Corpun file 21681
The Straits Times, Singapore, 11 September 2009
Jail for man who hit a Jew
He is the first to be convicted of religiously motivated assault
By Elena Chong
Click to enlarge
HE HAD the words "ANTI JEWS" tattooed on his face
and Azmi Osman showed the hostility he felt in February this year
when he punched a Jewish man on the arm without any apparent
Yesterday, the unemployed man, 34, became the first to be
convicted of a religiously motivated assault and of promoting
enmity between different groups with the tattoo on the right side
of his face.
Azmi, who has schizophrenia, pleaded guilty to the two charges
and two others of armed robbery and causing hurt by using a
dangerous weapon at an NTUC FairPrice outlet in Bedok on April
He was sentenced to three years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane
by Community Court judge Ng Peng Hong.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Yong told the court that Mr
Eliyahu Benhiyoun, 21, an American religious worker based in
Singapore with the Jewish Welfare Board, was in the lobby of the
National Library on Feb 25, engrossed in sending an SMS to a
friend, when he suddenly heard someone shout at him and felt a
punch on his upper right arm.
Mr Benhiyoun, who was wearing a yarmulke, an orthodox Jewish
skullcap, saw Azmi staring at him. He noticed the tattoo on his
right cheek, which he said offended him.
Azmi claimed at first that the victim had provoked him. He also
claimed that "ANTI JEWS" stood for "Anti
Jagged", "Endeavour", "Worship" and
"Satanic", and symbolised underground music.
But while investigation into the case was ongoing, Azmi got
into further trouble when he stole three bottles of tonic wine
and a knife from the Bedok supermarket on April 24. He also
slashed a staff member on the back of his right hand.
Pressing for a stiff sentence, DPP Wong Kok Weng argued that
Azmi's February offences were racially or religiously aggravated,
and such acts could threaten the long-term stability and social
cohesion which Singaporeans had taken great pains to preserve.
"Such xenophobic acts cannot be condoned in a
multi-religious and multi-racial society such as Singapore,"
In February last year, the Penal Code was amended to enhance the
punishment for a religiously aggravated assault by 1½ times to
reflect the "seriousness of offences involving or motivated
by hostility towards racial or religious groups".
DPP Wong said if hate acts based on race or religion were allowed
to persist, the fault lines between groups would deepen. This
would create opportunities that extremist elements could exploit.
He also said Azmi lacked remorse as he had been given a chance
while he was out on police bail to remove the offending tattoo,
but the words could still be seen beneath the picture of a
Merlion he had tattooed over it.
Azmi, whose psychiatric illness was in remission when he
committed the offences, had two other charges considered during
Judge Ng, who backdated his sentence to April, agreed that there
was a need to maintain harmony and order in a multi-racial and
multi-religious society like Singapore.
Azmi, who has previous convictions for assault, could have been
fined up to three years and/or fined up to $7,500 for an assault
which is racially or religiously aggravated. The offence of
promoting enmity between different groups is punishable with up
to three years' jail and/or a fine.
Corpun file 21680
The Straits Times, Singapore, 15 September 2009
18 years, 16 strokes for killing baby
Man killed girlfriend's 2-month-old infant after taking her
By Selina Lum
"Those who inflict an ounce of violence on children unjustifiably should therefore not be surprised to receive a much more weighty punishment and not expect merely an ounce for an ounce."
Justice Tay Yong Kwang, in handing down the sentence on Sarle Steepan Kolundu (left), said adults must resolve their problems within their own sphere and not visit their sins or troubles on any child.
PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
A MAN who took his girlfriend's baby from the women's shelter
where she was staying, and killed the infant in a fit of anger,
was yesterday jailed for 18 years.
Sarle Steepan Kolundu, 44, who was convicted of culpable homicide
not amounting to murder, was also ordered to be caned 16 strokes.
In handing down the sentence, Justice Tay Yong Kwang said those
who inflict violence on children, who are "defenceless and
completely innocent victims", can expect a painful and
Sarle Steepan's lawyer, Mr Roland Ng, pleaded for leniency,
arguing that his client felt betrayed by his girlfriend's
But Justice Tay said nothing could ever justify punishing an
innocent and helpless baby for any perceived wrong committed by
He minced no words when he told Sarle Steepan: "Adults must
resolve their problems within their own sphere and not visit
their sins or troubles upon any child.
"Those who inflict an ounce of violence on children
unjustifiably should therefore not be surprised to receive a much
more weighty punishment and not expect merely an ounce for an
Sarle Steepan had fractured the skull of the two-month-old baby
girl on June 1 last year after he lied to the shelter -- Good
Shepherd Centre -- that the girl's mother gave him permission
to take the infant out.
The mother, Ms Siti Noor Fazlina Haron, 24, who put up at the
shelter at the time, was out at work then.
Click to enlarge
Sarle Steepan hit the infant until she bled profusely from the
mouth. A passer-by called for help after seeing that the baby was
motionless. Sarle Steepan, who accompanied the baby in the
ambulance, was arrested at the hospital.
In mitigation, Mr Ng portrayed his client as a compassionate man
who loved Ms Siti, whom he knew as Jennifer.
He even agreed to take on the responsibility to be the father of
the baby girl he eventually killed, even though she was fathered
by another man.
