SINGAPORE, May 18 — A part-time waiter who was beaten up by two men was so worried for his safety that he went on the run with his girlfriend, sometimes sleeping in their car and in a park.
About three weeks later, he was allegedly attacked again, slashed in the face by assailants.
Joshua Koh Kian Yong, 34, who is married, told a district court that he was certain his lover’s other boyfriend, businessman Lim Hong Liang, had sent two men to assault him in the first attack that happened on the evening of April 8, 2016.
Lim, 54, and mover Ong Hock Chye, 47, are now on trial for allegedly conspiring to cause grievous hurt to Koh on April 30 that year.
At around 1am that day, Koh and Audrey Chen Ying Fang were having supper near Little India when three attackers allegedly slashed Koh’s face with a penknife.
Taking the stand on the second day of the trial yesterday, Koh testified that he and Chen, 27, met at the end of 2015 and were seeing each other on the same month he was attacked.
At that point, Chen — a beauty queen who won the inaugural Mermaid pageant in September 2016 — was also the girlfriend of Lim, who owns freight forwarding company SNL Logistics.
At an earlier hearing on Tuesday, Chen testified that a friend introduced her to Lim in mid-2014. They soon became intimate, and he supported her financially.
In January 2016, she moved into his apartment at The Parc Condominium near West Coast Road with a domestic worker and a dog.
She also told the court then that Lim bought her a Mercedes-Benz the next month, with a licence plate that displayed her birth year, 1991.
On Thursday, Koh admitted that he knew Chen was seeing Lim and that the older man was financially supporting her. He added that Chen is still his girlfriend, and they live together in Kembangan now.
On the evening of the first assault, he had gone to see Chen at the apartment she lived. Lim was overseas then.
Lim’s son and another man — whom Chen previously identified as Lim’s nephew “Ron” — entered the apartment and one of them began kicking Koh in the stomach and punching him in the face for about 10 to 15 minutes, beginning in the bedroom and ending up in the living room.
“During the assault, I asked him who he was. He replied in a very harsh tone, ‘I was sent here by someone to kill you’,” Koh recounted.
He did not retaliate as he “was not a violent person”, he added.
When the attack stopped, the two men took pictures of Koh with their mobile phones. One of them told Chen to take him to the hospital, “if not I don’t know what else more I will do to him”.
Koh sought medical treatment at Ng Teng Fong Hospital. He suffered a broken nose, swollen eye, and bruises around his neck and head as a result of the attack.
When asked by deputy public prosecutor Tan Wen Hsien how he knew for sure that Lim had asked someone to assault him, he replied that no one else had access to the apartment.
My guard was up
After the incident, Koh began staying at “many kinds of places” with Chen, including hotel roo and their car.
On the night of the alleged slashing incident, the pair were staying in a hotel in the Novena district when they decided to go for supper.
Koh noticed a car with a few people in it when they went to the car park to drive to Townshend Road near Little India. “I was assaulted once, so my guard was up. It caught my attention at that point, but (I thought) maybe it was nothing,” he explained.
During cross-examination, Lim’s lawyer, Senior Counsel N Sreenivasan, said that the car with the alleged assailants was never there. He also pointed out that Koh had been driving without a licence or insurance.
After the couple arrived at the eating spot, a man came up to Koh at the table and boxed him on the left side of his head.
Koh stumbled and started to run, but another man grabbed him and he felt a “sharp pain” at the bottom of his right arm. One more man slashed his face with a penknife.
A video of the incident that played in court showed three men wearing sports caps and sweaters assaulting Koh.
He suffered a stab wound as well as a flesh wound extending from his left upper lip to the right side of his chin.
Koh also testified that Lim had called Chen sometime between the first and second alleged attacks, to tell her to warn Koh to be mindful of what was going on around him.
It was only in September 2016 that Koh met the older man in person for the first time, when Lim drove up to them one night, wound down his car window and asked Chen several times if Koh was “Joshua”.
Chen had testified that she had cut off ties with Lim in May last year and moved out of The Parc Condominium three months later.
The court also heard that Koh is not in contact with his Thai wife.
In cross-examining Koh, who had served three weeks in jail for forgery in June 2016, Sreenivasan pressed him on whether he had a financial incentive for seeing Lim convicted.
Koh said that he would seek compensation for medical fees related to the April 30 assault from Lim if he was found guilty. He also told the prosecution that he bore no grudges against Lim.
So far, five people have been dealt with in court in relation to this case.
They are Nur Atika Fauziana Sherhan, 20; Lim’s nephew Ron Lim De Mai, 26; Nur Muhammad Irwan Mohd Ngat, 29; Juhari Ab Karim, 34; and former technician Mohammad Amin Aman, 47.
The trial continues on Friday, with two suspected attackers set to testify. — TODAY