KUALA LUMPUR: The Buddhist monk sat handcuffed in the dock with his eyes closed and head bowed, deep in silent prayer and seemingly oblivious to the court proceedings.
Clad in blue shorts and white round-neck T-shirt, he only looked up to plead not guilty when the charge of manslaughter was read to him in Cantonese by a court interpreter.
Liew Wan Fu, 26, a former taxi driver, is accused of causing the death of another taxi driver Lim Choon Ho, 38, at Kim Mega restaurant in Taman Miharja at 5.15am on March 3 last year.
Liew, of Jalan Kuchai Lama, faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted of the crime, which allegedly stemmed from a gambling dispute over snooker.
At the Sessions Court yesterday, senior Deputy Public Prosecutor B. Sarala Pillai urged the judge to deny bail because Liew had been on the run for a year before he was arrested.
Liews counsel Wong Kian Kheong then related to the court that his client had gone to Thailand to join a monastery.
His purpose was not to escape from the police but to repent and meditate at a Buddhist temple, said Wong who produced a colour photograph of Liew clad in saffron robes for the judges observation.
Wong pointed out that Liew had voluntarily surrendered to the police last week.
Sessions Court judge Mohd Nasir Nordin set bail at RM30,000 in one surety, and ordered that the bailor be a family member.
Liew has to give up his passport to the court and report to the nearest police station twice a month. Hearing has bee fixed for three days beginning Aug 1.
Liews mother and brother were in court yesterday. They posted bail.