The lawyer said his client paid Ms Siti's medical bills and
registered himself as the baby's biological father.
But Sarle Steepan, a former drug addict, suspected that Ms Siti
was having an affair with the supervisor of the halfway house
where he was staying at the time. The supervisor later confessed
that he had sex with the woman.
Mr Ng added that his client was under the influence of drugs and
alcohol at the time and that had affected his thinking and
But Deputy Public Prosecutor Leong Wing Tuck said Sarle Steepan
knew exactly what he was doing.
His refusal to give an exact account of what he did to the baby
showed a lack of remorse, he added.
In urging the High Court to hand down a stiff sentence, DPP Leong
said the horrific injuries to the baby's face showed that she had
Sarle Steepan could have been jailed for up to 20 years or for
Corpun file 21674
The Straits Times, Singapore, 19 September 2009
Undergrad preyed on boys
Molester sentenced to 4½ years and five strokes; he is
By Elena Chong
Lee would station himself at an MRT station or void deck and
tail his victim home and attack him in the lift.-- ST
PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
THE final-year undergraduate would station himself at an MRT
station or void deck and wait for his potential victims.
Once he set his eye on someone, he would tail the boy home and
attack him while in the lift with him.
Andy Lee Kee Liang, 24, made one of his victims perform oral sex
on him. He groped and kissed the other boys.
In all, the National University of Singapore chemical engineering
student molested three teenage boys in HDB flat lifts over a
two-week period in 2007.
Lee was sentenced to 4½ years' jail and ordered to be caned five
times yesterday by District Judge Roy Neighbour.
Lee, who is appealing against the conviction and sentence, was
offered bail of $25,000. His passport was impounded and he has to
report weekly to the investigating officer.
On Aug 30, 2007, after molesting a 14-year-old boy, he knelt down
and performed oral sex on the victim. Lee then followed the boy
out and ordered his victim to perform oral sex on him on the
Five days later, Lee kissed a 15-year-old boy in the lift. A week
later, he tried molesting a Secondary 2 student, aged 14, who
pushed him away.
The eight-day hearing centred on Lee's mental state at the time
of the alleged offences, as he claimed to be of unsound mind
then. He also said voices had told him to commit the acts.
Two consultant psychiatrists -- Dr Yeo Seem Huat and Dr Ang
Yong Guan -- testified for the defence that Lee had been
suffering from severe depression with psychotic symptoms at the
time, and was of "unsound mind".
Click to enlarge
But under cross-examination by Deputy Public Prosecutor Isaac
Tan, they conceded that Lee knew the nature of his acts, and that
what he was doing was wrong or contrary to the law.
The prosecution's rebuttal witness, Dr Jerome Goh, a consultant
psychiatrist with the Institute of Mental Health, said he had
found nothing wrong with Lee after examining him about two weeks
after his last offence.
Lee was also observed to be behaving normally when he was
remanded for three weeks at the medical centre within Changi
Prison for psychiatric assessment.
Addressing the court on sentencing earlier, DPP Tan had said
Lee's nefarious acts were deliberate and systematic. He had held
little regard for the fear, trauma and distress to which he had
subjected those young and vulnerable victims.
"The ill-effects of the accused's wrongdoings continue to
plague these young victims long after the offences were
committed," said the prosecutor.
The first victim, who was mildly retarded, was "besieged by
fear", and will not go out alone.
Another victim has since developed a phobia of lifts, while the
other has become more paranoid and suspicious of others who take
the same lift as him.
Corpun file 21678
The Straits Times, Singapore, 24 September 2009
Rag-and-bone man jailed over slashing of rival
By Elena Chong
Ang Tai Wei, 36, admitted to causing hurt to his 66-year-old rival Mr Tee Hai Swee.
A RAG-AND-BONE man who -- together with another man armed with
a parang -- hurt a 66-year-old rival in May, was dealt six
months' jail and three strokes of the cane yesterday.
Ang Tai Wei, 36, admitted to causing hurt to Mr Tee Hai Swee,
together with the unknown man, in the void deck of a Boon Lay
Drive block on May 3.
Although Ang did not wield the parang, he is deemed under the law
to have shared a common intention to cause hurt.
The court heard that Mr Tee was making his rounds in Choa Chu
Kang the day before when Ang told him to lay off his territory.
Mr Tee left and later called his boss to find out whether he knew
Ang, and if he did, to ask Ang to allow him to make some money in
Click to enlarge
The next day, Mr Tee received a call from someone telling him to
stay put, as the caller and another person would be with him
Mr Tee was near Block 175 in Boon Lay Drive when Ang showed up
and punched him twice, flooring him.
As Mr Tee picked himself up, he saw Ang coming at him again. With
him was another man, armed with a parang.
Mr Tee used his arms to ward off the blows as the unknown man
attacked him with the parang. He is still receiving treatment for
his right arm, more than four months later.
Ang's lawyer Kelvin Lim said his client does not know the other
man who appeared on the scene with the weapon. Mr Lim added that
Ang had, in fact, tried to restrain this man from attacking Mr
Tee. The unknown man is still at large. Ang could have been
jailed up to seven years, fined, caned or received any
combination of these penalties.
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