Man eats snack peacefully at a stall. 2 men mistakes him for someone else and attacked him.
He runs but the 2 men go after him. He defends himself with a fishing knife which he had in the pocket stabbing a number of times the attacker on the leg, attacker dies. Court finds that excessive force is used in when defending himself so sends him to jail for 3.5 years.
Please Singaporeans when 2 or more people attack you for no reason, please don't panic and remember the law, do not retaliate with excessive force, try to stay within the law and react rationally as these people punch you.
What if the jailed victim (Neo) was dead in the first place?
Odd-job worker killed man two years ago. When dad learns truth, he says...'OWN UP, SON'By Crystal ChanMarch 14, 2006 Print Ready Email Article
Do you get him to surrender or ask him to hide?
That was the dilemma facing Neo Eng Kiat's father. Wanting to be known only as Mr Neo, he said he was clear what had to be done.
He told his son to surrender to the police, because he felt sure his son would not be charged with murder and end up on death row.
Eng Kiat, 26, was attacked by a man in a case of mistaken identity. He fought back by stabbing him. (See report below.)
His victim - Raymond Yap Choon Teck, 23 - later died from his injuries.
After the incident, Eng Kiat went home and told nobody. He even kept it from his father, who he is close to.
LOCK HIMSELF IN ROOMClick to see larger imagePolice officers at the scene of the crime after the killing on 29 Aug, 2003. --LIANHE WANBAO
But the father knew something was wrong. His son would lock himself in his room and leave their flat only to go to work.
Then the police came looking for Eng Kiat in May last year. It was almost two years after the stabbing.
Eng Kiat was at work at that time. When he came home, Mr Neo, 49, sat him down.
Said Mr Neo, a sub-contractor: 'I asked my son if he had done anything wrong. And if he didn't, why would the police be looking for him?
'That was when my son confessed that he had killed someone in a fight.'
Mr Neo was shocked and distressed. He said his son was not a violent person.
The question that went through his mind then: Now what?
'I told him that there's no point running away from the police because the law would catch up with him eventually,' said Mr Neo.
Be a man, he told his son, and surrender. His wife agreed with him.
Then they prayed.
Eng Kiat was eventually charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder. He had escaped the gallows.
He pleaded guilty and was jailed 3 1/2 years last Monday .
His mother, Mrs Neo, wept as she said: 'To outsiders, it is a light sentence. But to us parents, it seems like forever.
'Every time we sit down for a meal, we lose our appetite when we realise Eng Kiat's absence.
'It's enough that we're upset. We don't want our relatives to be sad too.'
Mr Neo and his wife, a factory worker, have another son who is doing National Service.
They still find it hard to accept that their elder son is now in prison.
They said that Eng Kiat didn't go out looking for trouble.
But he did stab his victim even after the man had fallen to the ground.
Mr Neo's only consolation was that the killing was not pre-meditated.
'I read the papers every day and I know the difference between murder and manslaughter. A murder is a planned killing while manslaughter is an unintended killing,' said Mr Neo.
Mr Neo said that his son had acted out of self-defence. If he wasn't charged with murder, he would escape the death penalty.
'My son was beaten up by two complete strangers. If he had been killed instead, who would be responsible?' said Mr Neo.
The family is now trying to keep his jail term from their relatives, especially Mr Neo's mother. They are Chinese-educated.
'My mother isn't in good health and she dotes on her grandchildren,' said Mr Neo.
'Eng Kiat is my mother's favourite grandchild and I don't want her to be dealt a blow.'
They have told relatives that he has gone abroad to work. They hope the lie will hold.
Said Mr Neo: 'Right now, my family just wants to put this matter behind us and look forward to my son's release from prison.'
Eng Kiat failed his O levels in 1995 and lost his job as an apprentice with an air-conditioning company when it folded. He ended up doing odd jobs.
Mr Neo said that after his son admitted the killing to him, they approached lawyer Kertar Singh and told him everything.
That was in June last year.
On 13 Jul last year, Eng Kiat, accompanied by his father and Mr Singh, surrendered to the police.
