What started as a catch up over some drinks between two friends spiraled into an argument followed by one causing the death of another.
The two friends, Tay Yang Leng, 61 and Yip Fok Weng, 58, ran into each other in a convenience store at Lavender MRT station at about 4.40 pm on June 27 last year and decided to catch up over some drinks.
They proceeded to hang out at a coffee shop at nearby Block 803, King George’s Avenue and over seven hours, consumed 16 bottles of beer.
At around midnight, they reportedly started arguing after they left the coffee shop.
Tay gave a forceful shove to his friend, Mr. Yip, causing the latter to fall to the ground. In a court hearing, District Judge Mathew Joseph heard that Tay then rained multiple blows on his friend, and continued hitting Mr. Yip even after the victim fell down at least twice.
A 28-year-old woman, who was then walking her dog, ran towards the men when she saw Tay repeatedly punch Mr. Yip’s head. She told them to stop fighting but Tay replied that it was “just a friend thing”.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Yi Ling added: “The witness then tried to separate the two men. However, the accused persisted in kicking and punching the victim. The witness saw that the final punch landed on the deceased’s right cheek and caused him to fall backwards and hit his head against the kerb.”
Following that, Mr. Yip remained motionless. The woman alerted the authorities after Tay left the scene in a taxi. Tay was later arrested on July 6.
When conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Mr. Yip remained comatose and was admitted to the Neurological Intensive Care Unit.
A day after he developed a high fever, Mr. Yip died of pneumonia that year (July 21, 2017). An autopsy report revealed that he had suffered multiple injuries including fractures to his skull.
Unrepresented by a lawyer, Tay told the court: “I know this is my karma…I will not drink again in the future,” and pleaded for the lightest possible sentence.
On Friday (May 11), Tay was jailed for four and a half years for causing grievous hurt to his friend. In addition, before handing out the sentence, the judge told Tay that he had committed a vicious attack and was “just a whisker away” from facing a charge that carries a capital sentence.
Offenders convicted of causing grievous hurt can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned. Tay is exempted from caning as he is over 50 years old.