Corpun file 5460
The New Paper, Singapore, 1 April 2000
Man, 19, rapes stepmother while father is in hospital
But she forgives him for his crime. WHY?
By Sheela Narayanan
THE stepson was charged with rape, two counts of aggravated outraging of modesty and consumption and possession of controlled drugs.
He has been sentenced to nine years' jail and nine strokes of the cane.
He could have been jailed up to 20 years, in addition to a fine or caning.
SHE was a picture of calm in a light-blue sarung and T-shirt.
Madam S (not her real name), 39, recounted her ordeal with no apparent sign of hate, anger or resentment.
These would have been understandable emotions.
On Dec 6 last year, she was raped by her 19-year-old stepson.
But for her husband's sake, she wants to forgive the teenager.
A full-time National Serviceman, he had been away from the house.
"He had spent the weekend at his aunt's place. He returned home early that morning," she said.
Madam S said she was alone in the three-room apartment that morning.
Her husband, Mr T (not his real name), 50, had been admitted to hospital the night before following a severe asthma attack.
"I couldn't sleep that night because I was worried about my husband," she said.
"He (the stepson) came home at about 7.10 am. I opened the door for him and went into my bedroom," Madam S explained.
He followed her into the master bedroom and slept beside her.
"But he said: 'I want to sleep with mum'.
"I said he couldn't because he was a big boy," said the woman.
She told him to go to his bedroom, but he ignored her.
Annoyed, Madam S snapped at him: "Why is it when your father is here, you are not so brave?"
That's when the youth turned on her.
He pulled up her sleeveless batik T-shirt and bra and fondled her breasts.
Shocked, she struggled with her stepson, but he proved too strong.
He pinned down her hands, shoved a pillow into her face and raped her.
Then he coolly went into his own room.
A hurt, shaken and scared Madam S attempted to call the police, but her stepson pulled the phone line free of the wall socket, pleading with her not to.
He then left the flat to buy cigarettes, and she grabbed her chance.
She called the police and reported the rape.
The police arrived quickly, searched his room and discovered some cannabis.
Later, they found morphine in a sample of his urine.
Mr T, the teenager's father, had no idea his son was taking drugs, or that he kept narcotics in his room.
"I am angry because this happened to me," said Madam S. "But not with him because he is sick."
An upset Mr T spat out: "Had I been here, this would not have happened. My son is a coward."
But like his wife, he insisted his son was mentally ill.
"He has been very depressed since his mother passed away three years ago," he said.
The teenager's mother had died of kidney failure.
Mr T showed me his son's room, which was neat and tidy, as if they were expecting him to walk back into normality any minute.
It contained an exercise bicycle, and a neatly arranged collection of music cassette tapes.
An unpolished pair of army boots lay on a rattan shoe rack near the door.
"He is a good boy. I am shocked that he has done this," said Mr T, his voice breaking.
Madam S said: "I feel awful this has happened and feel sorry for him. I want to forgive my stepson and hope that the court will give him a lighter sentence."
The court has ordered that their names not be mentioned.
But the couple did not know that the case was heard yesterday.
"No one told me that it was on," said Madam S.
Mr T became distressed. "Why didn't they let us know? Is there still a chance?" he asked.
Any chance there might have been has now gone.
Copyright © 2000 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
Corpun file 5461
The New Paper, Singapore, 3 April 2000
Teens drum up trouble with threats and a beating
By Chua Wei Yng
JAILED: Gang member Balamurugan Thiyanamuthi.
Balamurugan Thiyanamuthi was sentenced to 30 months' jail and seven strokes of the cane for robbery.
He could have been jailed for up to 10 years.
IT started with a drum and ended in a beating.
Throw in threats, gang rivalry and extortion and this is what you get: One teen in hospital and, now, another in jail.
That's right, teens.
In fact, most of those involved are schoolboys.
One of them, Samy (not his real name), had borrowed a bongol, an Indian drum.
Around 3.30 pm on Jan 4, the 15-year-old got a call, asking him to return the drum.
Samy said he couldn't do it at that time.
He had better, he was told, or else...
So, Samy went to the Pasir Ris block of flats where the caller, another 15-year-old, wanted him to take the drum.
But before he left, Samy took a 22-cm knife and tucked it into his waist.
Samy, according to documents produced in court, belonged to the Ang Soon Tong gang.
So did the boys he was going to meet.
The difference was that Samy used to belong to the rival DC Pak Leong gang. And others in the Ang Soon Tong gang suspected him of giving away their whereabouts to DC Pak Leong.
