Najadi’s alleged killer ordered to enter defence in retrial

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KUALA LUMPUR: Tow truck driver Koong Swee Kuan, who is on retrial for the murder of AmBank founder Hussain Najadi three years ago, was again ordered to enter his defence on the charge.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Ab Karim Ab Rahman ruled that the prosecution, represented by deputy public prosecutor Hamdan Hamzah, had proven a prima facie case against Koong for murdering Najadi and attempting to murder Najadi’s wife, Cheong Mei Kuen, on July 29, 2013 at Kuan Yin Temple, Jalan Ceylon, here.

“The court accepts the evidence by the wife and two other witnesses at the scene who said they recognised Koong as the one who fired the shots at a close range,” he said.

Karim added that Koong’s action in gunning down Cheong could have caused a fatality.

“The doctor who treated her told the court she could have died if she had not been treated,” he said.

When later asked by the court how Koong wanted to give his testimony, his lawyer, Jagjit Singh, said he will be taking the witness stand this time, allowing himself to be cross-examined.

At the first hearing, Koong had opted to give his statement from the dock, disallowing cross-examination.

Karim set Aug 17-25 to hear his testimony.

Koong, whose nickname is “sei ngan chai” or bespectacled, was previously found guilty in September 2014 of murdering Najadi at the temple and another charge of attempted murder of Cheong at the same place.

He was sentenced to 18 years in jail on the attempted murder charge.

Koong’s case was earlier heard by another High Court judge, Justice Azman Husin.

However, prior to convicting Koong, Justice Azman had heard and dismissed taxi driver Chew Siang Chee’s appeal in August 2014. Chew was said to have ferried Koong after the shooting.

Chew was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in jail on two charges by the Sessions Court for possessing a pistol and live bullets. However, he was acquitted by the Court of Appeal last year.

The Federal Court had last December ordered a retrial of Najadi’s murder case and attempted murder of his wife, ruling that the trial judge (Justice Azman) was prejudiced against Koong.