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Judicial CP - March 2009

Corpun file 21131


The Straits Times, Singapore, 4 March 2009

'Merciless, marauding monster'

Serial sex offender is sentenced to 42 years, 24 strokes of the cane

By Seilna Lum

Bala Kuppusamy

A 48-YEAR-OLD man received the longest sentence ever given to a sex offender, when he was jailed 42 years for robbing seven women and sexually violating three of them.

Bala Kuppusamy, who has spent most of the past 20 years in prison, was also ordered to be caned 24 times. It is the third time he will be getting the maximum number of strokes allowed under the law.

The serial predator had been to prison twice for rape, in 1987 and 1993. Both times, he went back to assaulting women within weeks of his release.

In his latest crime spree, between April 27 and June 10 last year, he targeted women who were walking alone, under the cover of night.

He pummelled victims, aged 16 to 34, into submission and demand that they hand over their money.

In some cases, he dragged the woman to secluded spots and sexually assaulted them.

Yesterday, he pleaded guilty to nine charges involving four victims -- three counts of robbery with hurt, four counts of sexual assault and two counts of aggravated molestation. Six other charges were taken into consideration.

Describing Bala as a "menace to society", Deputy Public Prosecutor Francis Ng yesterday urged the High Court to lock him away for 40 to 45 years so that "no one else should have to suffer at his hands".

Justice Tay Yong Kwang noted Bala's "appalling" criminal history and agree he should be locked away for a long time.

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Speaking through a Tamil interpreter, Bala pleaded to be given another chance and vowed that he would "turn over a new leaf" and not commit a crime "till the day I die".

But Justice Tay pointed to his record: three series of offences spanning more than two decades. Bala could not control himself for more than six or seven weeks despite the long periods of incarceration and the many strokes of the cane he received, said the judge.

He decided on 42 years, saying that even the maximum of 20 years' preventive detention -- a regime for recalcitrants with no chance of early release -- would be too lenient.

With good behaviour, Bala will serve 28 years, by which time he will be 76.

"It is quite obvious that the accused poses a very grave danger to society, especially to our womenfolk. He has absolutely no qualms about punching defenceless women on the face and body or kicking them to frighten them into giving in to him. Too many females have suffered because of this merciless, marauding monster for whom liberty is a licence to rob, rape or ruin the lives of innocent females.'"
- Justice Tay Yong Kwang, in sentencing Bala Kuppusamy to 42 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane

His first victim on April 27, 41 days after being released from prison, was a 34-year-old foreign domestic worker, who was crossing an overhead bridge in Bukit Timah. He pinned her down, punched her, then ran off with the $400 she handed over.

Three days later, he robbed a 20-year-old foreign student of $200 after she alighted from a bus along Bartley Road. He tried to drag her to some bushes but she resisted and ended up being punched and kicked.

On May 28, he approached an 18-year-old student along Upper Serangoon Road and pretended to ask for directions, then dragged her to a grass patch, bashed her and took $30. He then dragged her to a corner of Woodleigh MRT station, where he punched and sexually assaulted her.

Another victim was a 16-year-old Singapore student, whom he tricked after preying on her good intentions.

On June 1, he approached her for directions to Braddell Road as she was walking home and asked her to lead the way. As they passed a forested area, he grabbed her and pulled her in, and sexually assaulted her.

Bala was tracked down and arrested by the police on June 30 near his Ang Mo Kio flat after several of the victims identified him from photographic records.

Yesterday, as his past convictions were read out in court, Bala corrected the DPP, saying that he had a sentence of 28 strokes of the cane, not 24, the first time.

"I'm glad you remember," the judge remarked.

Copyright 2008 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn No. 198402868E |

Corpun file 21164


The Straits Times, Singapore, 18 March 2009

Molester gets nine years and 18 strokes

Ong, a repeat offender, terrorised girls aged eight to 17 in HDB lifts

By Elena Chong
Courts Correspondent

A REPEAT molester who preyed on young victims in Housing Board lifts was sentenced to nine years' corrective training and 18 strokes of the cane yesterday.