Samy was met by NSman Balamurugan Thiyanamuthi, 19, and four boys aged between 15 and 17. They punched him in the face.
The five of them then took Samy to the third storey of a multi-storey carpark nearby for "questioning".
They had seen him talking to the rival gang and Balamurugan had been attacked not long after that.
When Samy refused to talk, they took him to a wooded area near Tampines Street 45 and beat him up.
Balamurugan then spotted Samy's knife.
Waving it around, he threatened to stab Samy and leave him to die there.
Samy pleaded for mercy. Balamurugan accepted his apology, but they weren't going to let him off yet.
They demanded money, and searched his wallet.
They found only $10 in his pocket. Balamurugan then told him to pay them another $200 by the next week, or they would beat him up again. As they were leaving, they kicked him in the back.
Samy, who was in Changi Hospital for three days, later made a police report, and his assailants were arrested.
In court on March 27, Balamurugan said he had two younger sisters who were still in primary school, and he was sorry for mixing around with the wrong crowd.
The other four boys in his gang are expected to be charged soon.
Copyright © 2000 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
Corpun file 5503
The New Paper, Singapore, 10 April 2000
An illegal immigrant's tale
The Singapore chop -- on my buttocks
Picture/ SIMON KER
MORE AND MORE ARE TRYING TO GET IN
ACCORDING to Singapore Immigration & Registration (SIR), illegal aliens have used land transport for a long time.
Since 1998, SIR has stepped-up enforcement at the land checkpoints, and more immigration offenders and traffickers have been caught - in buses, vans, cars, lorries, motorcycles, even a converted oil tanker.
Most were caught at Woodlands. There have been some cases at Tuas too.
There have been no known deaths other than the four which occurred in the tragic incident of July 30 last year.
SIR spokesman Sharon Wong said attempts to enter or leave Singapore in hidden compartments of vehicles, in addition to being illegal, is often very dangerous, carrying a high risk of serious injury or death.
Let's call him Samy. His real name is not so important. His story is. It starts in a sleepy village in India, moves to Malaysia and then to Singapore. By plane, by bus and by lorry (see picture). From behind bars, the illegal immigrant pours out his sad, painful and shameful story. J RAJENDRAN reports
DEADLY: This was the lorry in which 35 illegal immigrants tried to sneak into Singapore last July, via the Woodlands checkpoint. Four later died. Samy, who formed part of the "cargo" is now in jail here.
HE spends his free time praying to the Hindu god Murugan, hero-worshipping Tamil screen idol Rajnikanth and daydreaming of his family in India.
But mostly, Samy is just happy to be alive as he counts the days till he returns home from Portsdown Prison.
Samy (not his real name) is an illegal immigrant who left his fishing village in Tanjore district, Tamil Nadu, with high hopes of earning big bucks in Singapore.
He returns with nothing but the life he very nearly lost at the Woodlands checkpoint that humid afternoon last July.
Four stripes on his buttocks serve as a reminder of the freedom he lost and the price he paid for trying to get into Singapore illegally.
"I did not get a Singapore chop on my passport. It (the cane marks) is my Singapore chop," he said with no trace of bitterness.
He is dressed in prison garb - white T-shirt and blue shorts - and his hair is cropped close.
Despite his troubles, he tries to wear a smile on his unshaven face.
That tragic day is etched in his mind all the more because Samy, 37, lost a close friend of 20 years.
Sentil Kumar, 35, Samy and a few others had together left Madras for Kuala Lumpur to seek their fortunes in Singapore.
They were seen off at the airport by Rajah, an agent from whom Samy had borrowed 60,000 rupees ($2,360) to finance his trip.
In KL they were met by another agent. They paid him RM300 ($135) each and he accompanied them in a bus to Senai in Johor.
There, they linked up with three other groups, one each from China, Bangladesh and Myanmar. One member from each of the four groups would end up dead in Singapore.
They were all herded into the lorry after being told to throw away their belongings.
Some did not want to go, sensing trouble ahead, but they were persuaded to do so by the agents - each group had its own agent.
Said Samy who spoke in a mixture of English and Tamil: "He told us we had to go because that's the only way we could get our Singapore chop.
"I felt that it was not right, but I went along anyway. We were all scared. It was the last time I saw Sentil.
"Once we were in the lorry, we were told to keep very quiet. They gave us two bottles of mineral water which we had to share.
"There was space in the lorry for only 20 people. But they made 35 of us sit inside.
