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Judicial CP - August 2004

Corpun file 13796

Straits Times, Singapore, 4 August 2004

2 Thais jailed for attack on countryman

5 years' jail and 24 strokes for robbery that left construction worker dead

TWO Thai workers who assaulted a countryman and robbed him of $200 and a mobile phone were yesterday sentenced to five years in jail.

Their victim died from his head injuries.

Somrak Senkham, 31, and Chooket Prasong, 38, were also sentenced to the maximum 24 strokes of the cane for the armed robbery last October.

Two other Thai workers were also involved in the attack on Mr Luaphon Saksit, a 44-year-old construction worker who peddled yaba pills on the side.

He was often seen wearing a thick gold chain, a bracelet and gold rings.

One of the alleged assailants, Techan Dithakorn, 36, is still at large, while the other, Nuprom Somsak, 40, pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced to five years in jail and 12 strokes of the cane.

The High Court heard that in August last year, Chooket and Nuprom, who had financial difficulties, hatched a plan to rob Mr Luaphon.

But because he knew them, they roped in Techan to help them rob him.

In turn, Techan asked Somrak to join in the operation.

They planned to rob Mr Luaphon at the spot where he usually parked his bicycle at his quarters in Tuas.

They carried out their plan on the night of Oct 5 last year.

Nuprom lured the victim out by asking him to deliver 10 yaba tablets to an area they called 'Forest of Flower', between Tuas South avenues 6 and 8.

The victim, who was then at the workers' quarters, climbed over the wall of the compound, got on his bicycle, which he had parked at a fire hydrant, and rode off.

While Nuprom waited at the meeting place, the other three waited at the hydrant, armed with wooden poles.

Nuprom later called one of them to say the victim was on his way back to get more yaba tablets.

When the three men saw him coming back on his bike, they attacked him, robbing him of his wallet, Nokia mobile phone and two SIM cards.

During the robbery, Techan allegedly hit Mr Luaphon on the head with a wooden pole.

The next day, Somrak sold the two SIM cards for $16.

Somrak and Chooket yesterday pleaded guilty to one charge each of causing grievous hurt to their victim while robbing him.

They could have been jailed for up to 20 years.

Somrak also pleaded guilty to overstaying here, and will spend another three months in jail.

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 13828

Straits Times, Singapore, 11 August 2004

Case File

Drug peddler's appeal dismissed

THE Chief Justice yesterday dismissed film distributor Jeffrey Ong's appeal against his conviction for selling one Ecstasy pill to an undercover Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officer.

Ong, 30, the co-owner of Storm Pictures, was sentenced to 5 years' jail and five strokes of the cane by a district court in April.

Ong's lawyers argued that he had been induced to sell the pill because the CNB officer had offered a price four times higher than the market rate.

But CJ Yong Pung How dismissed the appeal. The grounds for the decision will be released later.

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 13859

Straits Times, Singapore, 14 August 2004

CJ throws out appeal of driver who ran over man

A MAN who purposely used his car to run over a stranger as he lay helpless on the road, has lost his appeal against conviction and sentence.

Bloodstains on the license plate of Ravinthiran's car matched samples taken from the victim.

J. Ravinthiran, a 36-year-old businessman who runs his own labour supply company, had been found guilty in December and sentenced to four years' jail and six strokes of the cane, for running over a stranger in Serangoon Road and fracturing his skull.

The victim, Mr Mohamed Alias Mohamed Hanifah, was drunk at the time and had been pushed to the ground by two men from a group.

Chief Justice Yong Pung How, who turned down the appeal on June 29, gave the grounds for his decision on Wednesday. 'In my judgment, the use of a motor vehicle was also a critical aggravating factor,' he said.

Ravinthiran, he noted, had two previous convictions for disorderly behaviour and one for causing grievous hurt by a rash act.

This time, he deliberately drove his car into Mr Mohamed Alias near the junction of Serangoon Road and Desker Road early on July 6 last year.

Ravinthiran's car had pulled up in Desker Road with four passengers, while Mr Mohamed Alias was with another group, and they appeared to be arguing.

Eyewitnesses spoke of a heated exchange in Tamil between the two groups. Suddenly, Mr Mohamed Alias was shoved forward and fell in the middle of Serangoon Road. As he tried to get up, Ravinthiran drove towards him, braked several times and then ploughed into him before driving off.

It could not possibly be said that four years' jail and six strokes of the cane for causing grievous hurt were manifestly excessive, said the Chief Justice.

Ravinthiran had insisted he had not done it, and had argued that the district judge ought not to have believed two taxi drivers who said they had seen his car cut across four lanes of Serangoon Road to hit the victim. However, the CJ said there was no merit whatsoever in the argument.

Six other people originally charged were all given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal on the first day of the trial.

Corpun file 13896

Straits Times, Singapore, 21 August 2004

Man raped teen after getting her drunk

He gets six years' jail and six strokes of the cane

MUHAMMAD Khairul Sohor plied a 14-year-old girl with liquor till she was drunk, then took her to her flat and forced himself on her.

Yesterday, Khairul, 20, who is unemployed, was jailed for six years and ordered to be caned six strokes after he admitted raping her at her home in Clementi.

