SINGAPORE — “I put two ghosts with you, one female, child and a boy, in your house bedroom to sleep with you, hor, (sic) you sleep well with them, very pleasurable, they will disturb you, okay, make you cannot, cannot, cannot sleep, will ask you wake up and play.”
This was what 55-year-old Lim Cher Huat told his ex-wife months after the two had divorced and the former had moved out of their matrimonial home.
The ex-wife, 50, had taken a personal protection order against Lim, restraining him from using violence against her. But it did not stop Lim from harassing her over the phone, and threatening her through calls and voice messages.
Lim was jailed for two weeks and fined $2,000 on Wednesday (25 August) after pleading guilty to one count of stalking, mischief by causing damage to property, and one count of affray. Five charges involving stalking and breaching the personal protection order were taken into consideration for his sentencing.
The former couple, who have a son and a daughter, commenced divorce proceedings in 2017. A Family Justice Courts judge granted a personal protection order against Lim to his wife on 14 December 2017.
The final judgement for the divorce was delivered around March 2018. Lim moved out of the marital home after the divorce.
Between 3 and 15 December 2018, Lim called his ex-wife on her mobile phone even after she asked him to desist. He also sent her voice messages in Hokkien, most of which were threatening.
Some of these stated, “Want to agitate me, find a man outside, you go with one, I will beat up one to show you. Beat until I go into prison” and “Now it’s your turn to make me very pissed off”.
He also used vulgarities and asked her not to “dirty” his children. He also threatened to “put two ghosts to sleep” with her.
“Have a good time with the two ghosts, hor (sic), don’t disturb my (children).” He added. The woman lodged a police report on 16 December 2018.
Lim was investigated for the offences but he re-offended by threatening his ex-wife with violence the next year.
Sometime before 6 September 2019, Lim asked his ex-wife for access to the birth certificate of their son, so that he could register for a rental flat unit with the Housing and Development Board. Lim intended to register their son as a co-tenant of the rental flat, however the woman did not allow him access.
On 6 September 2019, while the ex-wife had dinner at a coffee shop with her daughter and a male friend, Lim confronted her there and “told her to be careful”, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Benjamin Samynathan.
He then asked if the male friend was his ex-wife's boyfriend and why she “did that” to him.
“The dispute escalated and the accused flipped the table at the coffeeshop. Wanting to avoid a confrontation, (the woman), her friend and her daughter left the coffeeshop,” said the DPP.
Lim trailed the trio and asked the male friend to leave. After the male friend left, Lim then grabbed his ex-wife's shirt. The woman began recording the confrontation, agitating Lim more. He swiped her phone, causing it to fall to the floor and crack.
The woman lodged a police report then.
On 12 September 2019, the woman, another man who was her boyfriend, and her daughter took the lift down to the ground floor at night when Lim saw them. Lim entered the lift to confront the boyfriend. He started fighting with the boyfriend.
The woman’s daughter called the police shortly after. Both men sustained bruises from the scuffle.
Lim's lawyer N K Anitha said that her client's actions were "in response to unreasonable and even unconscionable conduct on the part of the ex-wife". Lim had given up the house to enable his former wife to have a stable home, and was expected to leave on the day of the final judgement without any regard of where he was going to stay, said the lawyer.
The woman then used the PPO to ensure that Lim could not even contact his son, now 15, at school.
"The complainant persisted in uncooperative behaviour which infuriated him and made him act in the way he did," said Anitha, adding that Lim had only contacted the woman when he needed to and for a "justifiable reason".
"In that context, he sent those messages, in fact some of the messages clearly show his frustration," said the lawyer. After Lim resolved his housing situation he did not contact the woman at all.
Stalking carries a jail term of up to a year, and/or a maximum fine of $5,000. Mischief carries a jail term of up to two years, and/or a fine. Affray carries a jail term of up to a year, and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.
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