Driver who helped One-eyed Dragon flee S'pore jailed
In 2006, M'sian drove gangster Tan Chor Jin across Causeway after latter killed man
He was on the run for nine years after helping one of Singapore's most notorious criminals flee the country.
On Feb 15, 2006, Ho Yueh Keong, a Malaysian, drove gangster Tan Chor Jin, nicknamed One-Eyed Dragon, to Johor Baru after Tan had shot dead nightclub owner Lim Hock Soon, 41.
But yesterday, Ho's lawyer, Mr Kertar Singh, told the court that his client would not have associated with Tan had he known about the murder.
Urging District Judge Tan Jen Tse to jail Ho, now 43, for between 15 and 18 months, Mr Singh said: "He learnt about the murder only as the car approached the immigration channel of the Woodlands Checkpoint.
"Although Tan claimed to have disposed of the gun, the accused had lingering doubts in his mind and genuinely feared for his life."
But Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wen Hsien asked the court to jail Ho for between 18 and 24 months.
She stressed that even if Ho claimed to be afraid, his fear would have dissipated by the time Malaysian police arrested Tan on Feb 25, 2006.
"Yet, the accused remained silently at large for the next nine years until the law caught up with him in July last year," said DPP Tan.
Judge Tan sentenced Ho to 20 months' jail.
On Monday, he pleaded guilty to one charge of harbouring a fugitive.
One count of concealing information about the murder was taken into consideration during sentencing.
The court heard that on Feb 14, 2006, Tan, then 39, asked Ho to drive him from Malaysia to Singapore in a Malaysian-registered car.
Tan said he was going to meet Mr Lim, but did not say why. They spent the night in a flat at Block 515, Hougang Avenue 10.
Tan killed Mr Lim the next day before returning to the unit.
He woke Ho up and asked him to drive him back to Malaysia.
Along the way, Ho overheard Tan tell someone over the phone that he had killed Mr Lim.
Tan admitted to the shooting when Ho asked him about it and said he had got rid of the pistol.
Ho drove Tan into Malaysia at about 8.20am and they headed for Ho's home in Larkin, Johor Baru.
Tan later asked him to drive to Penang. But when they reached their destination, he asked Ho to drive back to Johor, which he did.
When they reached Johor, Tan gave Ho RM500 (S$168) before they parted ways. A few days later, Ho called Tan to say he wished to surrender. But Tan told him not to and he obeyed.
Ho was brought back to Singapore on July 13 last year, after Malaysian authorities caught him as he was trying to leave Malaysia for Batam, Indonesia.
For harbouring Tan, Ho could have been jailed up to five years and fined.
WHO IS TAN CHOR JIN?
He was called the One-Eyed Dragon because he was blind in his right eye.
On Feb 15, 2006, Tan Chor Jin barged into nightclub owner Lim Hock Soon's flat at Block 223, Serangoon Avenue 4, and ordered him to tie up his maid, his wife and their teenage daughter.
Tan then used a Beretta pistol to fire six rounds at him. Five of the bullets hit Mr Lim, 41, killing him.
Tan also robbed the victim and his family of about $170,000 in cash and property, including assorted jewellery, four Rolex watches and stacks of foreign currencies.
After the attack, Tan, then 39, directed a childhood friend and former secret society underling to drive him to a Sengkang canal, where he dumped the weapon.
The motive for the attack remains unclear, though it seems a money dispute was at the root of things.
Later that morning, Tan left his friend and met up with Ho Yueh Keong, now 43. The pair made their way across the Causeway.
But Malaysian police arrested Tan in Kuala Lumpur 10 days later. He was sent back to Singapore on March 1 that year.
Following a 10-day trial, Justice Tay Yong Kwang found him guilty of firing the pistol and sentenced him to death on May 22, 2007. He was hanged at Changi Prison on Jan 9, 2009.
The childhood friend, then 38, was charged with conspiring with Tan in murdering Mr Lim.
He could have been sent to the gallows for it, but he was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal for the charge on July 31, 2006. Four days later, he was jailed for six months for failing to report the robbery.