SINGAPORE — Jealous of his former lover’s new boyfriend, a married man hired an assassin on the Dark Web to kill him in a staged car accident.
Within three weeks, Allen Vincent Hui Kim Seng negotiated a deal on a website known as "Camorra Hitmen" and paid the hitman in Bitcoin.
However, the 47-year-old was caught before the "hit" could be carried out when a journalist from the American television network CBS tipped off the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
Hui, 47, who is married with a daughter, pleaded guilty to one count of abetting murder by instigation in the State Courts on Wednesday (17 July). One count of criminal intimidation will be considered for his sentencing.
A love affair gone wrong
The risk management executive was colleagues with his lover, a 30-year-old Malaysian woman, between 4 January and November 2016. They began dating on 22 April that year.
The woman knew that Hui was married, but the latter claimed that he was planning to leave his wife. The affair continued after Hui left the company in November 2016.
In April 2017, Hui suggested sharing a flat with the woman. The woman thus rented a flat and split the cost equally with Hui. But he never kept his promise to move in.
In October 2017, realising that Hui did not intend to leave his wife, the woman began distancing herself from the man. She ended the relationship in February last year but remained on talking terms with Hui.
Hui continued wooing the woman even though she rebuffed his efforts. The spurned lover continued to pay for his portion of the rental and showered gifts on the woman.
He also added the woman as a beneficiary to his Central Provident Fund account and life insurance policy.
The woman later started a new job at a different company and met a 30-year-old man surnamed Tan. The two started dating on 27 April last year.
When Hui found out that the woman was moving on, he became jealous and stalked her.
Between 20 and 27 April, he monitored her social media accounts. He saved an Instagram profile picture of the man he suspected to be his rival.
At the same time, Hui also started searching for ‘hitmen for hire’ on Google, to deal with any new boyfriend in the witness’ life, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan.
Hui then downloaded a Tor Browser to access the Dark Web where he chanced upon the website ‘Camorra Hitmen’.
Hiring a hitman
On 28 April, the woman went out on a date with Tan. During the date, Hui messaged the woman incessantly, and found that she was out with a man. He ordered her to return to the flat in 15 minutes and threatened to kill Tan if he accompanied her.
Despite being alarmed, the woman ignored Hui and returned home at around 10.30pm later that night. She also ignored his messages, frustrating Hui.
He drove to a multi-storey carpark near the woman's flat at 10.30pm to spy on her and the person sending her home. However, the woman was already home by then.
Hui stalked the lift lobby of the flat until 3am the next morning. He left after realising the woman was already home.
After a conversation with the woman on 4 May, Hui realised she was in a relationship with Tan and decided to hire a hitman to "remove him" from the woman's life, said the prosecution.
The next day, Hui researched how to purchase and trade in Bitcoins.
He returned to the ‘Camorra Hitmen’ website and created an account with the user name ‘BakedAlmond2018’. He then sent the website the woman's particulars, asking that the new boyfriend be identified and that his right hand be cut off.
He later amended his order, asking for the woman's boyfriend to be have his hand crippled instead. He instructed the website to make the hit look like an accident.
Hui then transferred $600 worth of Bitcoins into his account on ‘Camorra Hitmen' as proof of his ability to pay.
Hui decided to confirm the identity of Tan on 9 May. When Tan drove by the woman's house, Hui recorded his car plate number and later trailed Tan's car to an estate in Hougang Avenue 10. He wanted to confirm Tan's home address but was unable to.
Changing his mind
Later that day, Hui decided that incapacitating Tan’s right hand was not enough. He amended his order to pouring acid on Tan’s face. He forwarded the save photo of Tan to the website along with Tan’s name and car plate number.
He then transferred $3,000 worth of Bitcoin to the website. ‘Camorra Hitmen’ later advised him against using acid as it was more easily detectable, and suggested killing Tan in a staged car accident or robbery. ‘Camorra Hitmen’ priced the kill job at an additional US$5,000.
Hui found the price too expensive and gave the hitmen a budget of only an additional US$2,000. The two parties settled on leaving Tan crippled for life in a freak car accident. After another exchange, Hui changed his mind again, offering another US$1,000 to have Tan murdered in a staged car accident. The hitman agreed.
The murder was fixed on 22 May, from 7pm to 8pm. Hui chose this timing as he knew that Tan would be dropping the woman off at the airport and did not want his former lover to be injured.
He transferred a further $1,500 worth of Bitcoin to the hitman account. As a last instruction, Hui asked all his communications with ‘Camorra Hitmen’ to be removed so that the murder would not be traced back to him.
Ten days before the supposed assassination, a CBS journalist informed the MFA Washington Mission of a hit ordered against a Singaporean to take place on 22 May. The MFA alerted the Singapore Police Force.
Hui was arrested by the police seven days before his alleged hit. He was ordered by the police to cancel the hit and withdraw all his bitcoins from his Camorra Hitmen account.
Hui will return to court for his sentencing on 4 September.
He faces up to seven years in jail and a fine as the murder was not carried out.
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