Subhas Anandan



Subhas Anandan (b. 1947, Kerala, India–d. 7 January 2015, Singapore)1 was a prominent criminal defence lawyer in Singapore.2 He took on numerous high-profile cases, including that of “One-Eyed Dragon” Tan Chor Jin, and the kidney trading case involving retail tycoon Tang Wee Sung.3 Besides being a senior partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, he was also a founding member and the first president of the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore (ACLS).4 Outside the legal arena, Anandan was the president of Cuesports Singapore, an association for billiards.5

Early life
Anandan was the second of five children in a Malayalee family.6 When he was five months old, the family migrated from India to Singapore, where his father had found work as a clerk in the British Royal Navy. They lived in the staff quarters within the British naval base in Sembawang until his father retired in the 1970s.7

Anandan studied at Admiralty Asian Primary School and then Naval Base Secondary School.8 In 1963, after his GCE ‘O’ Level examination, he left for India to study medicine at Loyola College in Madras (now Chennai) to please his mother. But after the first few lessons, Anandan was convinced that he was not meant to be a doctor.9 He returned home after three months and started his pre-university education at Raffles Institution in 1964.10

After completing his GCE ‘A’ Levels, Anandan had wanted to join the police force but eventually enrolled in the University of Singapore (now National University of Singapore) at the insistence of his father.11 He obtained his law degree in 1970 and went on to do his pupilage at Shook Lin & Bok under Chan Sek Keong, then a senior partner at the firm and who later became the chief justice of Singapore.12

Career
Shortly after he was called to the Bar in 1971, Anandan started his own practice, sharing the premises of a law firm run by his friend M. P. D. Nair, a former minister in the Lim Yew Hock government.13 However, he suffered a major setback in January 1976 when he was detained for alleged involvement in a secret society and sent to prison without trial. He was released in November 1976 on a Police Supervision Order, which required him to stay indoors between 7 pm and 6 am daily and report to the police every Saturday.14 He returned to his law practice after the incident and merged his firm with Nair’s to form MPD Nair & Co in 1977.15


In 1987, Anandan found himself in another potentially damaging situation: he was charged with gross professional misconduct for allegedly behaving like a politician’s agent for his client, opposition politician J. B. Jeyaretnam. Anandan was subsequently cleared of the charge.16 Following Nair’s death in 1989, he became the managing partner of MPD Nair & Co.17

In 2000, Anandan closed the firm and joined Harry Elias Partnership as a consultant to help build up its criminal practice.18 In recognition of his achievements, the Singapore Law Society honoured him with the Legal Eagle Award in 2001.19 Going beyond defending clients, he helped to set up the ACLS in 2004 to contribute to the development of criminal law and promote the interests of criminal lawyers in Singapore.20 In 2007, he joined KhattarWong and, having proven his prowess in the criminal arena, expressed interest in taking on more civil cases in addition to heading the firm’s criminal practice.21

In his career, Anandan handled over 1,500 criminal cases involving a wide range of crimes, including murder, rape, maid abuse, drug trafficking and white-collar offences.22 Known for his sharp and stinging attacks in the courtroom, Anandan was nicknamed “the basher” within the legal community.23 His piercing eyes, bushy hair and thick beard also gave him an intimidating presence, although he had been described as jovial, affable and even soft-spoken outside the courtroom.24 As one of Singapore’s top criminal defence lawyers, he had appeared so frequently in the media that some people called him a publicity hound.25

Subscribing to the tenet that everyone deserves a proper defence regardless of the crime, Anandan defended clients accused of the most horrifying crimes despite the condemnation and occasional death threats that he received.26 He claimed to have never rejected cases based on what a person had been charged with.27

Anandan’s most infamous convicted clients include:

Abdul Nasir Amer Hamsah: Caused the death of a Japanese tourist at Oriental Hotel in a robbery attempt. He was acquitted of the murder but was sentenced to 18 years and 18 strokes of the cane on a reduced charge of committing robbery with hurt. He was later convicted of kidnapping two officers at a police lock-up, and was sentenced to life imprisonment and six strokes.28

