Tan Hui Zhen, 33, and Pua Hak Chuan, 38, have been sentenced today after being proven guilty of abusing and killing their flatmate, Annie Ee Yu Lian, 27 years old. Annie was systematically abused for months prior to her death, exploited for her salary, and denied medical treatment–all while being manipulated by the couple due to her low intellectual capacity.
Annie passed away due to acute fat embolism. According to reports, “She had been beaten so badly that her skin and fat dissociated from the mscle layer and the fatty tissue below the skin broke down and went into her bloodstream and lungs, affecting oxygenation of blood, and leading to cardiac and respiratory failure.”
Tan was sentenced to 16 years in jail, while Pua has to serve 14 years. He will also be caned 14 times. The two will be in their 50’s by the time they are released from prison.
Their families speak up
Tan’s family has been mostly mum about the case, but with the sentencing, her brother has finally come forward to speak.
In an interview with Channel News Asia, Tan’s eldest brother has spoken up about the case.
“It’s a fact that there was wrong being done, and there is justice sought. To what extent, whether it’s enough or not, is really subjective,” he said. “But we should respect the law and the court’s decision.”
“My sister and my brother-in-law really owe an apology to the deceased’s family. It’s not enough, but it’s the minimum to do, and I’d like to do it publicly here.”
“While it may seem efforts have been made to give them lighter sentences, that’s not our intention. We were just trying to seek fair consideration of points on both sides.
“We are fully agreeable they should be punished. This is without dispute.”
Tan has three other siblings. According to the interview, Tan had a very troubled and abusive childhood. Along with her mental health issues of depression and borderline personality disorder, she also has a history of self harm.
She has also experienced three miscarriages.
Tan’s brother also said that the mental issues could run in their family, but that these problems have not been addressed as well as they should have.
Still, he said that his sister’s mental state was not an excuse for her actions.
Pua’s mother speaks out
As for Pua’s family, it was his mother who came forward to speak, but declined to be identified. She spoke through their lawyer, Josephus Tan, who said that they were very apologetic over the whole case.
She also reportedly said that “My son has gotten what he deserves.”
Whispers from the court dock
While the families of the suspects are apologetic and asking for any sort of understanding from the outraged Singaporean public, Tan and Pua have been caught speaking to their lawyer in hushed tones.
On one occasion, their lawyer told the two that they were currently Singapore’s public enemy number 1. Pua reportedly laughed at that statement.
On another occasion, Tan could be seen asking “Why can we not appeal?” during the sentencing.
What do netizens think?
Some netizens got into discussions on how the couple are facing the public and the case.
Others pointed out that the families of the convicted couple could have known of the abuse or are culpable as well. some argued against that.
While some wanted the death sentence for what the couple did.
Other netizens thought that the couple were making excuses for their actions, with bringing to light mental conditions and hospital stays.
Do you agree with some of the comments? Let us know!