Ong Wee Siong is the second recalcitrant sexual offender to be jailed this month, after Bala Kuppusamy, 48, was jailed for a record 42 years and given 24 strokes of the cane after a spate of sexual offences.

Ong, 27, terrorised girls aged eight to 17 in lifts at Simei, Tampines and Pasir Ris between May 2007 and last June.

As the offences were committed in a confined area or against a victim under the age of 14, the punishment for each offence ranges from three to 10 years plus caning.

Ong pleaded guilty to six charges last month, and the court called for a corrective training report.

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He qualifies for the stricter penalty, which does not grant leniency for good behaviour, as he has committed three distinct offences and was sentenced to not less than one month in his previous conviction.

Ong had a brush with the law almost 10 years ago when he was given three years' jail and six strokes of the cane for similar offences. Then 17 and a model student, he appealed to the High Court to be put on probation but was rejected.

Yesterday, District Judge F.G. Remedios said the minimum term of five years' corrective training was not appropriate for him given his antecedents and the nature of the offences.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Nicholas Ngoh told the court that the modus operandi of Ong, then a clothing store manager in Tampines, was to follow his victims into lifts and molest them.

Corpun file 21207


The Straits Times, Singapore, 25 March 2009

2 get jail, cane for part in bike gang killing

Motorcycle gang had set upon unarmed rival and knifed him to death

By Selina Lum

SPOILING for a fight, a motorcycle gang gathered in Kelantan Lane after midnight on Sept 16, 2006, for a showdown with a rival gang. When the other group did not show up, the riders sped to Central Square near Magazine Road, where they set upon an unarmed rival and knifed him to death.

Nur Rizal Mohamed Zainul (left) was sentenced to eight years' jail while Muhammad Zulkahil Johari got nine years. Both were also given 10 strokes of the cane each for their part in the killing.

Nur Rizal Mohamed Zainul, 29, went on the run after the attack and was fingered as the mastermind by gang members, who were nabbed and hauled court one year after the killing 46-year-old technician Zainal Nek.

But yesterday, lawyer Edmond Pereira refuted their allegations that his client Nur Rizal had directed the attack.

Mr Pereira argued that his client was not armed and did not physically take part in the attack on Mr Zainal. He was not even at the scene.

The lawyer also pointed out that his client did not flee the country after the attack but had travelled between Singapore and Malaysia until April 2007.

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Yesterday, Nur Rizal was jailed by the High Court for eight years and ordered to be caned 10 strokes for his part in the killing -- a lighter sentence than what most of his accomplices got when they were sentenced in 2007.

But he will serve one more year in jail and get another six strokes of the cane for an unrelated attack in April 2007, in which he whipped out a knife at a Sembawang restaurant to slash a man who had badmouthed his girlfriend.

It was then that Nur Rizal fled to Malaysia until he was arrested by Malaysian police in April last year.

His lawyer said that it was someone else's suggestion on Sept 16, 2006 to head to Central Square, which the other gang was known to frequent.

According to Nur Rizal's version of events, it was also another accomplice, Mr Mohamed Iskandar Mohamed Ali, who told the rest of the gang that he had seen Mr Zainal in the vicinity, and that the technician had ties to the rival gang.

Nur Rizal then told some members of the group, who were armed with knives, to look for the victim while he stayed with three other gang members along Magazine Road with their vehicles.

Mr Pereira noted that Mr Mohamed Iskandar had not been charged.

Also sentenced yesterday for his role in the killing of Mr Zainal was Muhammad Zulkahil Johari, 22, who was arrested at a coffee shop in Teck Whye in June last year. He drew nine years' jail and 10 strokes of the cane. Zulkahil, who did not have a lawyer, submitted a letter pleading for leniency. It said he was 19 years old at the time. He claimed he had been planning to give himself up but was caught.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sellakumaran Sellamuthoo argued that Zulkahil's age was not a mitigating factor, considering how he had knifed Mr Zainal four to five times while the victim was on the ground, and had gone on the run.