Constance Chee Cheong Hin: Caused four-year-old Sindee Neo, daughter of her former lover, to fall to her death. Chee was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment.29
Took Leng How: Killed eight-year-old Huang Na. Took was convicted and sentenced to death.30
Leong Siew Chor: Killed and dismembered his lover, Chinese national Liu Hong Mei, in a crime known as the “Kallang body parts murder”. He was  found guilty and sentenced to death.31
Anthony Ler: Planned his estranged wife, Annie Leong’s murder, and instigated a 15-year-old boy to commit the deed. Ler was sentenced to hang.32
Tan Chor Jin: Nicknamed “One-Eyed Dragon”, Tan killed karaoke lounge owner Lim Hock Soon by shooting him several times. Tan was sentenced to hang.33

Personal life
Besides owning luxury cars, Anandan liked collecting antique or miniature swords, sabres and Malay krises.34 He often visited the Singapore Cricket Club to play snooker, which helped him relax when he was working on a case.35 He also spent a lot of time at the Holy Tree Sri Balasubramaniam Temple, where he served as chairman of its board of trustees.36


Formerly an active sportsman, Anandan had to take 15 to 16 types of medication daily in his later years because of poor health.37 He suffered heart attacks in 1978, 1993 and 1997, and had undergone a heart bypass and an angioplasty.38 He lost one kidney to cancer in 2001 and was also diabetic.39 Anandan passed away in the morning of 7 January 2015 due to heart failure.40

Family
Wife:
Vimala Kesavan.41

Son: Sujesh.42
Parents: Father R. Anandan and mother Govindan Pushpanjaly, both deceased.43
Siblings: Sisters Subhashini and Sugadha, and brothers Sudheesan and Surash. Surash was one of the crew members who perished when Singapore Airlines flight SQ006 crashed in Taiwan in 2000. He was a well-known national footballer in the 1970s.44



