Doctor struck off medical register after being jailed for brutal assault of girlfriend, locking her in room
- Clarence Teo’s behaviour was “fundamentally incompatible” with being a doctor, a disciplinary tribunal found
- The former locum was sentenced to more than three years’ jail and caning last year
- He had assaulted Ms Rachel Lim En Hui three times, claiming that he was a severe alcoholic
- A photo of her swollen and badly beaten face was published online, sparking public outrage
SINGAPORE — A doctor has been banned from practising medicine in Singapore after inflicting multiple vicious assaults on his then-girlfriend in 2017.
Clarence Teo Shun Jie, 36, is serving three-and-a-half years and two weeks in jail. He was sentenced in a district court in June last year to four strokes of the cane and a fine of S$4,000.
The former locum — or stand-in doctor — at clinics was struck off the medical register in January this year, with the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) releasing its written grounds of decision last Thursday (March 4).
Teo had bashed Ms Rachel Lim En Hui, now 30, at least thrice — once, when she refused him sex.
They had met on the dating mobile application Coffee Meets Bagel in February 2017 and dated from then until August that year.
Following his conviction in court, the SMC brought four disciplinary charges against him — three in relation to each incident of assault, and one in relation to Teo wrongfully restraining Ms Lim during the last incident.
Teo pleaded guilty to all the charges before a disciplinary tribunal. His case was referred to the tribunal by the SMC.
‘BROUGHT THE MEDICAL PROFESSION INTO DISREPUTE’
In its written grounds, the tribunal agreed with the SMC’s lawyers that Teo should be struck off Singapore’s register of medical practitioners as “the standing of the medical profession has been severely impacted by (Teo’s) misconduct”.
Ms Lim had suffered severe injuries in the form of multiple facial fractures, a fracture to her little finger and a brain haemorrhage. She was hospitalised for 20 days and had screws and a plate inserted in her fractured hand.
A photo of her swollen and badly beaten face had been published online, sparking public outrage over the violence that was inflicted upon her.
In a victim impact statement, Ms Lim said that she has continued to feel a sense of panic for no apparent reason and is constantly afraid that Teo might ambush her when she went out to work.
Teo previously told the court that he was a severe alcoholic and his drinking led to blackouts that caused him to do “crazy things”, of which he had no recollection when he sobered up.
For that reason, he had claimed trial to assaulting and wrongfully confining her in August 2017. But a district judge found that he had failed to show that he was so intoxicated, he did not have the intent to commit the offences.
He pleaded guilty to two other charges over the other two incidents.
The tribunal noted that he had completely abstained from alcohol since October 2017.
Yet, soon after apologising for beating Ms Lim up, he threatened to publish her nude photograph online, saying that she would be an “internet sensation”, and continued assaulting her.
The tribunal said: “There was no step taken by (him) to apologise to the profession for his action at an early stage before the criminal hearing or to voluntarily cease practice pending the outcome of his criminal case as a sign of his remorsefulness and taking responsibility.
“Clearly, there was a defect in his character. His criminal convictions have brought the medical profession into disrepute and his criminal misconduct is fundamentally incompatible with being a doctor.”
However, the tribunal commended Teo for taking steps to manage his psychiatric conditions and intoxication. This would help if he decides to apply to restore his name to the medical register in the future, it added.
The tribunal — comprising Dr Lim Cheok Peng, Dr Lydia Au and District Judge Ng Peng Hong — also ordered Teo to pay the costs and expenses of the disciplinary proceedings.
WHAT HE DID
Teo first assaulted Ms Lim on March 12, 2017 in his flat. He had abruptly brought up her past relationships and yelled at her before punching her in the face.
About two weeks later, she told him she wanted to break with him. He then accosted her at the void deck of a block of flats where she lived, punched her, pushed her into his car and took her to his flat, locking them in his bedroom.
He assaulted her some more and poured apple juice on her while the air-conditioner was on. After several hours, he allowed her to leave.
She filed a police report the next day, saying that Teo had called her earlier that afternoon and threatened to harm her.
In the wee hours of Aug 27, 2017, Teo again flew into a rage and beat Ms Lim up when both were in bed and she refused to have sex with him. He locked her in his room when she tried to escape.
Teo’s father heard crying sounds and loud noises coming intermittently from the room, then eventually called the police.
Police officers broke down the door and found Ms Lim sitting in the corner of the room.
After being convicted, Teo made full compensation of about S$10,000 to Ms Lim for her medical bills.