|www.corpun.com : Archive : 2014 : SG Judicial Aug 2014|
Corpun file 25517 at www.corpun.com
The Straits Times, Singapore, 8 August 2014, p.A3
Ex-firefighter gets jail, caning for vandalism
By Elena Chong
A FORMER firefighter was sentenced to two months' jail and three strokes of the cane yesterday after he admitted spraying purported anti-government graffiti on a pavement.
Muhammad Qamarul Arifin Sa'adon, 23, was a full-time national serviceman at the time he wrote the words "WE ARE ONE WE ARE LEGION EXPECT US!!" outside Sunshine Plaza.
He was with four accomplices, three of whom are also alleged to have taken part in the vandalism on Nov 5 last year.
They were chatting at a bus stop when one of them said he had received a call from someone in Switzerland claiming to be a member of the "hacktivist" group, Anonymous. He said he was told to spray-paint a message backing its fight against the Singapore Government.
Qamarul went to buy spray paint and wrote the message, along with the logo of his friend's clothing line, as his accomplices kept watch nearby. A manager at the Prinsep Link complex later reported the graffiti to police.
Qamarul was the first among the group to plead guilty to the crime, and was also fined $500 on another charge of stealing a $48 pouch at a Beach Road food centre. Two other charges of vandalising a pillar and a taxi stand were taken into consideration.
Cases against his alleged accomplices -- Danial Ryan Salleh, 25; Muhammad Fadzly Aziz, 21; Muhammad Redzwan Baskin, 26; and Muhammad Fitri Abu Kasim, 24 -- are at the pre-trial conference stages.
Qamarul's lawyer, Mr K.R. Manicka, said his client comes from a structured family. "He has been found to be consistent in his performance and dedicated in his work," he said of his client, who has finished his national service with the Changi Fire Station.
The lawyer said Qamarul was sincerely remorseful for having brought shame to his family.
Citing aggravating factors, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wee Hao said the offences were pre-meditated and committed during a period of heightened fears about cyber security in Singapore. District Judge Ng Peng Hong agreed that a stiff sentence was warranted to signal that such acts could not be condoned.
Corpun file 25641 at www.corpun.com
The New Paper, Singapore, 8 August 2014
Thug wanted to break woman's legs for $6,000
By Zaihan Mohamed Yusof
It could been a scene straight out of a Mafia movie. Two men met in July last year at a pub in Orchard Towers to talk about a "project".
The "project" or contract was to "break the legs of a girl" if she refused to return a loan. It was offered to Elvin Khoo Boo Boon.
If he broke one of her legs, Khoo, then 35, would be paid $3,000. He would receive $6,000 if he broke both legs, court papers revealed. For Khoo to be paid, his "employer" needed to witness the deed or be shown photos as proof.
Fortunately for the woman, the plan fell through two days later as Khoo failed to spot the intended target, Ms Sally Tan, living in Punggol. About two weeks later, on Aug 17 last year, when Ms Tan did not answer the knock on her door, Khoo lit newspapers and burned her door.
On the same night, he had also stolen a Volkswagen Scirocco belonging to her husband. Yesterday, Khoo was sentenced to six years' jail, given six strokes of the cane, fined $1,000 and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for three years for a string of offences described as a one-year crime spree.
Of the 45 charges, the prosecution proceeded with 14. These included motor vehicle theft, mischief, voluntary causing hurt, possession of a scheduled weapon, immigration offences, drug possession and consumption.
The court heard that some of the offences were committed while Khoo was on bail. Khoo, who has been remanded since August last year, kept his head down as district judge Tan Boon Heng read out the 10-minute-long sentencing.
Before this, the judge had asked Khoo's lawyer what made his client commit the string of offences. Defence counsel S.S. Dhillon said: "He (Khoo) was having financial difficulties. One thing led to another. He was going through a bad period in life."
When The New Paper visited Ms Tan's flat last night, nobody was home. A neighbour, who gave his name as Mr See, said he remembered that morning about a year ago when there were Singapore Civil Defence Force officers outside his door.
"There were bits of burnt newspaper on the floor outside (our flat). I was surprised that somebody had tried to burn her (Ms Tan's) door." The damage to the door was about $2,000 and the stolen car was later recovered. But Khoo's actions that night paled in comparison to what he did on Sept 6, 2012.
Court documents revealed that Khoo and an accomplice were involved in a roadside dispute with a couple who, at that time, were in a car queue at the Malaysian Checkpoint in Johor Baru. Khoo had intimidated the couple by revving up his car's engine a few times.
Both parties agreed to settle their dispute after clearing the Woodlands Checkpoint. On the Bukit Timah Expressway road shoulder, Khoo and his passenger approached the couple's parked car.
The latter was carrying a steering wheel lock while Khoo was described as "holding a sharp object resembling a Swiss Army knife". The male driver was assaulted by the duo when he got out of his car. He suffered stab wounds to his ribs and a 7cm cut on his left lower chest.