"They closed up the back of the lorry with four spring mattresses. The lorry was covered with a canvas so it was very hot and dark inside."
This happened around 12.30pm. After about an hour on the road to Singapore, the hidden occupants began to pass out one by one.
"The oxygen was getting less and less and people were vomiting and fainting. It was hot and smelly inside."
Soon, Samy himself passed out. He woke up after being splashed with water at Woodlands checkpoint.
"I thank God I am alive today. I could have died in that lorry like my friend Sentil. I heard he was bleeding from his mouth when his body was removed from the lorry," added Samy, who is married with two sons, aged eight and 10.
He was convicted of trying to enter Singapore illegally and served a one-month jail sentence in the medium-security Portsdown Prison near Buona Vista. He is waiting to be sent back.
He was also caned four times.
"It was painful, but it is my fate," he said of the caning.
"I have nothing against Singapore. I blame the agents for cheating me. I thought I was going to enter Singapore legally. If I had known it was illegal, I would not have come. I will never come back here again.
"My family knows I am alive. I think of them every day. I used to sell fish in India. I did not earn much. I will go back to my old job when I get home. At least I will be able to see my family every day."
Home is a humble place with an old fridge and a radio. His family survived on his meagre daily income of about 50 rupees from selling fish.
"One day Rajah approached me. He told me that I should go to Singapore to work as a labourer. He said the money was good and I could be rich.
"I told him I had no money to go. He said he would lend me the cash. So I borrowed 60,000 rupees from him at a monthly interest of 1,600 rupees.
"He told me that once I started working in Singapore I would be able to send home 20,000 rupees a month for my family and to repay my debts.
"That's more than 10 times what I earn in a month in India.
"Rajah said he would go to Singapore every two weeks to collect money from foreign workers."
Samy is not sure how he will deal with Rajah when he returns or how he is going to repay his debts, if at all.
All he wants to think of is going home to his family and his aged parents.
And maybe take them to a film starring Rajnikanth.
Copyright © 2000 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
Corpun file 5512
Straits Times, Singapore, 14 April 2000
Stabbing case: Jail, cane for ex-boxers
One of the two men, also known as 'Boxer Yoga', is already in jail for previous convictions of grievous hurt
TWO former state boxers, including a seven-time national champion, were yesterday convicted of stabbing one man each at a party in Aljunied 18 months ago.
R. Yoganathan, 35, was sentenced to four years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane for stabbing newspaper delivery man Chandrasekar Vadivelu, 33.
Mr Chandrasekar died the same day of an asthmatic attack.
Former national champion Jagdew Singh, 34, was sentenced to two years' jail and six strokes of the cane for stabbing technician Anandan Joseph, 25.
He is appealing.
They were convicted after an 18-day trial.
The stabbings took place along Mulberry Avenue on Sept 27, 1998.
Yoganathan, nicknamed "Boxer Yoga", is already serving a 36-month sentence for causing grievous hurt with a dangerous weapon. And last Saturday, a district court sentenced him to another 30 months and six strokes of the cane, also for grievous hurt. The sentence took effect that day. He will serve yesterday's sentence after completing Saturday's punishment.
Yoganathan had convictions in the 1980s for burglary, theft and affray.
He had also been detained for three years for being a secret society member.
In his judgment yesterday, District Judge Rahim Jalil said he was satisfied the two were guilty.
In the Mulberry Avenue case, the court heard that Yoganathan and Jagdew went there with several others in two cabs.
Yoganathan was seen arguing with Mr Chandrasekar in a tent and waving his knife at several people.
Mr Anandan testified that Jagdew stabbed him in the chest.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamed Nasser Ismail described Yoganathan as a "menace to society", a known gangster and a man accustomed to violence.
Defence counsel Peter Fernando said in mitigation that his clients wanted to put the past behind them.
Jagdew is married with a three-year-old son, while Yoganathan, who is single, has had a difficult childhood and life, he said.
Each of them could have been jailed for up to five years and fined or caned.
Copyright © 2000 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
Corpun file 5658
The New Paper, Singapore, 27 April 2000
They break into a flat -- TWICE
LONGER TERM: Puar Cheng Kuar was already in jail when he was hauled up on burglary and molest charges.
Because they couldn't get money with her ATM card
HOW greedy can you get?
The two broke into her home and carted away more than $650 worth of goods.
But the ATM card they took didn't cough up any cash. So, in less than an hour, they were back in the flat.
Puar Cheng Kuar went into the bedroom, found Justina (not her real name) asleep and touched her breasts.
She awoke, they panicked, and fled.
