Mohd Johan Arif Irwan Tan, a 35-year-old Malaysian student at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), has been sentenced to three weeks in jail after sending threatening emails to staff members.
Tan, who was under investigation for allegedly harassing female students, pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal intimidation, according to CNA.
Tan was pursuing a master’s degree in media and communication at NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information when the university began investigating a complaint against him for alleged harassment.
Following preliminary investigations, the matter was forwarded to NTU’s Board of Discipline Secretariat for further probe.
The Board, responsible for managing complaints regarding violations of NTU’s student code of conduct, initiated a disciplinary inquiry into Tan’s alleged violation. On April 25, 2023, the board sent an email to Tan, informing him of the report lodged against him and inviting him to a meeting to discuss the disciplinary procedures. Within hours, Tan responded to the email, copying eight other recipients, including NTU faculty members.
According to the report, his email contained threatening language, stating, “I would like to let you know tat [sic] I think you guys at NTU should stop harassing me with your investigations already, or else I would call the police right NOW and STICK A KNIFE UP YOUR THROATS. YOU GOT THAT???”
“Last warning and I’m no longer playing. I mean it.”
In another email sent an hour later, Tan reiterated his threats, stating, “I’m going to go to NTU with a knife tomorrow and cut everyone’s throat in the management office.”
“So if you want to call the police you can call the police now, I’ll be waiting for them.”
The board immediately informed NTU’s associate provost of student life, who advised staff members to work from home until Tan was arrested.
The following morning, an exclusion and no-contact notice was issued to Tan, prohibiting him from entering the university campus and communicating with any NTU personnel, except for one designated faculty member.
During court proceedings, it was revealed that Tan had schizoaffective disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. However, there was no evidence of a relapse or a link between his mental disorders and the offense.
In light of Tan’s actions, the prosecution sought a jail term of three to six weeks. Although Tan did not bring a weapon to the vicinity of the board members as threatened, the court recognized the seriousness of his actions. For criminal intimidation, Tan could have faced a fine or imprisonment of up to two years, or both.
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