Corpun file 21205


The Straits Times, Singapore, 26 March 2009

Attack on ex-colleagues

Man gets 16 months, 3 strokes for stabbing one worker, tying up others

By Carolyn Quek

Eng Yew Kia
Eng Yew Kia admitted in court yesterday that what he did was 'very stupid' and unthinking. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

HE HAD turned up at his old workplace in January, ostensibly to deliver a goodwill hamper to his former bosses. But the visit turned into a nightmare for his past colleagues when he became violent, stabbed a former colleague and bound and gagged six others.

Yesterday, Eng Yew Kia, 40, was given 16 months in jail and three strokes of the cane for the incident.

At about 8.30am on Jan 22, he went to Hock Ann Metal Scaffolding, where he had worked in sales for more than two years until he quit last September.

He said he wanted to present the hamper to the company's partner Loke Kok Keong, 42, and its director Wilson Ong, 31, since they took "good care of him" when he was working there.

When both men turned up for work, they went straight into their business affairs, so Eng chatted with his former colleagues to while away the time.

One of them, Mr Chew Guan Teck -- to whom Eng owed $18,000 -- approached him for confirmation that the money would be returned that evening.

When Eng replied that he would honour his promise this time -- after having failed to return the money earlier -- Mr Chew went back to his desk.

Eng, who became agitated because he felt Mr Chew, 28, was "pestering" him, took out two knives from his bag and stabbed the younger man in his back.

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A terrified Mr Chew retreated to a corner in the office.

This was when Eng, worried that the other six members of the staff would call the police, rounded them up in that corner and ordered one of them to bind the hands and legs of the others.

Eng tightened the bonds himself, and left his captives on the floor, all the while holding his knives.

Recounting those moments in a post-sentencing interview yesterday, Mr Loke said Eng "looked and talked in a very frightening manner", showing a side of him not seen before.

But Mr Loke said he stayed calm because he felt he had to look to his staff's safety. He convinced Eng to release him so they could have a discussion in private.

When Eng told him he had money problems, Mr Loke offered him his money, company funds and also contributions from colleagues who wanted to help him. The sum amassed was $18,000. Eng took the money and fled -- but not before stuffing the mouths of his hostages with tissue paper and cloth.

He was arrested two days later with more than $15,000 on him.

He admitted in court yesterday that what he did was "very stupid" and unthinking.

But District Judge Eddy Tham said that in sentencing him, he had to consider the aggravating factors, the violence shown and the trauma he had caused his victims.

The case was "particularly shocking", said the judge, because Mr Chew had lent Eng the money and was only asking for it back -- "clearly what a normal person would do".

Corpun file 21236


The Straits Times, Singapore, 31 March 2009

10 years, 12 strokes for abusing boy

By Khushwant Singh

Selvaraju could have been jailed for 20 years for his crime.

A WATER cooler repairman was sentenced to 10 years and 12 strokes of the cane yesterday after sexually abusing a seven-year-old in a school toilet.

Indian national Selvaraju Jayaselvam, 26, pleaded guilty to performing oral sex on the young boy. He also tried to get the boy to do the same to him.

The boy cannot be named and neither can details that could lead to his identification be published.

The court heard that the repairman, who came here in December 2007, was checking water coolers in the school last July 1.

When the boy went to the toilet and water cooler, Selvaraju, who was repairing it, struck up a conversation with him. He also went into the toilet and asked the boy to help check if the flushing systems were working. There, he performed oral sex on the boy in a cubicle.

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That afternoon, the victim told his father.

Selvaraju was arrested on July 3.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi asked for a stiff sentence as the offence occurred in a school.

Selvaraju, expressing remorse, said until now he cannot explain why he committed the offence.

This is the first case of its kind since the provision for abusing those below the age of 14 was included in the Penal Code last February,

Under the new law, an offender can be jailed for a maximum of 20 years while the minimum penalty is eight years in jail and 12 strokes of the cane.

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