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56 weeks' jail for man who abused mother

56 weeks' jail for man who abused mother

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 24 Mar 2021
Author: Shaffiq Alkhatib

Andy Koh Ju Hua pleaded guilty on March 16 to four counts of voluntarily causing hurt to his mother.

A former National University of Singapore (NUS) graduate student who punched his mother in the face and used a metal padlock to hit her groin was sentenced yesterday to 56 weeks' jail.

Andy Koh Ju Hua, a master's student at the time of the offences, pleaded guilty on March 16 to four counts of voluntarily causing hurt to the 68-year-old woman.

The Singaporean, now 30, had also barred her from taking a shower or making noise at home.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Magdalene Huang had earlier urged the court to sentence Koh to at least 50 weeks' jail, stressing that he had ill treated and mentally abused his mother.

Citing reports from Pave Integrated Services for Individual and Family Protection Specialist Centre, she said Koh had banned his mother from drinking any liquids other than plain water.

On one occasion, he ordered her to stand by a sink with an ice pack to her face for 12 hours after punching her.

He would watch her from his room and threatened to hit her if she put her hand down.

On other occasions, he struck his mother's head with a remote control, leaving a scar, and threatened to hit her genitals with a hammer, the court heard.

In an earlier statement, NUS said that Koh is no longer with the university. Its spokesman added that he had been on a leave of absence since August 2019.

He did not return to his studies after his leave and his candidature was terminated in January this year.

His mother had run away on several occasions to seek shelter with other family members.

She had also been hospitalised and placed in a safe house. But she insisted on returning home, where her husband also lives, each time.

The court heard that the mother initially refused to make a police report as she did not want to jeopardise her son's future.

The acts of abuse started in 2017 and Koh, who claimed to suffer from a psychotic disorder, also kneed his mother in the groin in January 2018. The woman then called a relative for help.

Her niece found her at another block of flats in an unkempt state. The mother was also complaining of pain in her lower abdomen.

Her niece wanted to call the police but the older woman refused.

When she went to the hospital, she said she had had a fall, in order not to implicate her son.

In December 2018, he hooked a metal padlock around his finger and swung it towards his mother's genital area multiple times as he was "angry over certain issues".

In June last year, her nephew called the police to report a case of family violence after she escaped to a relative's house.

She finally told the doctors that her son had punched her and that she felt pain in her lips and chin.

Police investigations then found that Koh had punched his mother in the mouth three times.

The Straits Times went to the victim's flat in Punggol yesterday but no one answered the door.

Neighbours on the same floor who ST spoke to said they were unaware of Koh's acts of abuse.

Software engineer Ashok Darapuneni, 35, said his family moved in at the start of 2019 and has never interacted with the Kohs.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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