It’s still death for Najadi’s killer after retrial

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has sentenced tow truck driver Koong Swee Kwan (pic) to death for the murder of Arab Malay-sian Development Bank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi in 2013, after a retrial. Judicial Commis­sioner Ab Karim Ab Rahman also sentenced him to 18 years in jail for the attempted murder of Najadi’s wife, Cheong Mei Kuen, 53.

He handed down the sentences after the defence failed to raise reasonable doubt in the case.

“I find that the accused’s evidence is a concoction, an afterthought and inherently improbable, which do not create any doubt,” he said in his oral judgement yesterday.

JC Ab Karim said the injury suffered by the victim was serious and that the case involved the use of a firearm in broad daylight and in a public place.

“The accused used a pistol to shoot Cheong’s husband right before her eyes, causing her to suffer endless trauma,” he said.

Seventeen prosecution witnesses had been called to give testimony in the trial while the defence put forward two witnesses, including Koong.

The retrial began on March 16.

JC Ab Karim granted a stay pending the appeal.

On Sept 5, 2014, High Court judge Justice Mohd Azman Husin sentenced Koong to death for Najadi’s murder and jailed him 18 years for the attempted murder.

But on Dec 14 last year, a five-man Bench at the Federal Court set aside the conviction and ordered the case to be retried in the High Court.

The apex court had found that Justice Azman could have been prejudiced since he had heard and dismissed the appeal of another accused involved in the case.

Koong, known as Sei Ngan Chai (four-eyed guy), murdered Najadi, 75, in the parking lot of the Kuan Yin Temple in Lorong Ceylon between 1.30pm and 2pm on July 29, 2013.

He was charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries a mandatory death sentence on conviction.

Najadi was shot and his wife wounded in the shooting as they emerged from the temple that day.

Koong fired at them at close range, killing the banker on the spot. Najadi was hit twice in the chest while Cheong was hit in the left hand and right leg.

Delivering her victim impact statement before JC Ab Karim yesterday, Cheong told the court that she had lost her husband and her mental peace would never be restored.

“I lost my husband who was the salt of the earth. Who will give back to me what I have lost? Time cannot heal my pain and trauma.

“The ‘hired killer’ killed for a price, a sum of money paid to do this cruel job, with no thought to the repercussions,” she said.

Cheong said her husband was shot and a bullet pierced his heart, ending his life.

“I almost bled to death. I slipped into a coma. I sustained severe injuries, loss of capabilities and mobility, second stage haemorrhagic shock, mental torment, depression, palpitations and poor visibility.

“The killer shot us with immense cruelty. But the cruellest part is what he left behind – a grieving widow who has been gravely traumatised in mind and body,” said Cheong.

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