80-year-old man in fracas with 'love rival'

SINGAPORE - Church caretaker Lim Song Chong may have been 80, losing his sight and "very, very frail".

But all that did not stop him from hurling a 20cm-long kitchen knife at his girlfriend's landlord - whom he suspected was having a relationship with her - as his victim cowered behind a pillar at the Glad Tidings Church.

Lim missed 65-year-old Cheong Yee Mun, and failed to connect with an umbrella, a pocket knife and kitchen scissors as well.

Mr Cheong, a retiree, retaliated by throwing a fire extinguisher at Lim, also missing, before police arrived to separate the seniors.

Yesterday, Lim was fined a total of $3,000 and jailed for a day after he admitted committing criminal intimidation by chasing Mr Cheong with the knife and performing a rash act by throwing it at him.

Another charge of criminal intimidation and two counts of throwing the smaller knife and scissors were taken into consideration.

The court heard that Mr Cheong had driven to the Tampines church on March 2 last year to pick up 48-year-old Leow Peck Fong, his tenant for about 14 months. He also wanted to persuade Lim to stop harassing him through phone calls.

Lim and Ms Leow arrived at the church at 9.30pm, where he threw his umbrella at Mr Cheong, then went after the younger man with the pocket knife. Mr Cheong hurled the fire extinguisher at him to keep him at bay.

Lim then threw the pocket knife at his victim, then the longer knife and scissors before the police arrived.

Defence counsel Josephus Tan, who took up the case for free under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, said a lengthy jail term was inappropriate as his client was "very, very old and very, very frail". The court also heard that Lim was on the verge of going blind because of a degenerative eye disease.

The lawyer also said Lim's mother died during World War II and his father abandoned him when he was 10 years old. Lim was then looked after by relatives before becoming the church's caretaker 32 years ago.

Mr Tan also said the church has forgiven Lim and will allow him to continue working and staying there.

Just for committing criminal intimidation, he could have been jailed for up to two years and fined.

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