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'I love my mother': Man, 30, admits to starving, hitting mother with padlock

Wan Ting Koh
·Senior Reporter
·4-min read
Elderly woman's bruised hands.
Elderly woman's bruised hands. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — For over three years, a 30-year-old man subjected his mother to various forms of abuse, such as starving her and not allowing her to shower or make noise when he was stressed by his university schoolwork.

Andy Koh Ju Hua also hit the 68-year-old in the face and the groin with a metal padlock, with the victim taking the abuse in silence as she did not want to jeopardise her son's future. She told the police that her injuries were the result of a fall in the toilet.

Koh, who was doing a Masters degree at the National University of Singapore (NUS), on Tuesday (16 March) pleaded guilty to four charges of voluntarily causing hurt to his mother. One of Koh's charges comes under enhanced provisions covering victims who stay in the same household as the offender, which came into effect on 1 January last year.

District Judge Kessler Soh adjourned the case for the prosecution to address the court on whether a mandatory treatment order could be imposed in Koh's case. A mandatory treatment order means that Koh, who has a psychotic disorder, will receive psychiatric treatment in lieu of a jail term or a fine.

The judge added that it was critical at this point for Koh to receive treatment.

Mitigating for himself, Koh said, "I love my mother a lot and I don't know why I committed all those silly things to her."

"I need to undergo treatment to overcome my psychotic disorder. I hope to be reunited with my mother and live happily with her. The IMH doctor gave me antipsychotic medication and I hope that the judge can consider giving me MTO."

He added: "So I hope to undergo treatment and cure myself so that I can live happily ever after with my mother. She is not young anymore and I certainly wish to take care of her in her remaining days."

Koh lives with his father and mother in a Punggol flat.

A pattern of abuse

Koh began to abuse his mother in 2017, and would beat her when he was stressed with schoolwork.

Throughout her abuse, the woman was hospitalised on three occasions and placed in a safe house by a social services agency, but she insisted on returning to her family each time.

In January 2018, Koh kneed his mother in the groin. The victim called her relative for help, and was found by her niece in an unkempt state at another block in Punggol. The woman complained of pain in her lower abdomen and vaginal area, and also told her niece about her son's abuse.

Even though her niece wanted to call the police, the woman told her not to. She was conveyed to the hospital but claimed that her injuries were sustained from a fall. She had extensive bruising over her limbs, genitalia and had fluid collections along the abdominal and pelvic walls. She was treated and discharged on 18 January 2018.

Some 11 months later, he hit her in the face with his hands, causing her pain. In the same month, he hooked a metal padlock around his finger and hit her vaginal area several times.

The mother did not retaliate and let him vent his frustration and anger. The woman later called her elder brother, who found her nightgown with bloodstains around her groin area. She was conveyed to the hospital, which alerted the police to her plight.

However, the woman informed the police that her injuries were the result of a fall she sustained in the toilet. She sustained a facial bone fracture, nasal bone fracture, and injuries on her pubic region.

On 6 June last year, after Koh punched the woman in the mouth thrice, she fled to her relatives for help. The woman's nephew later called the police to report the family violence, noting that she looked sunken, frail, and very dirty.

A medical report showed that the mother had multiple bruises over her face and a swollen nasal bridge with abrasions across her body.

She revealed her son's acts to the police after this incident.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Magdalene Huang sought 30 weeks' jail for Koh, whom she said had attacked the woman in a cruel and vicious manner.

She added that Koh's IMH report stated that he showed a "complete lack of remorse".

Koh will return to court on 23 March for his next hearing.

For voluntarily causing hurt, Koh faces a jail term of up to two years, or a maximum fine of $5,000, or both.

NUS statement

In response to media queries, NUS said in a statement that Koh, a former graduate student at the university, had been on Leave of Absence (LoA) since August 2019. "As he did not return to his studies after his LoA expired, his candidature was terminated by the University in January 2021 and he is no longer with the University," NUS added.

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