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Judicial CP - July 2003

Corpun file 11678

Straits Times, Singapore, 30 July 2003

Man who bolted from custody gets 1 more year

AN ATTEMPT to evade an assault charge by running away from police custody has earned a young man an additional year in jail.

An inquiry is on to find out how Yusri managed to escape.

Muhammad Yusri Hanapi bolted from the Subordinate Courts on Feb 6 under the noses of three policemen and fled to his parents' home in Pasir Ris, where he was arrested hours later.

The escape took place when the unemployed man, 20, was in a holding room for detainees in the court building in Havelock Square.

Yusri, who was sitting on the floor and handcuffed to another detainee, managed to free himself from the handcuffs as one of the policemen looked for the switch to turn on the lights in the room. Distracting another officer who was behind him by asking him what the time was, Yusri ran out of the room.

He shook off pursuing officers and fled in the direction of nearby Chin Swee Road.

He was caught the same day at his parents' home.

Yesterday, he admitted in a district court that he had fled while he was in custody. There was no mention of how he managed to free himself from the handcuffs.

When contacted, a police spokesman said the police were looking into the circumstances relating to the escape - to determine if any of the officers were at fault.

Yusri was sentenced to jail for a year for the escape.

He also got three years and eight strokes of the cane for assault - the offence that he was to be charged with on Feb 6 before he escaped.

Yusri, the father of a one-year-old son, had confronted Mohamed Hanafiah Selamat, 22, with a parang at the void deck of Block 470, Tampines Street 45, on Feb 3 shortly after 10.30pm.

He slashed Hanafiah, leaving him with deep cuts on the head, chest and arms.

In mitigation, Yusri's lawyer, Mr John Abraham, urged the court to put his client on probation as he was a young first-time offender.

He claimed that his client had been harassed by Hanafiah, who is now in jail for drug offences, over a misunderstanding involving a packet of drugs.

The lawyer told the court that Hanafiah and his friends had called him up daily, sometimes as many as seven times a day.

Each time, they would taunt him, challenge him to a fight and warn him that he 'should watch out' because he was messing with Omega, a notorious secret society.

They also threatened to rape his wife and kill his son, Mr Abraham said.

However, he failed to convince district judge Roy Neighbour.

Yusri could have been jailed up to five years and caned.

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