Ex-cop 'robbed' victims to pay off debt
FACED with imminent bankruptcy and a possible sacking from the police force, senior staff sergeant Iskandar Rahmat hatched a plan to rob a man he knew had a lot of money in a safe deposit box, the High Court heard yesterday.
The plan ended with the violent deaths of a father and son, and a policeman facing the gallows for a shocking double murder.
On the first day of Iskandar's trial for the murders on July 10, 2013, a packed courtroom was told of how Iskandar, 36, had tricked car workshop owner Tan Boon Sin, 67, into taking the valuables out from the box.
He then escorted Mr Tan back to his Hillside Drive terrace house, where he stabbed Mr Tan some 20 times.
When Mr Tan's eldest son Chee Heong entered the house, Iskandar stabbed him repeatedly as well, inflicting more than 11 wounds to his scalp, face and neck.
As he fled the house, Iskandar reversed the older man's silver Toyota Camry on the younger man, dragging the body for 1km until it was dislodged outside Kovan MRT station.
In his opening statement, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Lau Wing Yum said Iskandar had planned to rob the older Mr Tan as he was facing imminent bankruptcy and possible dismissal from the Singapore Police Force.
Iskandar was more than $60,000 in debt, DPP Lau added, and OCBC Bank had filed a bankruptcy petition against him. He had been due to pay a $50,000 settlement on the date of the murders.
Iskandar had carried out "ruthless attacks" on the two men, said DPP Lau. Iskandar faces the mandatory death penalty if convicted on two counts of murder.
The multiple wounds and his intentional reversing of the car onto the younger man will show that Iskandar murdered them with the intention of causing the deaths.
Iskandar does not dispute that he stabbed them to death - but maintains that he had no intention to kill.
In his statements to police investigators, he said that inside the house, the senior Mr Tan had threatened him with a knife and that he ended up stabbing him in the ensuing struggle.
Iskandar had also told investigators that after stepping into the house and shouting "Pa!", the younger man charged towards him and he ended up stabbing him.
The court also heard how Iskandar and the senior Mr Tan were seen in the same car on the day of the murder by a witness, Hor Boon Long.
Mr Hor told the court that he was in his black Audi at a Shell petrol station near the Certis Cisco Centre in Paya Lebar when Mr Tan's silver Toyota Camry cut in ahead of him in a queue of cars exiting the petrol station to the road.
Mr Hor got out of his car and knocked on the door of Mr Tan's car, asking him why he cut the queue. Mr Tan apologised in English, saying sorry three times. The witness said that he saw Iskandar, a passenger in the car, staring at him.
The encounter took place shortly before the murder.
Lawyer Shashi Nathan, who leads Iskandar's defence team, told reporters after yesterday's hearing that his client's intention was just to steal Mr Tan's money and it was a case of a "theft that went wrong".
Five witnesses took the stand yesterday, including Madam Ong Ah Tang, 67, the widow of the older Mr Tan.
Sounding emotional as she described her late husband, Madam Ong said that Mr Tan was a loving husband and was never violent, even when they quarrelled.
He was a man she could entrust her life to, she said.
Apart from the occasional frown, Iskandar was calm and attentive yesterday, following the proceedings intently and frequently referring to documents in front of him.
About 50 members of the public and at least 20 journalists were in attendance, with five family members of the victims - including the older Mr Tan's son and daughter - also present.
The trial resumes tomorrow.