KOVAN DOUBLE MURDERS TRIAL KICKS OFF, FORMER POLICEMAN MAY FACE DEATH

A former Singapore Police Force (SPF) officer, Iskandar Rahmat, 36, stood trial today in the High Court. He was charged with 2 counts of murder for killing a father and son, Mr Tan Boon Sin, 67, and Mr Tan Chee Heong, 42, respectively.

The trial will take place over two tranches from 20th to 30th Oct, and the second tranche from 29th Mar to 8th Apr 2016. The first tranche began this morning, with the prosecution presenting the series of events that led to Iskandar’s murdering of the father and son duo at Kovan.

Iskandar joined the police force in 1999 and held the rank of senior staff sergeant when the murders were committed. He has been barred from duty since the murder charges were brought against him in July 2013.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lau Wing Yum told the court today that Iskandar was facing bankruptcy at the time of the murders. Following his divorce in 2005, he soon fell into debt as he could not keep up with housing and car loan repayments. The bank seized his house and car and sold them, but he still owed more than $60,000.

His superiors at the SPF found out about his financial troubles and took him off front-line duties. An internal investigation was also launched over his non-declaration of his financial troubles, said DPP Lau.

He then came up with a plan to rob Tan, who had made a police report 8 months before the murder over the theft of $35,000 from his Cisco safe deposit box. Iskandar thought that Tan had another S$200,000 in the box – enough to pay off his debt.

Having hatched his plan, he then offered the bank a lump sum repayment of $50,000 a week before the murders, despite having only $400 in cash at the time. The murders were carried out on the day he was supposed to make payment to the bank.

Posing as an officer from the Police Intelligence Department, Iskandar told the elder Tan that his safe deposit box was going to be broken into. He gave Tan a dummy CCTV camera, told him to remove the money from the box and place the camera inside. He then escorted Tan to his house to get close too the cash.

At the house, Iskandar used a knife – which was disposed of and never recovered – to stab the elder Tan more than 20 times on his neck, face and other parts of his body. When the elder Tan’s son entered the house, Iskandar used the same knife and stabbed him too – 11 times on his face, neck and scalp, DPP Lau told the court.

When Iskandar tried to flee the scene in the elder Tan’s car, he reversed over the dying son’s body and dumped the blood stained car at Eunos Industrial Estate before driving a rental car home. That same night, he fled to Johor Bahru on his scooter.

According to Iskandar’s lawyers, Iskandar claims that the elder Tan came at him with a knife and in the ensuing struggle, he grabbed the knife and turned it on Tan. Iskandar then claimed that the younger Tan entered the house, shouted for his father and lunged towards Iskandar, which was when he stabbed the son. The younger Tan then stumbled out of the house.

Iskandar claims that he threw the knife and his bloodstained clothes into a canal at East Coast Park but police divers and K-9 units searched the area and came up empty.

Iskandar fled to Johor Bahru the same evening and was arrested by the Malaysian police at a restaurant in Danga Bay at around 11.30pm after a 54-hour manhunt. He was extradited to Singapore the following day.

If convicted of the charges, he faces the death penalty.

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