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‘We are sorry’, say families of Singapore couple who tortured tenant

The couple had pleaded guilty on Monday to causing grievous hurt to Annie Ee Yu Lian, 26, leading to her death. — Reuters file picThe couple had pleaded guilty on Monday to causing grievous hurt to Annie Ee Yu Lian, 26, leading to her death. — Reuters file picSINGAPORE, Dec 1 — The families of the couple who abused their tenant for eight months to her death today apologised to the family of the victim, and pleaded for the public not to launch personal attacks against them.

Pua Hak Chuan, 38, and his wife Tan Hui Zhen, 33, were handed jail sentences of 14 years, and 16.5 years, respectively. Pua also received 14 strokes of the cane.

The couple had pleaded guilty on Monday to causing grievous hurt to Annie Ee Yu Lian, 26, leading to her death.

Tan’s eldest brother, who declined to give his full name, said: “We really owe an apology to (Ee’s) family … and would like to do so.”

Speaking to reporters after the judgement was delivered, he added: “Those who are responsible for the acts have been punished already.

“We (the families) are fully agreeable that they should be punished for what they have done.”

The couple’s actions were met with public outrage since they made the headlines on Monday.

More than 19,000 signatures have been collected as of this morning on a petition calling for stiffer punishment against them.

Tan’s eldest brother said the public “can comment freely”, but he hoped that they would show restraint.

“While it may seem (to some) that we were trying to seek a lighter sentence, we were just trying to seek a fair consideration of points on both sides,” he said.

Tan’s mother was not in court today, as the family was concerned about the potential public reaction.

Tan’s lawyer, Josephus Tan, told reporters that the families “have been under tremendous backlash over the past few days”.

In her mitigation plea submitted to the court on Monday, it was revealed by Tan’s eldest brother that their family had a history of abuse.

“It wasn’t a happy childhood… but neither was it bad enough to justify what had happened,” he said.

Speaking to reporters, Tan’s eldest brother said the couple’s friends and family will continue to support them.

“It is a long way we need to walk with them… after their release… we are committed to help them,” he said. — TODAY

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