Man on trial for causing dad's death
A BUSINESSMAN accused of killing his father looked "bewildered and lost" when his aunt saw him shortly after the alleged incident, a court heard yesterday.
Mark Tan Peng Liat, 30, is said to have put 67-year-old Tan Kok Keng in a headlock and a chokehold over an argument. The older man died an hour after he was taken to hospital on Feb 10 last year.
Originally accused of murder, Tan's charge was amended to culpable homicide not amounting to murder last October.
At the start of his trial yesterday, his paternal aunt, Tan Hoon Choo, 72 - who lives near his West Coast Rise semi-detached house - said father and son had a "very good relationship".
The pair lived together with their maid Sumarti Dwi Ambarwati.
Tan's mother had been divorced from his father for more than a decade.
His lawyer Derek Kang said previously that the incident had arisen after a quarrel.
The Straits Times understands the accused's position is that the death was "accidental" and that he was trying to restrain his father when he became violent.
The father also suffered from hypertensive heart disease which was discovered only during the autopsy.
Madam Tan told the court that Ms Sumarti had rushed to her house about 5.40pm that day and collapsed at her doorstep, crying and "hysterical".
"She said: Aunty, please help, please help. Mark and sir are fighting," said Madam Tan.
"I've never seen her in this state. (Their household has) never had any fights, and this was the first time."
When she arrived at her younger brother's house, her nephew was standing outside, his face "pale".
He also looked "very bewildered and lost", she said.
Madam Tan found her brother lying on the floor in the master bedroom. He was unresponsive. Crying, she asked her nephew to call an ambulance.
About an hour after Mr Tan was taken to National University Hospital, he was pronounced dead.
His son was arrested that day.
"My brother was very fond of his son," said Madam Tan.
"He was very proud of him."
Tan was also charged with possessing 15 airsoft guns without a licence, which he intends to plead guilty to.
If found guilty of culpable homicide, he could be jailed for up to 10 years, fined or caned, or receive any combined punishment. The maximum penalty for the other charge is a $5,000 fine and three years' jail.