Man claims self-defence over knife fight

·2-min read

A man fled to NSW after stabbing his Melbourne housemate over a fight about visa money.

Yong Choy Chee says he attacked 29-year-old Hardeep Singh at a Springvale boarding house in November 2016 in self-defence.

Both men came from Malaysia to Australia on tourist visas, but they expired and the duo remained in the country working illegally as plasterers.

They argued over roughly $400 Mr Singh had given to Chee's cousin to obtain another visa.

Chee admits recklessly causing Mr Singh serious injury. But the men's accounts differ as to who had the knife first.

Mr Singh had been drinking before getting into an argument with Chee about the visa, prosecutor Catherine Parkes told Victoria's Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Chee, then aged 30, stabbed the man's head and upper body repeatedly, cutting an artery.

Mr Singh ran from the house and then back inside, screaming for help because he thought he was going to die.

He needed a blood transfusion, surgery and was in intensive care for six days.

At one point, he had no pulse but was revived.

Chee fled before police arrived, leaving a blood trail. The kitchen was also covered in blood.

He stopped accessing his bank accounts, changed his phone number and registered a new one in a false name.

He was arrested in NSW in February 2019 when police who stopped him about a ticketing offence realised he was wanted in Victoria.

Chee said he was sleeping when Mr Singh drunkenly and aggressively banged on his door.

"He was holding a knife wanting to chop me. I was very fearful," Chee told the court through an interpreter.

He said he tried to shut the door and Mr Singh dropped the knife.

Chee also said his own wrist was cut, and he picked up the weapon and waved it in front of the other man.

"I'm regretful for what I have done," he said.

"At the time I was fearful. I'm not sure whether I stabbed him or not."

Mr Singh said he was upset about the visa, and that he told Chee he wanted either the money back or the papers or he would go to the police.

He told the court he hadn't seen the knife before Chee stabbed him with it. Mr Singh also denied going to Chee's room and insisted Chee came to him.

"We were very close friends ... But he (Chee) gets angry very quickly," Mr Singh said, also through an interpreter.

Acting for Chee, barrister Raphael de Vietri argued Mr Singh wasn't a credible witness.

Ms Parkes said accounts from other men in the house supported the prosecution's evidence about the knife.

Chee, who has already spent 789 days in custody, was remanded to be sentenced at a later date.