SINGAPORE — A man who fled Singapore nine years ago after he was charged for attacking his ex-girlfriend’s friend was arrested in 2019 when he tried to enter Singapore.
Peh Kok Wah, 40, had assaulted the 19-year-old victim with a screwdriver when he was 28 years old. He then went on the run to Thailand, where he started a family.
The victim, Ms Tie, bears a scar on her face due to the incident. Tie reported that she felt “ashamed and uneasy” due to her scar.
Peh was jailed for six months on Wednesday (26 August) after he pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to Tie with a screwdriver, and also slapping, punching and kicking her.
The incident occurred on 11 September 2008 at about 1.45am after Peh had been drinking with his friends at a pub in Boat Quay. He spotted his ex-girlfriend, How Shu Min, at a pub where Tie worked at. Peh and How had broken up months earlier.
Peh then called How, wanting to meet her outside the pub. When How refused, he threatened to cause trouble outside the pub and she relented.
After the meetup, Peh insisted on sending How home. Tie and another friend, Teng Shao Chin, accompanied Peh and How onto a taxi at about 2.35am.
During the journey, Tie began quarrelling with Peh, blaming her for convincing How to break up with him. Tie had done so as Peh was ill treating How.
As the taxi was travelling along Clementi Avenue 6, Peh demanded the taxi driver to stop the vehicle. Tie asked the driver to drop them off at the police station but the driver stopped by the roadside.
Pointing a screwdriver at How’s stomach, Peh then demanded that she alight from the taxi with him. When How refused, Peh tried to pull her out. Tie also tried to pull How back.
Tie and How were forced to alight, while the other friend, Teng, paid the taxi and alighted. The taxi drove off with some of Tie’s and How’s belongings.
On the road, Peh charged towards Tie with the screwdriver and attacked her face, back and upper body. He also slapped, punched and kicked her. How tried to intervene but was slapped and pushed to the ground. Tie also fell to the ground.
How managed to call her mother on the phone. Peh stopped his assault after speaking to How’s mother. He shouted at How and threatened to return for her before leaving the scene.
How, Teng and Tie, who was pale and felt faint, then boarded another taxi to lodge a police report. Tie was conveyed to a hospital where she was found with abrasions, swelling and tenderness on her body. She sustained scars under her right eye and left elbow.
Peh was charged with the offence on 9 July 2010. He was supposed to attend a hearing on 28 April 2011, when he was supposed to plead guilty. However, he failed to turn up for the hearing and was found to have left Singapore. A police order was issued for his arrest.
It was not until 20 August 2019 that Peh tried to enter Singapore. He was detected at Changi Airport and arrested.
In mitigation for Peh, his lawyers Cory Wong and Josephus Tan said that their client had made $5,560 in compensation for the cost of eight sessions of Tie’s laser treatment, as well as $120 in Accident and Emergency fees for the victim.
Although Peh fled, he was tired of running and surrendered later, said the lawyers.
During his time on the run, Peh found a girlfriend and settled down with her in a farm in Thailand. He was arrested before he could see his son, who was born on 22 January this year.
“With the current COVID-19 climate, non-essential overseas travel had long been halted... and Mr Peh therefore has not been able to physically see or hold his girlfriend and their son for many months now. He thus misses them so very dearly,” added the lawyers.
Peh intends to marry his girlfriend and put the past behind him, which is why he decided to return to set the record straight, said the lawyers, who sought no more than three to four months’ jail for Peh.
For causing hurt with a weapon, Peh could have been jailed up to seven years, or fined, or caned, or any combination of the penalties.
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