As children, we are to respect our parents. That includes looking after and being there for them in their old age.
This 30-year-old son may have missed the memo however. He physically abused his 68-year-old mother, citing stress as the reason.
Andy Koh Ju Hua pleaded guilty on 16th March to four counts of voluntarily causing hurt. Initially, he lived together with his father and his mother in Singapore, however, in 2017, he started abusing his mother. He starved her and forbid her from showering or making noise when he was stressed with his studies. He also assaulted his mother’s vaginal area with a metal padlock and his knee. Koh was studying for a Master’s degree at the National University of Singapore then.
In the beginning, Koh’s mother refused to file police reports as she did not want to risk ruining her son’s future. She also sought shelter with her nephew and niece periodically. The victim was hospitalised three times and placed in a safe house each time, but would insist on returning to her family soon after. She only decided to reveal the offences and lodge a police report in June 2020.
In January 2018, Koh hit his mother’s vaginal area with his knee. Her niece found her later, looking disheveled and experiencing pain in her lower regions. She stopped her niece from reporting the matter to the police and went to the hospital, saying her wounds were from her falling down. At that time, she did not want to implicate her son. The hospital noted extensive bruising on her abdomen, buttocks, lower limbs and external genitalia. They started her on intravenous antibiotics and discharged her later in the month.
Koh assaulted her a second time in December 2018 by hitting her face with his hands and hitting her vaginal area several times with a metal padlock. His mother did not stop him, and instead, allowed him to take his frustrations out on her. She was later found with swelling on her body and bloodstains on her gown over her vaginal area. Her second hospital visit alerted the police to her abusive situation, but she merely told them she had fallen in the toilet.
She finally reported the incidents to the police in June 2020 when Koh punched her three times in the mouth without warning. She fled the house, bleeding and desperate, and found her way to her relatives. They described her as sunken, thin, frail and very dirty. Her nephew reported the incident to the police, stating that his aunt was abused by her son, and she was distraught. This time, the victim told the hospital that her son had punched her face and that her chin and lip hurt.
Koh was remanded in November 2020. However, he said he loves his mother and hopes to reunite with her. He wants to “live happily ever after” with her after receiving treatment for his purported “psychotic disorder”. Deputy Public Prosecutor Magdalene Huang stated Koh has no previous convictions, yet she sought at least 30 weeks of jail. She stressed that the victim was not only elderly, vulnerable, but also his mother. The usage of the metal padlock to assault her “is especially vicious and cruel,” she said.
Huang also highlighted the perpetrator’s complete lack of remorse, as seen in a report by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). “Although the accused has ultimately chosen to plead guilty, he had denied his offences to the police. Throughout investigations, he denied the offences,” she said. She did however, allude that his mental condition, supported by the IMH report, is “the only one mitigating factor“.
Koh, who was unrepresented, was in tears as he asked for a mandatory treatment order (MTO). “I love my mother a lot and I do not know why I committed all those silly things to her. I need to undergo treatment to overcome my psychotic disorder,” he said. Koh also hopes to cure himself via the treatment to “live happily ever after” with his mother. “She is not young anymore and I certainly wish to take care of her in her remaining days.”
Although the prosecution objected to the calling of an MTO report, the judge found it appropriate to consider. “What is critical is for the offender to receive treatment if it’s something that had any causal or contributory link, but we should get a report to ascertain if that’s the case,” District Judge Kessler Soh stated. Initially, he called for a report to asses Koh’s suitability for an MTO, but it was later retracted according to court records. The case will be heard again on 23rd March for mitigation and sentencing.
According to CNA, the National University of Singapore said Koh’s Master’s candidature was terminated in January 2021 when he did not return from his leave of absence, which started in August 2019.