It happened on April 12 last year. Four days later, the girl confided in her friends and they confronted him.

Khairul had known the teenager, who is now 15, for only a few months, a district court heard yesterday.

On April 12, he was with two friends at the void deck of her apartment block. She was alone at home and went downstairs to meet them at about 2.30pm.

Khairul bought a bottle of liquor, a large cup of soft drink and a can of Coca Cola from a convenience store.

The four shared the drinks at a nearby block.

Khairul poured the liquor into the cup and shared it with his friends. The girl refused it at first but he persuaded her.

She then became sluggish and complained that she felt dizzy but continued drinking. By the time the other two men went off to buy more liquor, she was incoherent and couldn't walk.

Khairul took her up to her flat and raped her.

Her family members found her, passed out on the floor, when they got home about an hour later. Khairul had left.

In mitigation yesterday, Khairul's lawyer, Mr Laurence Goh Eng Yau, told the court his client and the girl liked each other very much.

'She looked very much mature for her age and he honestly thought she was over the age of 16,' he said.

Both were tipsy at the time and she wouldn't let him leave the flat and caught him by the hand, said the lawyer.

'In the process, he fell on top of her and they ended up caressing, hugging and kissing each other,' he said.

He said his client was remorseful and pleaded for leniency.

Khairul could have been jailed for up to 10 years.

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 13937

The New Paper, Singapore, 25 August 2004

He stares, then strikes

A terror called 'Ah Boy'

By Faith Teo

HE was called 'Ah Boy', but Christopher Teo Wee Hong was no kid.

However, his victims were. The 25-year-old Woodlands thug preyed on children as young as 11, robbing them of their handphones and money.

His tactics left his young victims confused and frightened before he struck.

First he would stare at them.

When they looked back, he'd stride over and ask why they were staring at him.

Station Inspector Hafiz Shariff, who led the investigations, said: '(Teo) accused victims of being secret society members or by staring at them before robbing them.'

His 'Ah Boy' nickname may sound innocent, but in Woodlands where he lived, he was a terror, bullying and robbing his young victims.

From Jan 15 to Jan 23, Teo robbed 14 people.

'Ah Boy' didn't even bother disguising himself, wearing streaks of purple and red in his hair.

He threatened his victims with scissors, knives, keys and aluminium rods.

After a nine-day crime spree, Teo and his accomplice, Ang Chin Ho, 20, had stolen 10 handphones worth $2,300, and $560 in cash.

Both were drug offenders.

Their crime spree began on Jan 15, when they robbed four teenage boys in three separate cases. By the end of the first day, they had three handphones and more than $150 in cash.

While the two robbers' oldest victim was 20, their youngest was a mere 11 years old.

Over the next eight days, Teo got bolder, striking out on his own twice.

In one instance he even took on two victims alone, and took them on a joyride.

He confronted the two 16-year-old male students on a bus heading for Woodlands MRT station for staring at him. He pointed a sharp key at the lower back of one boy, demanding his handphone and wallet.

Teo then told them to get off the bus with him, while repeatedly asking the puzzled victims why they were staring at him.

He flagged down a taxi and boarded it with the boys.

Near Causeway Point shopping centre, he told the victims to get out at a taxi stand before ordering the cabby to drive on.

In one case Teo and Ang confronted their only known female victim.

The 19-year-old was waiting for a friend at Bedok South at 9pm when Teo and Ang approached her. Teo threatened her with a penknife, and she handed over her handphone and $100.

By then, the police were hot on the two robbers' heels.

They were finally nabbed in February after the Jurong Division Property Offences Squad (POS) zoomed in on them, despite a lack of solid evidence.

The squad, which specialises in tracking down robbers, extortionists and snatch-thieves, ran through databases of known convicts and drug abusers for individuals with similar characteristics.

'We usually search through the drug database, because they're the ones in need of money,' said Senior Station Inspector Lee Hong Soon.

The search turned up Ang, an unemployed drug offender.

He was arrested on Feb 13 while reporting to Central Narcotics Bureau officers for a routine urine test, and confessed to the crimes.

But Ang claimed to know Teo only by his nickname.

'They usually won't reveal the other person's identity or they will lose their credibility. It's something expected in the trade,' SSI Lee explained.

Armed with the nickname, the investigators went back to their databases and dredged up a few suspects.

The list was narrowed down to 'Ah Boy' based on descriptions given by the victims. He was on the police database for drug offences, selling fake VCDs, theft, and possessing an offensive instrument which could have been used as a weapon.

Teo was arrested at home the next day.

During initial interviews, 'He was totally uncooperative, and even denied knowing Ang,' said SI Hafiz.

Speaking in English and Hokkien, 'Ah Boy' was arrogant during the interviews.

'He was rude, especially initially, because he'd already sold all the stolen phones which could have been used as evidence.

'He didn't want to admit anything, so victims were asked to point him out in an identification parade.

'Eventually, when we brought Ang to meet him, he had no choice but to admit,' SI Hafiz told The New Paper.

Teo is serving a 10-year jail term for 10 robbery charges and 24 strokes of the cane.

Ang was sentenced to eight years and 24 strokes of the cane.

Copyright 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

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