Man attacks brother and family for throwing away dead mum's portable toilet chair

Man attacks brother and family for throwing away dead mum's portable toilet chair
Madam Lee Hwa Sang, sister-in-law of Ho Tay Lek, had six stitches to her forehead after Mr Ho attacked her and her husband for throwing away his dead mum’s portable toilet chair.

The item: A commode, a portable toilet chair with wheels.

The New Paper reported on Tuesday that Ho Tay Lek, formerly known as Tay Soo Yong, was jailed for a day and fined $2,000, after he attacked his brother, sister-in-law and nephew in September last year.

Speaking to TNP at their Veerasamy Road flat on Tuesday night, Mr Tay Soo Heong, 61, and his wife, Madam Lee Hwa Sang, 53, offered a glimpse into the relationship breakdown that led to last September's incident.

Mr Tay, who is the oldest of five siblings, said the family used to live in a shophouse on Albert Street. Ho, 54, was the fourth in the family and the younger of two sons.

The brothers had never been close, said Madam Lee, adding that Ho had a bad temper.

"Even when my husband and I were dating and we ran into (Ho) on the streets, he wouldn't even acknowledge us," Madam Lee said. When the couple moved into their Veerasamy Road flat in the 1980s, Mr Tay's parents moved in with them.

After his father died in 1999 of lung cancer, Mr Tay's mother continued living with the couple and their three children.

Her other children visited often and relations between the siblings were cordial.

But their relationships turned frosty in 2012 when Mr Tay's mother had a fall in the flat and the rest of her children blamed Mr Tay and his wife for it.

"After that, (Ho) volunteered to take care of his mother since we didn't have a maid. He would come in the day, look after her and leave the moment we came home," said Madam Lee.

By then, the siblings hardly spoke despite being in the same flat.

There was another fall in late 2013. This time, Mr Tay's mother was found to have had a stroke and was bedridden.

Ho moved into the Tay's flat and became his mother's sole caregiver, sharing her room. But Ho never spoke to the Tays and they kept out of his way to avoid causing a scene.

There was also a commode for Mr Tay's mother so it was easier for her to use the kitchen bathroom, which had a squatting toilet.

After she died in July last year, Ho told his brother to not touch their mother's things for 100 days, in accordance with Chinese tradition. He would also come back every few days to check on the things in her room.

As time went by, Mr Tay and his wife cleaned up the kitchen bathroom so guests could use it, instead of the one in their bedroom. This meant discarding the commode.

Ho visited the flat on Sept 14 and spent about two hours in his mother's old bedroom before going into the bathroom to find the commode gone.


Said Madam Lee: "He flew into a rage and started shouting at my husband, who was fixing something in the living room. (My husband) ignored him and when I came out to check what was going on, he hurled vulgarities at me."

When she told him to stop swearing at her, he attacked her, hitting her on her forehead.

He also punched Mr Tay's face and right shoulder while holding a 4cm-long knife, which was extended from a nail cutter. Madam Lee's son tried to pin Ho down, but got injured in the scuffle.

"He left after a while and my son called the police. An ambulance came and took us to the hospital where I got six stitches," she said, a faint scar still visible on her forehead.

The family also made a police report.

"Despite what happened, we forgive him," she said, adding that her heart sank when the police called two days before Chinese New Year to say Ho had been arrested.

"We've put this all behind us now. I just hope (Ho) can live his life well," Madam Lee said.

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