Gambler tried to kill wife so she wouldn't have to pay his debts

A SECURITY guard went to a casino in the hope of repaying $40,000 he had gambled away - but ended up losing more.

It was then that John Gee Tze Chiang decided to kill himself, after spending a final happy night at a karaoke bar with his wife.

The next morning, when she told him of the calls she had been getting from creditors, he decided to kill her too so she would not be saddled with his debts.

Gee knifed Madam Koh Poh Lian twice in the chest and also in her neck and back, before turning the blade to his own chest.

The 38-year-old couple were found lying in a pool of blood by his parents, who shared the Housing Board flat in Clementi West Street 2.

Both survived.

Yesterday, Gee was jailed for seven years for attempted culpable homicide, and had a charge of attempted suicide taken into consideration.

Gee spent two days in hospital being treated for two lacerations. His wife needed emergency surgery, during which her heart stopped.

She was resuscitated, but she suffered a bacterial infection and had drugs administered intravenously for four weeks.

For almost six months after the attack on Aug 11, 2012, she suffered blurred vision and weakness in her limbs, and was unable to return to her warehouse job.

She was preparing for work when Gee attacked her, causing her to fall onto the bed screaming.

When she tried to get up, he held her down and told her it would soon be over.

Gee stabbed her in the neck, then in the back. He then knifed himself.

The prosecution sought a five- to seven-year jail sentence, stressing the brutality of the attack and physical and psychological harm caused to the victim.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Isaac Tan said Gee was a "habitual gambler".

He controlled the couple's finances and looked after the card accessing his wife's account, where her $3,000 monthly wages were paid.

After giving her $50 "pocket money", he would gamble away the rest.

Defence lawyer Muhammad Ferhad Johari said Gee, who was working at Marina Bay Financial Centre, was a dedicated worker.

In passing sentence, Justice Lee Seiu Kin said there needed to be sufficient time in prison to ensure Gee could receive therapy for his gambling disorder.

He could have been jailed for up to 15 years, fined and caned.

This article was first published on Mar 10, 2015.
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