3 years’ jail for man who was secret society headman when he fled S’pore after 1988 fatal brawl, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

3 years’ jail for man who was secret society headman when he fled S’pore after 1988 fatal brawl

A secret society headman, who was linked to a fatal brawl involving a teenage member of another gang in 1988, fled to Malaysia after he found out about the youngster’s death.

After more than 30 years, Singaporean Lee Koh Yong finally surrendered to the authorities when he came back to Singapore in March 2023 due to medical issues.

Lee was sentenced to three years’ jail on Nov 22 after he pleaded guilty to a rioting charge.

All 13 members of his gang who were involved in the fatal brawl were dealt with in court earlier.

During the brawl, Lee, who was then 30 years old, stood a short distance away and did not personally attack Tan Teck Kiam, 17.

Now 65, Lee decided to return to Singapore for a medical check-up as he was unable to visit a doctor overseas.

Court documents did not disclose why he could not do so, but defence lawyers told the court that according to Lee’s daughter, he has conditions including gout and cardiovascular disease.

On Aug 28, 1988, Teck Kiam and a 16-year-old boy who was from the same gang as him joined some friends at a chalet around East Coast Park.

While they were there, a group of seven people, including five men from Lee’s gang, also turned up at the gathering. An argument over an undisclosed matter later broke out between the two groups.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Qi Shuen said that a fight did not break out as there were police officers in the vicinity.

Around 3pm on Sept 3, 1988, five people from Lee’s gang were at a discotheque near Stadium Road when they spotted a member of Teck Kiam’s group from the chalet.

The DPP said: “They then left the discotheque and contacted (Lee) to inform that they had spotted rival gang members. (One of them asked him) to call for reinforcement to come over and assault the rival gang members.”

Lee called some of his gang members and told them to go to Stadium Road. He then took a van there with three of his men.

At around the same time, Teck Kiam and two 16-year-old boys who were members of his gang arrived at Stadium Road in a taxi.

They were walking to the discotheque when one of them spotted a gang member from Lee’s group. The trio decided to walk away, but Lee’s men confronted them.

Some of the men then attacked Teck Kiam and one of the 16-year-old boys with wooden sticks and poles. The other 16-year-old boy managed to flee the scene unharmed.

During the attack which lasted about three to four minutes, the two teenagers were knocked unconscious. Lee and his 13 men then fled the scene.

The 16-year-old boy regained consciousness and saw Teck Kiam lying motionless nearby. The teenager then took a taxi home.

Officers arrived at the scene shortly before 5pm that day, and a paramedic pronounced Teck Liam dead minutes later.

An autopsy showed the cause of death as a brain injury due to a fractured skull.

Lee fled to Johor Bahru when he found out about the teenager’s death.

Defence lawyers Josephus Tan and Cory Wong stated in court documents that this was not a case in which Lee had strategically waited until he turned 50 years old to surrender himself to avoid caning.

The lawyers from Invictus Law Corporation added: “Mr Lee nevertheless did the right thing by returning to Singapore...to face the music and in doing so also hoped to receive medical treatment (here) for his deteriorating health.”

For rioting in 1988, an offender can be jailed for up to five years and caned. Lee cannot be caned as he is over 50 years old.

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