Schizophrenic killer jailed for life

He stabbed Toto draw announcer after 'consulting deities for approval'

A MENTALLY ill man, who stabbed to death a lottery draw announcer outside the PoMo Mall in Selegie Road three years ago, has been jailed for life.

Fang Gao San, 56, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, had planned to kill employees at the Singapore Pools outlet in the mall because he believed they cheated him of his "winnings".

He said he had consulted deities at a Chinese temple and the Jade Emperor had approved his proposal to kill the "cheats".

Last Friday, he pleaded guilty in the High Court to culpable homicide for stabbing Mr Sito Woon Chee, 59, four times with a knife.

In sentencing him to life imprisonment, Justice Woo Bih Li told the expressionless Fang: "It is obvious that you are a great danger to the public."

The judge noted a few "chilling" things that Fang had admitted: that if he had a gun, he would have used it to kill everyone at the outlet; that Mr Sito deserved to die; and that he would kill again if the deity gave him permission.

Fang has a history of schizophrenia since 2003 when he was taken to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) after the police found him praying loudly outside his flat and behaving aggressively.

He said he heard "voices" and smelt "gases" and believed people were harming him with black magic. He bathed in vinegar to get rid of toxins as he believed others were trying to poison him.

He also believed the staff at Singapore Pools were cheating the public. He said he began believing this after winning a Toto draw prize in 2010. He said he got only $479 and was told this was because there were more than 900 other winners. However, Singapore Pools has no record of Fang winning any prize that year.

On May 31, 2010, he went to the mall outlet carrying a paring knife with a 10.5cm-long blade.

He bought a Toto ticket and waited for the results to be announced. After Mr Sito announced them, Fang waited for the employees to leave. Ten minutes later, he saw Mr Sito, ran after him and stabbed him four times before walking away.

Two employees who saw the attack shouted at him to stop but he retorted: "Call for the police, lah."

The duo tailed him and alerted two policemen who were on their way to another case. The officers approached Fang and arrested him after a struggle.

Mr Sito was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy identified a stab wound on his back as the cause of death.

Fang was initially charged with murder. He was remanded at Changi Medical Complex as he was found to be unfit to plead to the charge. In April last year, he was certified capable of doing so.

Dr Stephen Phang of the IMH said in his report that Fang requires permanent psychiatric treatment, preferably with strict supervision as he has been known to throw away his medication.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Woon Kwong argued that a life term was warranted for protection of the public. Fang's lawyer, Mr Josephus Tan, did not object.