ready to take him back, the Court of Appeal heard on yesterday.
Prosecutors are seeking a heftier sentence than the two-year jail term meted out by the High Court — the shortest ever for intentional culpable homicide, as Justice Choo Han Teck said punishment was “probably not the most appropriate response to a man like (Kong)”.
They had previously called for nine years’ jail for Kong, but did not submit a recommended sentence yesterday.
Deputy public prosecutors Tan Wen Hsien, Sarah Shi and Daphne Lim argued that the High Court had placed undue weight on Kong’s mental condition and failed to accord due weight to his awareness of his actions and the knowledge that his acts were wrongful.
“If the present manifestly inadequate sentence is allowed to stand, justice would neither have been done, nor been seen to be done, especially when one considers the extremely brutal and vicious manner in which the deceased met her death,” they wrote their submissions.
The Court of Appeal — comprising Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Judges of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang and Judith Prakash — reserved judgment to a later date to pose more questions to IMH psychiatrist Kenneth Koh.
Menon, for instance, wanted to know if there is a material risk of a relapse of Kong’s mental disorder if he were to stop taking his medication. He also wanted to know if Kong’s prospects for recovery would be enhanced in a structured environment such as the prison.
According Dr Koh’s report dated January 3, Kong’s psychotic episode has been in remission since May 4 last year.
Kong had stabbed and hacked his wife of 36 years, Wong Chik Yeok, to death on March 13, 2016, in their four-room Sengkang flat.
He inflicted a total of 189 injuries on his wife, 63, as he was having delusional thoughts that his family might want to kill him. After attending a church service and taking a nap, he stabbed his wife from behind while she was folding the clothes, then moved in front of her and repeatedly stabbed her.
He then took a chopper and began hacking her.
A psychiatric assessment found Kong to have suffered from psychotic delusions which significantly affected his mental responsibility for his action.
The condition could have originated from the severe depression he sank into from mild physical impairments such as constipation and insomnia, suffered after a cataract surgery two months before the killing.
Asked by Tay yesterday if Kong’s daughters, aged 27 and 36, were unwilling or unable to take him back, defence lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said the family was still dealing with the trauma of losing their mother to Kong’s psychotic episode and are still trying to come to terms with his sentence.
Sudheesan read a letter by the daughters stating they are aware their father requires long-term follow-up at the IMH and believe a “qualified and round-the-clock medical team is pertinent to the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of our father”.
When they are ready to take him back, their care programme will include ensuring he receives “24/7 monitoring and care” from heathcare providers, encouraging him to attend chapel services at medicare centres, providing support in medication management and ensuring he goes to the IMH for treatment and reviews. — TODAY