The man who abducted the elderly mother of Sheng Siong supermarket chain founder Lim Hock Chee in 2014 and demanded a $20 million ransom will be jailed for life and given three strokes of the cane, after his appeal was rejected.
Lee Sze Yong, 44, had asked for the death penalty after he was convicted in December last year, saying that he could not bear the thought of "hopeless years ahead". He did not appeal against his sentence.
Yesterday, Lee, who had argued his case before the Court of Appeal without a lawyer, said: "Undoubtedly, I had committed a crime."
Head shaved, wearing a purple prison jumpsuit and holding sheets of paper in his hands, he argued that the question was whether the state of his mind "lies within the language of Section 3 of the Kidnapping Act".
The provision states that an individual who abducts someone with intent to hold that person for ransom faces either the death penalty or life imprisonment with caning.
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Lee repeated the point he had made during his trial - that he was not guilty of kidnap for ransom because he had intended to release Madam Ng Lye Poh by midnight that very day, whether or not the ransom was paid. But the three-judge court dismissed his argument.
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Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon noted that the trial judge did not accept Lee's assertion. "Even if the appellant did have the intention to release the victim by the end of that fateful day... the offence was complete when he abducted (her) with intent to hold her for ransom."
This article by The Straits Times was published in The New Paper, a free newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.