Mr Singh, in his mitigation, said that Eng Kiat, a fishing enthusiast, went fishing a few days before the incident and had left the knife in his jeans pocket.
He said: 'When the fight broke out, Neo suddenly found the knife on him and used it to protect himself.'
But Mr Singh also said that Eng Kiat had acted 'beyond the parameters of private defence'.
'My client stabbed the victim after the latter fell down and lay on his back. So there was definitely an intention to cause injury.'
The Neos are still bitter over the circumstances that landed Eng Kiat in jail but they hope to move on.
Said Mr Neo: 'If the victim hadn't beaten up my son, this wouldn't have happened. If you were attacked without reason, wouldn't you retaliate too?'
Neo used fishing knife to defend himself
NEO Eng Kiat was eating a snack and browsing through handphone accessories at a night market at Serangoon North Avenue 3 when he was approached by Raymond Yap Choon Teck, 23, at about 7.30pm on 29 Aug, 2003.
Yap, a salesman, mistook Neo, 26, for a man who had assaulted him previously.
Yap and his friend, Tan Boon Kwang, who was unemployed, then attacked Neo.
Neo managed to escape towards the junction of Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 and Serangoon North Avenue 3, a short distance away. But he ran into the same duo there.
Another fight broke out.
This time, Neo realised he had a knife in his jeans pocket and stabbed Yap repeatedly on his legs after the latter fell.
Yap and his friend took a taxi to Ang Mo Kio Community Hospital but he died at 8.10pm.
An autopsy showed that Yap had died of stab injuries to the arteries in his left thigh.
In his mitigation, Neo's lawyer, Mr Kertar Singh, said that his client was at the mercy of his assailants, whom he described as 'a bunch of bullies'.
Mr Singh also pointed out that Yap had taken ketamine on the night of the attack.
'The accused, who had never been placed in a situation like this, acted on impulse when he found his personal safety and life in danger,' Mr Singh said.
Neo was charged with one count of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Another charge of voluntarily causing hurt with a dangerous weapon was taken into consideration during sentencing.
He could have been jailed for life.
What if you kill to protect yourself?
CAN you walk away scot-free?
Lawyer Amolat Singh said: 'The judges would look at the amount of force and the means used to defend oneself.
'If a man punches me with his bare hands and I take out a parang and hack him to death, the force I use would be disproportionate.'
Mr Amolat said the judges would also assess what the defendant was thinking when he committed the act.
Issues such as whether he had meant to kill the other party would be taken into account.
'On hindsight, we may think it was rash to stab the other man in self-defence. But sometimes you don't have the luxury of time to rationalise your actions,' Mr Amolat said.
Lawyer Subhas Anandan said: 'Nothing is an offence if it is done in the exercise of self defence.
'But if you had the time to call the police, then your actions can't be justified as self-defence.'
Mr Anandan said the actions of Neo Eng Kiat exceeded the right of self defence.
'He had undue advantage as he had a weapon and acted in great cruelty as he stabbed the other man repeatedly.
'So he couldn't invoke right of self-defence.'
Lawyer Kertar Singh, who defended Neo, said everyone has the right to self-defence.
'But you also have to consider the circumstances. In my client's case, he stabbed his attacker repeatedly after the latter fell down.
'So his actions were beyond self-defence as there was definitely an intention to cause injury.'
During the trial, Mr Kertar cited similar cases where defendants received light sentences of between 3 and 3 1/2 years after killing someone in a fight.
One was the case of cleaner Katun Bee Ibrahim, 56, who was jailed 3 1/2 years on 6 Jan, 2004, for culpable homicide.
During a fight with her lover G. Subramaniam on 13 Jan, 2003, Katun fatally stabbed him in the abdomen after blinding him with chilli powder.
Another case was of durian seller Lim Boon Seng, 40, who was jailed 3 1/2 years on 27 May, 2004, for culpable homicide.
During a fight with loanshark Keng Yew Cheng, 42, on 5 Nov, 2003, over a $1,800 debt, Lim fatally stabbed Keng in the chest.