Singapore couple who abused their tenant to her death jailed, caned

Tan Hui Zhen and Pua Hak Chuan utterly debased their victim, who died an ‘excruciating’ death. — AFP file pic
Tan Hui Zhen and Pua Hak Chuan utterly debased their victim, who died an ‘excruciating’ death. — AFP file pic

SINGAPORE, Dec 1 — A couple who tortured their tenant for eight months, leading to her death, was sentenced to at least 14 years in jail today as a High Court judge called it an “appalling case” of abuse that called for a “substantial sentence ... to reflect the gravity” of the offences.

Pua Hak Chuan, 38, received a jail sentence of 14 years, with 14 strokes of the cane.

His wife, 33-year-old Tan Hui Zhen was sentenced to 16.5 years’ jail.

Before Annie Ee Yu Lian, 26, was found dead in bed on April 13, 2015, she had been abused by Pua and Tan for eight months.

She was slapped, whipped with a belt, kicked and had her head bashed.

The couple moved their assaults to her buttocks, before hitting her on multiple occasions with a roll of shrink wrap that was about 0.5m long and weighed about 1kg.

Autopsy reports showed Ee died from acute fat embolism.

She had been beaten so badly that her skin and fat dissociated from the muscle layer and the fatty tissue below the skin broke down and went into her bloodstream and lungs, affecting oxygenation of blood, and leading to cardiac and respiratory failure.

An autopsy performed on her found 12 fractured ribs and seven fractured vertebrae, a ruptured stomach, and many blisters and bruises.

Pua and Tan were originally charged with murder, but pleaded guilty on Monday to reduced charges including voluntarily causing grievous hurt with a weapon.

Their charges were amended after investigations were completed, and prosecutors took into account forensic pathology as well as psychiatric findings.

The prosecution had called for at least 14 years’ jail and 14 strokes of the cane for Pua and at least 15.5 years’ jail for Tan, calling it an appalling case of abuse and cruelty that also revealed emotional blackmail and exploitation of a vulnerable victim. — TODAY

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