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Drug abuser who stabbed officer in violent struggle jailed 8 years, will serve out remainder of previous sentence

SINGAPORE – He locked himself in the room with a butane gas canister and lighter, shouting threats and refusing to open the door for the police.

When the officers managed to break down the door, Liaw Chong Guan, 65, a kitchen assistant, put up a violent struggle, believing they were there to arrest him for drug abuse.

He then grabbed a 20cm-long knife and stabbed one of the officers in the thigh as four of them subdued him.

On Thursday (Sept 2), Liaw was jailed for eight years with an additional enhanced sentence of 624 days’ imprisonment.

He pleaded guilty to one count each of drug abuse and hurting the officer.

Another two drug abuse charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Liaw had been previously sentenced to five years’ jail and given three strokes of the cane for drug abuse, but was released on remission after serving at least two-thirds of the sentence.

The enhanced sentence he received on Thursday was for committing fresh offences while out on remission, and he will now have to serve out in full the sentence he had previously received.

On Feb 8, the police received a call at about 8.50am saying that Liaw had locked himself in the room of a flat in Toa Payoh and was threatening to harm himself.

The police arrived about five minutes later and saw him holding on to the gas canister and lighter.

After the violent struggle, the injured police officer was found to have a 2cm wound and was discharged with 14 days of hospitalisation leave.

Liaw was remanded at the Institute of Mental Health, where he was found to suffer from opioid use disorder, but was not of unsound mind at the time of the offences.

Morphine was also found in his urine sample.

For stabbing the officer, Liaw could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.

More on this topic

For being a repeat drug offender, he could have been jailed for up to 13 years for each drug abuse charge.

He cannot be caned as he is above 50.

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Mental well-being

•  Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
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•  Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
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•  Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 and Tinkle Friend website
•  Community Health Assessment Team 6493-6500/1 and CHAT website

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Online resources

•  mindline.sg
•  My Mental Health website
•  Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service

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