In one of the lightest sentences meted out for culpable homicide, 69-year-old Kong Peng Yee was sentenced to two years in jail today for killing his wife during a bout of psychosis.
Kong hacked his wife of 36 years, 63-year-old Wong Chik Yeok, 189 times with a knife and a chopper at their Sengkang home in March 2016. The retiree had committed the crime while experiencing severe psychotic delusions, believing that his family was trying to harm him, and that his wife was trying to poison him.
Just a day before the tragedy, Kong’s family had taken him to see a doctor who noted that Kong may be suffering from depression and paranoid delusions following an eye operation in the beginning of 2016.
The doctor also noted that Kong had expressed concern for his own safety and confided his suspicions that his family was trying to poison him and that he would die of illness.
Kong’s family had also noted his strange behaviour in the days leading to the killing. The former aircraft technician reportedly suffered delusional beliefs that his daughter was not his biological child and experienced paranoia that someone was out to hurt him.
On 13 March, Kong attacked his wife, who subsequently bled to death from multiple slash wounds to the head. According to the police, Kong was “happy” upon realising that his wife was dead.
A psychiatric assessment conducted by the Institute of Mental Health later revealed that Kong’s mental responsibility had been significantly damaged by his psychotic delusions.
The report led to his initial charge of murder being reduced to culpable homicide – a charge he pleaded guilty to, last month.
High Court judge Choo Han Teck denied the prosecutors application that Kong be jailed for nine years, noting that the sentence was probably “not the most appropriate response.”
Of Kong’s mental ailment, Justice Choo added:
“Given those circumstances, a reasonable man may fairly wonder why any punishment is even required?
“His madness is its own punishment.”
Kong’s jail term was backdated to the date of his remand last year, and so he could be released from prison today, considering his good behavior.
His disorder is also apparently in remission with the aid of medication, and he has been certified safe to be returned to his family.