Saturday, October 16, 2021

Apex court upholds death sentence of ex-tow truck driver for murder of AmBank founder

Three-man Federal Court bench also upholds Koong Swee Kwan's 18-year jail sentence for the attempted murder of Hussain Ahmad Najadi's wife.

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The Federal Court today upheld the conviction and death sentence of a former tow truck driver for the murder of AmBank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi in 2013.

A three-member bench led by Court of Appeal president Rohana Yusuf also affirmed the 18-year jail term on Koong Swee Kwan for attempting to murder Najadi’s wife Cheong Mei Kuen.

The bench, which also comprised Federal Court judges Abdul Rahman Sebli and Hasnah Mohammed Hashim, dismissed Koong’s final appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Justice Rohana said that evidence against Koong was overwhelming.

Koong’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said his client’s last recourse would be to appeal for clemency to the Pardons’ Board.

He submitted in the appeal that his client’s defence was not fairly and justly assessed by the trial judge as required by the law.

Koong, 52, known as Sei Ngan Chai, was sentenced to death on Oct 27, 2017 for killing Najadi, 75, after a retrial of his case. He was also sentenced to 18 years in jail for attempting to murder Cheong.

The man was charged with committing the offences in the parking lot of the Kuan Yin Temple in Lorong Ceylon between 1.30pm and 2pm on July 29, 2013.

On Sept 5, 2014, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Azman Husin sentenced Koong to death for Najadi’s murder and 18 years’ jail for the attempted murder of Najadi’s wife.

However, on Dec 14, 2016, a five-man Federal Court bench set aside Koong’s conviction and ordered the case to be retried in the High Court after ruling that Azman could have been prejudiced since he had heard the appeal of a taxi man, Chew Siang Chee, who was facing charges of possession of pistol and bullets. Chew was said to have driven Koong away after the shooting.

Chew was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in jail on two charges by the Sessions Court for possessing a pistol and live bullets. However, he was acquitted by the Court of Appeal in 2015.

The retrial of Koong’s case was heard by then judicial commissioner Ab Karim Ab Rahman, who is now a High Court judge.

Deputy public prosecutor Tetralina Ahmed Fauzi argued that the Koong’s conviction was safe as there were overwhelming evidence to support it.

She said the High Court judge had followed Section 182 of the Criminal Procedure Code in deciding that the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.

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