Author

Valerie Chew




References
1. Yap, S. (2008, June 30). Soaring legal eagle. The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Cheng, K. (2015, January 8). Criminal law titan Subhas Anandan dies of heart failure. Today. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
2. Zubaidah Nazeer. (2005, September 25). ‘How can I handle this?’. The New Paper, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Nadarajan, B. (2008, November 30). Inside killer minds. The Straits Times, p. 64; Teo, X. (2009, June 17). Tang’s nephew-in-law guilty. Today, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. The Straits Times. (2015, January 7). Veteran criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan dies of heart failure, aged 67. Retrieved 2016, October 26 from The Straits Times website: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/veteran-criminal-lawyer-subhas-anandan-dies-of-heart-failure-aged-67; Anandan, S. (2015). It’s easy to cry. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 127. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA)
5. Yap, S. (2008, June 30). Soaring legal eagle. The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Tan, O. B. (1998, April 26). Courtroom Raja got a taste of jail. The Straits Times, p. 41. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Anandan, S. (2015). The best I could. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 31. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA)
7. Yap, S. (2008, June 30). Soaring legal eagle. The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Anandan, S. (2015). The best I could. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 29. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA)
8. Tan, O. B. (1998, April 26). Courtroom Raja got a taste of jail. The Straits Times, p. 41. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Anandan, S. (2015). The best I could. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 43. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA)
10. Tan, O. B. (1998, April 26). Courtroom Raja got a taste of jail. The Straits Times, p. 41. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Anandan, S. (2015). The best I could. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 54. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA)
12. Tan, O. B. (1998, April 26). Courtroom Raja got a taste of jail. The Straits Times, p. 41. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Anandan, S. (2015). The best I could. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 72. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA)
13. Anandan, S. (2015). It’s easy to cry. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 7, 97–98. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA)
14. Kutty, N. G. (1976, November 17). I will go back to law practice after court vacation: Subhas. The Straits Times, p. 5; Yap, S. (2008, June 30). Soaring legal eagle. The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Anandan, S. (2015). It’s easy to cry. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 100–101. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA); Tan, O. B. (1998, April 26). Courtroom Raja got a taste of jail. The Straits Times, p. 41. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Lawyer cleared of professional misconduct. (1987, November 21). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Yap, S. (2008, June 30). Soaring legal eagle. The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Chong, E. (2003, December 7). Murderers. Maid abusers. Rapists. And he defends them all. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Yap, S. (2008, June 30). Soaring legal eagle. The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Wong, K. (2004, October, 24). Breaking point: New criminal lawyers’ association set up. The New Paper, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Vijayan, K. C. (2007, May 10). Top criminal lawyer set to join KhattarWong. The Straits Times, p. 32; Chan, C. (2007, May 15). Regrets? He has a few…. The New Paper, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Top lawyer peers into the criminal mind. (2008, November 26). The Business Times, p. 8; Chong, E. (2003, December 7). Murderers. Maid abusers. Rapists. And he defends them all. The Straits Times, p. 12.
23. Chong, E. (2003, December 7). Murderers. Maid abusers. Rapists. And he defends them all. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Wong, K. (2004, January 25). Sometimes, I feel very stressed. The New Paper, p. 14; Yap, S. (2008, June 30). Soaring legal eagle. The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Anandan, S. (2015). The best I could. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 132. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA); Yap, S. (2008, June 30). Soaring legal eagle. The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Chong, E. (2003, December 7). Murderers. Maid abusers. Rapists. And he defends them all. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Anandan, S. (2015). The best I could. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 134. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA); Kor, K. B. (2005, September 25). Death threats, death wish so what. The New paper, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. Yap, S. (2008, June 30). Soaring legal eagle. The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
28. Chong, E. (2003, December 7). Murderers. Maid abusers. Rapists. And he defends them all. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. Chong, E. (2006, April 8). 13 years’ jail for ex-air hostess who caused girl’s death. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Nadarajan, B. (2008, November 30). Inside killer minds. The Straits Times, p. 64; Ng, A. (2006, October 24). Took’s clemency plea rejected. Today, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
31. Chia, D. (2006, May 14). Loving father lonely killer. The New Paper, p. 4; Lum, S. (2006, May 20). Killer to hang. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
32. Chong, E. (2003, December 7). Murderers. Maid abusers. Rapists. And he defends them all. The Straits Times, p. 12; Lim, A. (2002, March 5). Anthony Ler loses appeal, to hang. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
33. Nadarajan, B. (2008, November 30). Inside killer minds. The Straits Times, p. 64; Tied up and shot. (2007, June 15). The New Paper, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
34. Tan, O. B. (1998, April 26). Courtroom Raja got a taste of jail. The Straits Times, p. 41. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
35. Chong, E. (2003, December 7). Murderers. Maid abusers. Rapists. And he defends them all. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
36. Tan, O. B. (1998, April 26). Courtroom Raja got a taste of jail. The Straits Times, p. 41. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
37. Tan, O. B. (1998, April 26). Courtroom Raja got a taste of jail. The Straits Times, p. 41; Yap, S. (2008, June 30). Soaring legal eagle. The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
38. Chong, E. (2003, December 7). Murderers. Maid abusers. Rapists. And he defends them all. The Straits Times, p. 12; Wong, K. (2004, January 25). Sometimes, I feel very stressed. The New Paper, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
39. Yap, S. (2008, June 30). Soaring legal eagle. The Straits Times, p. 44; Chong, E. (2003, December 7). Murderers. Maid abusers. Rapists. And he defends them all. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
40. Cheng, K. (2015, January 8). Criminal law titan Subhas Anandan dies of heart failure. Today. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
41. Anandan, S. (2015). It’s easy to cry. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 198. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA)
42. Anandan, S. (2015). It’s easy to cry. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 7. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA)
43. R. Anandan. (1984, November 14). The Straits Times, p. 39; Mdm. Govindan Pushpanjaly. (1995, July 6). The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
44. Anandan, S. (2015). The best I could. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 8–9, 13. (Call no.: RSING 340.092 ANA)



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Law and government>>Criminal law
Anandan, Subhas, 1947-
Personalities
Personalities>>Biographies
Lawyers--Singapore--Biography