SINGAPORE: Singapore’s top court on Friday denied a Malaysian murder convict’s final bid to escape the gallows, ending a brief stay of execution and warning his lawyers over “abuse” of the court process.
Kho Jabing, who was sentenced to death in 2010 for the murder of a Chinese construction worker, had been due to hang in Changi Prison at dawn Friday, but was granted a last-minute reprieve after his lawyer filed a challenge.
The Court of Appeal heard the latest plea but said it raised no new arguments about the 2008 robbery gone wrong.
“This case has been about many things but today, it’s about the abuse of the process of the court,” said Court of Appeal Judge Chao Hick Tin.
Allowing Kho, 31, to continue with legal challenges would throw the judicial system “into disrepute,” he added.
Rights group We Believe in Second Chances, which has supported Kho’s appeal, said his family had been informed the execution would be carried out quickly.
“Jabing’s family has received news that the execution will take place today,” the group said on its Facebook page.
The Malaysian High Commission told Agence France-Presse that it had been informed Kho would be executed Friday afternoon.
In Singapore, executions are normally carried out by hanging at dawn on Fridays. The Ministry of Home Affairs, which supervises the prisons service, declined comment on the arrangements.
After Kho was sentenced to death in 2010, Singapore amended its mandatory death penalty for murder, giving judges the discretion to impose life imprisonment under certain circumstances.
Kho’s case was reviewed and he was re-sentenced to a life term in 2013. But state prosecutors appealed that ruling and his death sentence was reinstated in January 2015.
He was scheduled for execution last Nov. 6 but another last-minute appeal saved him.
Kho’s accomplice in the crime had his conviction for murder overturned and got 18 and a half years in prison, and 19 strokes of the cane.
Singapore, which has rejected calls by rights groups to abolish the death penalty, executed four people in 2015, one for murder and three for drug offences, according to prison statistics.
Malaysia also uses capital punishment, executing murderers and drug traffickers by hanging, a system which, like that in Singapore, dates back to British colonial rule.