Charge reduced for father, son who allegedly killed robber

Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo.

The father and son who allegedly killed an armed robber are set to be granted a reprieve, with a charge of murder reduced to causing death by negligence.

Criminal lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, who is representing Malaysian part-time cook Moo He Hong, 57, and his Singaporean son Wee Keong, 29, told The Straits Times yesterday: "The amended charge will be under Section 304(A), a far more minor one compared to murder, which carries the death penalty.

"It is two years' jail maximum and a fine. I will do the necessary to obtain bail on Wednesday."

Mr Gobind, the second son of famous Malaysian lawyer Karpal Singh, said the case is due to be rementioned at the Rembau magistrate's in Negeri Sembilan tomorrow.

The elder Moo's Singaporean wife, Madam Kuek Soo Lan, revealed to The Straits Times that bail for each of the men could be set at between RM10,000 (S$3,800) and RM15,000.

"I'm so happy right now, my heart is literally beating out of my chest," the relieved 52-year-old said over the phone. "They have been locked up for almost three weeks and it has been a testing period for the family."

Both men had been in detention since Feb 24, when alleged robber Chan Boon Poh attempted to snatch Madam Kuek's bag outside their house in Gemencheh, Tampin, at around 12.30am.

She was slashed by Chan's parang on her left arm and fingers, which required 25 stitches.

Moo had rushed to her aid, knocking Chan to the ground with a pipe. With the help of his son, they then tied up the still-conscious Chan with some rope. After Moo returned from taking his wife to the clinic for treatment, he discovered that Chan had died.

While the circumstances surrounding Chan's death were not clear, Madam Kuek has maintained that her husband and son were acting in self-defence.

Malaysia's Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail had weighed in on the debate, telling The Star last Saturday that the pair should not have been charged with murder.

Faced with the prospect of a legal battle, Madam Kuek managed to secure the services of Mr Gobind on Sunday. Mr Gobind, who is MP for Puchong in Selangor, is known for saving Singaporean woman Noor Atiqah M. Lasim from the gallows after she was caught with heroin and other drugs in her bag at the Sepang airport budget terminal on Jan 5, 2009. He produced new evidence backing her claims that she was not aware of the bag's contents. She was charged with drug possession instead of trafficking, and was sentenced to 12 years in jail.

Said Madam Kuek: "With the help of Mr Gobind, I am very optimistic that my husband and son will be proven innocent."

Concerned netizens had started a crowdfunding campaign for the family, while an online petition calling for a fair trial for the duo was also launched.

This article was first published on March 17, 2015.
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