A man diagnosed with schizophrenia pleaded guilty to killing his adoptive father and grievously hurting his adoptive mother and girlfriend in the High Court on Monday (12 February).
Singaporean Su Caizhi, 30, admitted to one charge of culpable homicide for causing the death of 72-year-old Pang Tee Lin, by stomping on his face and chest. The assault took place in the Bedok Reservoir Road flat they shared on 31 December 2015.
Su also admitted to voluntarily causing grievous hurt to 69-year-old Wong Ah Boey at the flat on the same day, and to another count of a similar nature involving his then-girlfriend, 34-year-old Melissa Foo Fern Yin, whom he strangled until she passed out before punching and kicking her.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of wrongfully confining Foo and her ex-husband in their home during a separate incident on 21 December 2015. Su had used a padlock to secure the front gate of Foo’s home and put superglue into keyhole of the padlock used on the home’s rear gate, hence preventing Foo and her ex-husband from leaving the premises.
One count of voluntarily causing hurt to Foo when she confronted him about the locks; one count of committing mischief by spraying black paint on Foo’s house on the same day; and one count of criminal intimidation by threatening Wong on 31 December 2015, will be taken into account for Su’s sentencing.
Strange behaviour, IMH diagnosis
Su was five years old when he was adopted by Pang and Wong from Hainan, China, in 1992. The couple changed Su’s name to Pang Kee Hiang and raised him in Singapore, although Su changed his name back in September 2015.
The couple did not have any other children and worked as hawkers selling curry rice until August 2014, when they retired and sold their stall for some $100,000.
In 2012, the couple observed Su behaving abnormally by smiling and mumbling to himself and walking around the neighbourhood aimlessly. Pang then brought Su to Changi General Hospital (CGH), where he was prescribed medication.
Su did not take his medication and was later referred to the Institute of Mental Health in July 2012 by the police after he stole documents belonging to other patients while at CGH. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and given antipsychotic medication to be taken every evening.
Between July 2012 and December 2015, Su was admitted to IMH at least seven times after he experienced hallucinations and delusions. He also demonstrated aggressive behaviour towards his father and Foo.
Su, who had a history of alcohol abuse, was also diagnosed with drug-induced psychosis during one of his admissions.
Following his discharge from IMH, Su managed to find a job at an air freight company in 2013 – which he resigned from eight months later. From 2014, he remained unemployed and spent most of his time on his computer in his bedroom.
He became acquainted with Foo in June 2014 and the two started dating in October that year. Over the following year, the two broke up and got back together several times.
In 2015, Su began dabbling in forex trading and various businesses with money he borrowed from his adoptive parents. He also obtained money for an accounting course which he did not complete and spent the rest of the money on himself and Foo.
Altogether, he spent $70,000 from the funds that the couple obtained from selling their hawker stall.
After being admitted to IMH for another episode, Su was discharged on 9 December 2015. However, he stopped taking his medication after three days and began experiencing psychotic symptoms once again.
Day of violence
At around 6.15am on 31 December 2015, Foo visited Su’s flat where he demanded to have anal sex with her while they were in his bedroom. When Foo refused his request, Su began choking her until she lost consciousness.
While she was passed out, Su continued to punch and stomp on Foo’s face while also kicking her in the thigh and hitting her chest.
Wong, who was in the kitchen washing plates at the time, tried to open Su’s bedroom door when she heard Foo shouting for help but was unable to as it was locked. Assuming that the couple was having another tiff, Wong then returned to the kitchen to continue her chores.
After the onslaught, Su went to the kitchen to take his medicine but found that his medication container was empty.
Su claimed that voices in his head then told him that Pang had hidden his medicine which drove Su into a rage.
Su stormed into the master bedroom where Pang had just woken up and accused his adoptive father of having taken away his medicine. Su then punched Pang, causing the latter to fall to the floor. He then stomped on Pang’s face a few times.
Pang began bleeding from his head, mouth and nose but Su continued to kick Pang, who did not retaliate and tried to shout for help. After a while, Su returned to his room, leaving Pang on the floor coughing up blood.
Wong later entered the room and was shocked at the state her husband was in. She then confronted Su over the attack, but fled when he started walking towards her.
Su caught up with Wong in the living room where he pushed her onto the couch and banged her head against the wall three to four times. He then slapped her, punched her face and kneed her in the stomach.
While attacking her, he said in Mandarin, “I want to hit you till you die”. After a few moments, he returned to his bedroom and shut the door.
Meanwhile, Foo, who had regained consciousness when Su was assaulting Wong, went to hide herself in the master bedroom. When she saw Pang lying on the ground, she immediately called the police.
When officers arrived at about 7.37am, they found Foo crying in the master bedroom. After calling an ambulance, officers arrested Su, who was sleeping on his bed. Officers also seized four packets containing a sticky yellow substance, which was later discovered to be glue, and two empty beer cans from Su’s bedroom.
Pang was conveyed to CGH where he was found to have severe traumatic brain injury, facial fractures, rib fractures and a spinal fracture. As Pang’s condition deteriorated, he was eventually terminally extubated on 9 January 2016.
Foo, who was also conveyed to CGH, was found to have facial and rib fractures, along with bruises and lacerations on her face. She underwent surgery and was discharged on 7 January 2016.
Wong, who also suffered a facial fracture, was discharged on the same day of the incident.
The prosecution, represented by Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Ong, asked for at least 18 years’ jail for Su, arguing that although Su was impaired by his mental condition, he was not of unsound mind and knew what he was doing was wrong.
The DPP said that it was “reprehensible” that Su had assaulted his adoptive father, who had raised him for over 20 years and “unstintingly” gave Su the bulk of the proceeds from the sale of their stall, which he squandered away.
“Disturbingly, (Su) repaid (Pang and Wong’s) kindness with savagery – he inflicted senseless violence on both his adoptive parents and unleashed tragedy on the home,” she said.
The prosecution said that Su also lacked familial support, which “weighs heavily in favour of a substantial imprisonment term” as it would provide Su with the “much-needed structured environment to ensure his treatment and stabilise his condition”.
Su’s lawyer Nakoorsha A K, who was assigned by the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, asked for a sentence of not more than 12 years and no caning as Su’s mental condition “substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts, leading to the alleged offence”.
According to his lawyer, Su was emotionally distant from his adoptive parents who worked long hours as he was growing up.
“He never received love and attention when he was young; he grew up fending for himself. There were no birthday celebrations. There were no new clothes.
“When he entered polytechnic, he had been ostracised by his classmates due to his tattered clothes,” the lawyer said, adding that Su had anger management issues for which he was referred to school counsellors.
Nakoorsha added that Su had also stopped taking his medication as it was not working for him.
Su will be sentenced at a later date.
For culpable homicide, Su could be jailed for up to 20 years, fined, caned or receive a combination of the three punishments.
More Singapore stories: