By Malaysiakini

The Federal Court has commuted the death sentence of a youth convicted of the murder of German-born Australian businessperson Hans Herzog more than two decades ago, to 35 years in prison.

Judge Zabariah Yusof ordered the jail term of Low Kian Boon, now 39, to begin from the date of his arrest on Nov 13, 2003. She also ordered Low, who was just 18 when the crime was committed on Nov 12, 2003, to be given 12 strokes of the rotan.

The other two judges on the three-member bench were judges Nordin Hassan and Abu Bakar Jais, reported Free Malaysia Today.

According to the report, the case was brought before the apex court under the Revision of the Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act 2023, following the abolition of the mandatory death penalty last year.

Low’s lawyer Edmund Bon asked the court to impose a jail term of between 30 and 32 years on his client, as the latter had already spent more than 20 years behind bars, and had not received replies to two clemency applications.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Aznee Salmie Ahmad, however, urged the bench to maintain the death penalty, noting the gruesome manner in which Herzog was murdered.

Herzog was killed in his home in USJ, Subang Jaya, following a scuffle with intruders who had broken into his home.

He reportedly sustained 23 slash wounds, including on his face, and his right hand was almost severed.

Following the murder, police arrested and charged Low, a 17-year-old boy, and two sisters aged 14 and 16, with the murder. The deceased was married to the sisters’ mother.

The girls were eventually acquitted by the High Court, while Low and the teenager were sentenced to 10 years in jail for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The Court of Appeal later upheld the duo’s conviction and sentenced Low to death, while the child offender was ordered to be held in prison at the pleasure of the Selangor ruler. The latter was released after receiving a royal pardon in September 2020.