Prof recounts knife attack

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NANYANG Technological University (NTU) student David Hartanto Widjaja turned up unexpectedly at his professor's office on March 2 morning, after avoiding him for a week to discuss his final year project.

He was supposed to see Associate Professor Chan Kap Luk on Feb 26 morning together with several other final year students but he didn't show up. Prof Chan then moved the meeting to the next morning but this had to be rescheduled to 2pm that day as the professor was engaged with two other students that morning. Widjaja did not come in the afternoon.

Three days later, he walked into Prof Chan's office at 10.25am. What followed was an exchange which ended in Prof Chan, 45, being stabbed and the 21-year-old electrical and electronic engineering undergraduate falling four storeys to his death from a bridge.

Prof Chan who was Widjaja's project supervisor, recounted the moments leading to attack on that fateful morning in his conditional statement when he took the stand on Thursday on Day Two of a coroner's inquiry into the Indonesian student's death fall.

He told a packed courtroom that Widjaja came to his office on March 2 morning, saying he wanted to discuss his final year project. Widjaja then produced a thumb drive, claiming his work was stored in it. Prof Chan had problem running the programme on his computer, which showed nothing. To which, Mr Widjaja insisted that he had indeed done the project.

During the exchange, Prof Chan noticed that Widjaja's voice was turning shaky. Moments later, when his back was turned against Widjaja, he felt a blow on his back. He spun around and saw Widjaja wielding an 18-cm knife coming for him. Prof Chan said he tried to block with his arm and fell to the floor.

He said Widjaja attacked him again but he managed to grab the knife, breaking the blade from the handle. A struggle followed, during which Widjaja fell back and hit a metal filing cabinet in the room.

The professor then tried to run out of the office but was blocked by Widjaja. He managed to push Widjaja aside and ran towards the students' graduation office a few metres away. While being tended to by staff, Prof Chan said it was then that he realised that he had been stabbed in the back by Widjaja.

The professor suffered a cut on the tendon of his right index finger and needed five stitches for the wound on his back. He was given 20 days' medical leave.

Prof Chan said that as he was running away from Widjaja, he glanced back briefly and heard the Indonesian student shouting from the door way that he blamed the professor for the whole incident.

He said he did not know what happened to Widjaja as he was rushed to hospital, and only found out he had died from the news.

The inquiry continues.


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