ITE College Central murder: Retiree admits stabbing ex-wife, prosecutors 'not objecting' to life term

SINGAPORE – A 69-year-old man who stabbed and slashed his former wife eight times at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central campus was convicted of a reduced murder charge on Tuesday (Sept 14).

The High Court heard that Seet Cher Hng, a retiree, stabbed himself 13 times with the same knife after attacking Ms Low Hwee Geok, 56, at the carpark of the Ang Mo Kio campus on the evening of July 19, 2018.

Seet was initially charged with murder under Section 300(a) of the Penal Code, which carries the mandatory death penalty.

Last month, the prosecution amended the charge to Section 300(c) for murder by intentionally causing fatal injuries to Ms Low. The charge carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.

On Tuesday, prosecutors told the court that it will not be objecting to a life sentence for Seet.

Seet did not contest the amended charge and calmly told the court: “I wish to plead guilty and don’t wish to give evidence.”

At the time of the murder, Seet was retired from his job at the ITE Headquarters and relied on monthly Central Provident Fund payouts.

Ms Low was a divisional director of the examinations division at ITE College Central.

The couple married on April 7, 1993, and were divorced on June 13, 2011. They have a daughter together.

The court heard that Seet was unhappy with the division of matrimonial assets.

He believed he did not receive his fair share of the sales proceeds of a condominium unit at Corporation Road that the couple had bought in their joint names while married.

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Seet also attributed the divorce to Ms Low’s infidelity, the court heard.

Ms Low was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Between 2011 and 2018, he made numerous demands via e-mail to Ms Low, seeking a sum of $200,000 to $500,000.

Sometime before Chinese New Year in 2018, Seet left a letter on the windscreen of Ms Low’s car, demanding $500,000 and threatening to start legal proceedings.

Ms Low did not respond to his demands, and Seet became increasingly isolated and upset, Deputy Public Prosecutor Hay Hung Chun told the court.

On July 19, 2018, Seet collected a car he reserved through a car-sharing site, and drove to the ITE campus.

He took along a haversack that contained, among other things, three knives, a spanner and a note addressed to the police. The contents of the note were not revealed in court.

One of the knives was engraved with “010609” and “020609” on the blade.

Seet had engraved these numbers as a reminder of the dates that he believed he caught Ms Low having an affair.

Ms Low Hwee Geok was the director of ITE’s examinations division, according to the Singapore Government Directory. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM ITE.EDU.SG

He arrived at the carpark at about 4.40pm and waited for Ms Low. At about 7.30 pm, when he saw Ms Low approach her car, Seet got out of his car and walked quickly towards her.

As she got into her car, Seet entered through the front passenger side. Ms Low screamed loudly when she saw Seet, who then grabbed her arm to stop her from getting out of her car.

She managed to break free after a brief struggle but fell as she stepped out from the car. Seet then ran towards her and stabbed her eight times, including three wounds to her chest and back.

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He then stabbed himself on his upper torso repeatedly and collapsed on top of her.

A call was made to the police at about 7.45pm. Ms Low was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

Seet was taken to hospital, where he underwent surgery for abdominal injuries and was placed in intensive care until July 25, 2018.

An autopsy report said Ms Low died from three stab wounds to the chest and abdomen.

A psychiatric report assessed that Seet was not suffering from any major mental disorder at the time of the stabbing.

Defence counsel Wendell Wong described the case as a “painful family tragedy” in court.

Mr Wong, who is assigned to defend Seet together with Mr Loo Khee Sheng, said: “His paramount consideration to plead guilty is to shield his daughter and other loved ones from reliving the tragedy.”

The case was adjourned to Sept 22 for mitigation and sentencing.


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