Prosecution seeks five years' jail for man who hired hitman
Prosecution says attempt to stage death of ex-lover's beau was 'cold-blooded'
Cold-blooded, highly sophisticated and carefully premeditated.
That was how the prosecution described the actions of Allen Vincent Hui Kim Seng, 47, who hired a Dark Web hitman to kill his former lover's beau in a staged car accident.
A married man, Hui paid more than $8,000 in bitcoin to a website called "Camorra Hitmen" for the hit but was arrested before it was to be carried out.
The plot was exposed after a journalist from American news outlet CBS tipped off the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), which in turn alerted the police.
Seeking at least five years' jail for Hui, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan told District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan yesterday that the proposed sentence reflects the abhorrence of Hui's act.
Hui was convicted in July of abetting Camorra Hitmen to murder Mr Tan Han Shen, 30.
He could be jailed for up to seven years and fined. Another charge of criminal intimidation will be taken into consideration during sentencing.
DPP Kumaresan said there was a strong public interest to eliminate demand for hitman-for-hire services and to deter like-minded people who hide behind the anonymity of the Web.
He said Hui took calculated steps to ensure his crime could not be traced, taking the trouble to download and use a Tor browser to access the Dark Web and conceal his online identity and activities.
Using bitcoin meant the people involved in each transaction would be hard to identify and, adding to the difficulty of detecting Hui's actions, the Camorra Hitmen website had promised that messages would be encrypted and old ones would be deleted periodically.
"It was purely fortuitous that the murder was not carried out," the prosecutor added.
Hui's lawyer Lee Teck Leng asked for 21/2 years' jail, citing articles published by Wired magazine and The Times of London last year, which reported that Camorra Hitmen was one of many scam websites hawking hitmen for hire.
Mr Lee said these articles were based on investigative work by online vigilante Chris Monteiro, who had tipped off CBS to Hui's murder plot.
"It is important not to lose sight of the fact that (Hui) is being punished for instigating a scammer to murder the victim, something that could never happen," he wrote in his plea.
But DPP Kumaresan had said it would be extremely dangerous for the court to place any weight on news articles suggesting the Camorra Hitmen website was a scam, as no one could know that for a fact.
"The articles are not affidavits," he told Judge Shaiffudin.
Mr Lee also argued that Hui was depressed before and during the offence, had contemplated suicide and did not start off wanting to kill Mr Tan.
The lawyer claimed Hui started to waver on his decision while on a trip to Johor Baru with his wife and daughter, but he was arrested before he could cancel the hit.
"He was not an evil and cold-blooded would-be murderer," Mr Lee said.
Hui remains in remand and will be sentenced on Sept 18.
The court previously heard that he became consumed with jealousy after his former lover, Ms Ng Woan Man, 30, started seeing Mr Tan, a co-worker at her new job.
Hui and Ms Ng, a Malaysian, had started an affair in April 2016 while they were colleagues but broke up in February last year.
CBS tipped off MFA on May 12, 2018, and Hui was arrested five days later, on May 17.