S'pore horse trainer attacked by men with parangs in M'sia

SINGAPORE - HE NARROWLY survived a potentially fatal attack last Tuesday.

Looking back, he shuddered to think that he would not have lived another day if it weren't for his trusty dog and a motorist who pulled up just when his life was in grave danger.

Singaporean horse trainer Malcolm Thwaites, 68, who is now based in Malaysia, was attacked by two parang-wielding men, leaving him with cuts on his head that required more than 20 stitches.

It wasn't the first time the trainer's life has been threatened. In 1993, shots were fired at his home in Ipoh, Malaysia.

In the latest attack, he was walking his English bulldog, Toby, near his home in Selangor at 8.15pm when two men on a motorcycle approached him.

Mr Thwaites told The New Paper over the phone on Monday: "I walk Toby every day by the roadside. It was quite dark at that time and the area was quiet as the residents were in their homes having dinner.

"I was about 100 yards away from home when two men on a blue-and-white motorcycle, both wearing full-faced helmets, approached me from the front. One of them asked me in Malay where the highway was."

Mr Thwaites showed them the way and continued walking his dog.

But he noticed something odd - the motorcycle did not head in the direction he had pointed. Instead, the riders sped off in the opposite direction.

They then turned around and headed towards him.

He said: "I thought that the rider finally realised that he was going the wrong way and decided to turn back. I didn't expect what happened next."

One of the men, brandishing a parang, jumped off the bike and attacked Mr Thwaites.

"It happened so fast. I tried to defend myself and block the attack. He managed to hit my head and I kicked him," Mr Thwaites said.

"Soon, both of us were fighting for the parang. That's when Toby bit him."

Seeing this, the man on the bike took out another parang and joined his accomplice in attacking Mr Thwaites.

Luckily for him, a woman driving by in a car honked at them. His assailants got on their motorcycle and fled.

"I guess they did not want any witnesses to the attack," said Mr Thwaites, who staggered home after the attack, which lasted about 30 seconds.

His girlfriend, Ms Jenny Gui, was cooking when she heard him calling her from outside their house.

She said: "I ran out and was shocked to see him covered in blood. I thought he had fallen down and could not believe my ears when he told me he had been attacked."

Blood flowing

She called out to her daughter - a 15-year-old from a previous marriage - to get some medication.

Ms Gui said: "Malcolm's blood was flowing and my hands were shaking as I tended to him.

"We managed to stop the bleeding with a towel and some handkerchiefs. I was so worried. The cuts were very long and deep."

She called the police and an ambulance - which arrived about 20 minutes later and took Mr Thwaites to Serdang Hospital.

He received more than 20 stitches for the cuts on his head and was warded overnight.

He said: "The doctors and police said I was extremely lucky to be alive as it seemed like the two men wanted to kill me.

"I don't know why I was attacked. I don't think it's racing-related.

"I've had no problems in the racing world for many years and I've never been threatened before. But I don't think it was a random attack."

Ms Gui is not taking any chances following the attack and fears for the safety of her teenage daughter.

She now picks up her daughter from school every day and leaves the house only when necessary.

"I asked Malcolm if we should move, but he said that it's no use. If they want to find him, they could easily track him down anyway," Ms Gui said.

ashaffiq@sph.com.sg

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