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33 months' jail for recalcitrant criminal who got shot for charging at police with knife in Clementi

SINGAPORE — A 50-year-old man, who was shot by a police officer while wielding a knife earlier this year, was sentenced to two years and nine months' jail on Wednesday (Oct 26) for committing multiple violent offences.

Screenshots from an online video that captured Soo Cheow Wee being shot by a police officer on Feb 17, 2022.

Screenshots from an online video that captured Soo Cheow Wee being shot by a police officer on Feb 17, 2022.

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  • Soo Cheow Wee was in a state of substance-induced psychosis when he attacked passers-by in Clementi 
  • The 50-year-old then charged at police officers and was shot
  • This was the latest in his multiple brushes with the law dating back to 1992

SINGAPORE — A 50-year-old man, who was shot by a police officer while wielding a knife earlier this year, was sentenced to two years and nine months' jail on Wednesday (Oct 26) for committing multiple violent offences.

Soo Cheow Wee was shot in the arm in February after he charged at the police with the knife outside Clementi Police Division. He had earlier slashed a passer-by and threatened a taxi driver with the weapon.

The court also heard how Soo had a long criminal history dating back to 1992, including inhaling an intoxicating substance, disorderly behaviour and mischief.

Most recently in 2013, he was sentenced to seven years’ jail and six strokes of the cane for drug consumption.

Last month, Soo pleaded guilty to two offences of voluntarily causing hurt with a dangerous weapon, as well as one charge each of criminal intimidation and voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from his duty.

Several other similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

WHAT HAPPENED

The court heard that in the hours before he was shot on Feb 17, Soo went to Geylang where he took cough syrup and diazepam — a form of insomnia medication — without a prescription. He then returned to his mother's flat.

Around 8.30pm, he called the police to say: “Someone wants to kill me and my mother. I don’t know how to explain (it). Can you stop asking me questions?"

He then took a knife from his flat and stood along a pavement near Block 420A Clementi Avenue 1. He claimed that a voice told him to randomly target passers-by and slash them with a knife.

He tried to chase a passer-by, who ran away after seeing the weapon that Soo was holding.

Soo then spotted a 41-year-old man who was on his usual evening stroll.

The victim noticed Soo acting suspiciously while holding something wrapped in newspaper. Soo then took out the knife and swung it at the other man’s head.

When the victim blocked the attack with his hand, Soo slashed him on the hand. The victim then immediately ran towards a Sheng Siong supermarket outlet.

Soo tried to run after him but gave up. He then loitered around the area some more and swung the knife towards a female pedestrian, but she managed to escape unscathed.

Soo eventually flagged down a taxi and asked to be driven to the Clementi Police Division headquarters. However, he began giving the taxi driver conflicting instructions on where he wanted to go.

He then opened the left rear passenger door and tried to get out of the taxi but fell onto the road in the process. He then lay on the ground for a few minutes.

The taxi driver alighted from the vehicle to check on Soo and noticed him holding a knife. The driver then stepped back and ran away when Soo pointed the weapon at him and charged at him.

Soo then walked towards the police station. The taxi driver drove away and alerted police officers at the station entrance.

Soo shouted incoherently at the police officers, who commanded him to stop and drop the knife.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) R Arvindren told the court that when Soo charged towards one of them while brandishing the knife, the officer fired a gunshot because he sensed an imminent threat to the life and safety of those present.

The round struck Soo's left arm and he fell to the ground.

He was later arrested and taken to a holding room, where paramedics assessed that his injuries were not life-threatening.

As for the passer-by Soo had slashed, he was admitted to the National University Hospital and underwent surgery.

The offence of criminal intimidation carries a jail term of up to two years or a fine, or both.

For each charge of voluntarily causing hurt with a dangerous weapon, Soo could have been jailed up to seven years, fined or caned. 

The same punishment applies for the offence of voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from his duty.

Related topics

court crime gunshot police knife attack

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