But the law has a long arm.
It can reach even behind prison bars.
As the two friends found out, while in jail for other crimes.
NSman Puar Cheng Kuar and Mohd Faizal Talib, both then 20, were out drinking in the wee hours of May 8 last year.
They didn't feel like going home.
So they broke into a Whampoa Drive flat.
Puar, a former cook, had already broken into five other houses since March that year, with different accomplices each time.
This time, 22-year-old Justina (not her real name) was his unfortunate target, in more ways than one.
At about 4am, Puar and Mohd Faizal broke into her fourth-floor flat when Justina was sound asleep.
Mohd Faizal slipped his hand in through the window and managed to open her front door from the inside. They simply walked in.
Puar stole Justina's $200 handbag, containing $20 in cash, her pager and her ATM cards. Mohd Faizal carted away her 14-inch TV set and her video recorder, worth a total of $450.
Fifteen minutes later, the thieves were at the ATM machine at the void deck.
But they couldn't use her card.
It was 4.40am. They returned to her flat.
But they couldn't find any other valuables.
Puar then crept into Justina's room and molested her.
Mohd Faizal was arrested later that month for other housebreaking charges and is now serving a three-year jail sentence.
Puar, who was caught for other crimes and sentenced in June last year, returned to court on April 14 this year to face the current charges.
Explained his lawyer, Mr Bala Chandran: "He didn't disclose the present charge when he was arrested and convicted in June last year."
Puar, now 21, has already served one year of his three-year sentence for nine charges of criminal trespass, housebreaking and theft.
"He has had a humbling experience in prison, and he now wishes to continue his studies there," Mr Chandran added.
Puar was sentenced to three strokes of the cane and 39 months' jail, to begin after his current three-year sentence.
Mohd Faizal Talib was sentenced to three strokes of the cane and 39 months' jail when he appeared in court earlier this year.
For housebreaking by night, Puar could have been jailed for up to 14 years and fined.
For molest, he could have been jailed for up to two years or fined or caned.
Corpun file 5657
Straits Times, Singapore, 30 April 2000
Pub brawl ends with jail and cane for 5 men
The 5-minute fight, started over a billiard incident, left one man dead
A SIMPLE night out for five men at Buddy Buddy Fun Pub erupted into a brawl that ended up claiming one life.
The five were sentenced to jail and caning for causing grievous hurt to 43-year-old Tong Beng Wah.
In a district court last Friday, the five pleaded guilty to being part of an unlawful assembly, one member of whom grievously injured Mr Tong, alias Tan Thian Hock, at the Duxton Road pub at midnight on July 17 last year. Odd-job labourer Quek Wee Tiong, 26; salesman Tan Keng Boon, 36; delivery assistants Pan Teng Yap, 43, and Lim Boon Keong, 26; and Pan's younger brother, Kok Keng, 26, a salesman, were originally charged with murder.
Except for Quek, the rest were then working for the Pans' brother in his furniture business.
District Judge Yap Siew Yong sentenced each to four years' jail and six strokes of the cane as a deterrent.
Pressing for a stiff sentence plus caning, Deputy Public Prosecutor Raymond Fong said the brutal and savage attack on Mr Tong was unprovoked, and resulted from a trivial remark over a billiard game.
He told the court that the accused were drinking in the pub, while Quek was playing billiards. Mr Tong, then unemployed, and six of his friends sat at an adjacent table.
Mr Tong's friend, Mr Thng Lai Huat, decided to play with Quek, who asked him to place a $50 bet.
But Mr Thng wanted a $500 or $1,000 bet, which Quek refused as he only wanted a friendly game.
Unhappy, Quek left the billiard table and returned to his table and smashed a beer mug on the floor, prompting one of his friends to shout at him in Hokkien: "If not happy, talk outside."
Taking his friends outside, Quek told them what had happened and wanted someone to go back and tell Mr Thng to come out for a fight.
When Kok Keng volunteered and challenged Mr Tong's group to a fight, they shouted back and threw a beer mug at him.
Kok Keng's friends rushed in to attack Mr Tong's group.
Bottles, beer mugs, jugs and bar stools went flying, and one of the five accused inflicted the fatal injury on Mr Tong during the five-minute fracas.
A 16-cm-deep cut on the left side of his scalp was so severe that it caused his right eye to pop out.
Kok Keng and another man in Mr Tong's group were injured and needed stitches.
After the incident, all five fled to Malaysia, but surrendered themselves between last August and January this year.
They could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined or caned.
Copyright © 2000 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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