At a roadblock later at about 3am, a police officer saw that Khoo had sent a text message to somebody saying: "I just stabbed someone in custom." In his mitigation, Khoo's lawyer said his client had promised his wife he would change and was determined to do so.
Copyright © 2014 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.
Corpun file 25561 at www.corpun.com
The Straits Times, Singapore, 23 August 2014, p.B13
Drug courier's lawyer challenges caning sentence
Punishment is discriminatory and against S'pore Constitution, he argues in apex court
By Selina Lum
THE punishment of caning originated from "racist" attitudes, argued activist lawyer M. Ravi yesterday before the Court of Appeal.
He is seeking to challenge the legality of the punishment in Singapore in what is the latest chapter in the long-running case of Malaysian drug courier Yong Vui Kong, 25.
His death sentence was commuted to a life term and 15 strokes of the cane last year.
Yong is now fighting to quash the caning part of his sentence.
Yong's lawyer, Mr Ravi, produced a series of arguments to show that caning is against Singapore's Constitution, one of which was that it was based on discrimination.
He referred to legislative debates in 1872, when caning was instituted by the British colonial government to curb the problem of rioting by members of Chinese secret societies.
Citing a speech which referred to the rioters as "the riffraff and scum of China", Mr Ravi argued that such attitudes should no longer hold sway in modern-day Singapore.
However, Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang noted that "Chinese" was used merely as a descriptive term.
Apart from purported racism, Mr Ravi said the fact that only men between the ages of 16 and 50 can be caned was another form of discrimination.
Stressing that he was not advocating for women to be caned, he argued that such a regime violates the Constitution, which guarantees that all persons are equal before the law.
Mr Ravi also argued that the way in which caning is carried out in the prisons here amounts to torture or inhuman punishment.
He suggested that caning was not in line with Singapore's international legal obligations as it had signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which prohibits torture and inhuman punishment.
He also argued that while its stated objective is to deter crime, there is a lack of evidence to show a link between caning and low crime rates.
The prosecution countered Mr Ravi's racism argument as baseless as caning was offence-specific and applied to all races.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Francis Ng added that there were good reasons for the exemption of women and men above 50 and below 16.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tai Wei Shyong argued that the Constitution does not contain an express prohibition against torture and that treaties signed by Singapore do not automatically become domestic law. In any case, he argued, caning does not amount to torture.
DPP Tai also stressed that Yong was no victim but an "agent of destruction" to many in Singapore.
He was 19 in 2007 when he was arrested after making two drug deliveries. He was convicted of trafficking 47.27g of heroin in 2008 and given the then-mandatory death penalty.
After a string of bids to quash his death sentence, he was spared the gallows under new laws that allow couriers who helped the authorities to be jailed for life and caned instead.
The Court of Appeal will give its decision at a later date.
Corpun file 25576 at www.corpun.com
The Straits Times, Singapore, 30 August 2014, p.A8
'Anti-govt' graffiti: Second man jailed
By Ian Poh
A FULL-TIME national serviceman was given two months' jail and three strokes of the cane yesterday for an act of purported anti-government vandalism.
Mohamad Fadzly Aziz, 21, was the second to be dealt with over graffiti sprayed on the pavement outside Sunshine Plaza in Prinsep Link on Nov 5 last year.
He admitted that he kept a lookout as Muhammad Qamarul Arifin Sa'adon, 23, spray-painted "WE ARE ONE WE ARE LEGION EXPECT US!!" -- words linked to "hacktivist" group Anonymous. Qamarul also painted the logo of their friend's clothing line, TSK.
Similar words and the logo were sprayed on a pillar nearby, and the logo was painted on the pavement of a Waterloo Street cab stand. Two charges over these were taken into consideration.
Qamarul, a former firefighter, received the same punishment as Fadzly on Aug 7.
Three other men linked to the Prinsep Link vandalism were brought to court last November to face various vandalism charges.
One of them, freelance deejay Danial Ryan Salleh, 25, told Fadzly and three others last Nov 4 that he had received a call from someone in Switzerland claiming to be a member of Anonymous. He said he was told to spray-paint a message backing its fight against the Singapore Government.
The group bought spray paint and Qamarul committed the vandalism act as Fadzly, Danial and Muhammad Fitri Abu Kasim, 25, who is unemployed, allegedly kept watch nearby.
But yesterday, Fitri received a discharge not amounting to an acquittal plus a conditional warning for the same charges. The case against Danial is still pending at the pre-trial conference stage.
Meanwhile, Fadzly and self-employed designer Muhammad Redzwan Baskin, 26, have been given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal for a later offence at *Scape in Orchard Road.
Fadzly's lawyer M. Ravi said his client, the eldest of three children, had not acted with a political agenda. "He may not have been smart in his... choices, or the company he kept, but he is certainly not a mischief-monger."
But Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wee Hao, who called for two months' jail, said Fadzly's role as a lookout emboldened his alleged accomplices and helped them carry out the act undetected.
The penalty for vandalism is up to three years' jail or up to $2,000 in fines, and between three and eight strokes of the cane.
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