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Corpun file 25290 at www.corpun.com
The Straits Times, Singapore, 9 May 2014, p.A1
2½ years' jail and caning for Little India rioter
By Lim Yan Liang
THE first man who pleaded guilty to rioting during last December's unrest in Little India was sentenced to 2½ years' jail and three strokes of the cane yesterday.
Ramalingam Sakthivel, an Indian national, was also given a jail term of two years and three months for causing mischief by fire.
Both sentences will run concurrently, but they were backdated to Dec 8 -- the night of Singapore's first riot in more than 40 years and his arrest.
The 33-year-old had met friends in Little India earlier that day and later consumed a bottle of brandy, the court heard. He was walking towards Race Course Road with the intention of taking a chartered bus back to his dormitory when he saw the mob.
He then joined in and pelted police officers and vehicles with projectiles, and smashed the windscreen of a police vehicle with a wooden pole.
The construction worker also helped to flip a police car and attacked an ambulance with a pole while Home Team officers were taking cover in the Singapore Civil Defence Force vehicle.
Earlier, the court was shown video evidence of Ramalingam attempting to set a private bus at the scene on fire. The prosecution estimated that his actions caused damage amounting to more than $370,000.
Deputy Presiding Judge Jennifer Marie had harsh words for Ramalingam during sentencing.
"The accused was no meek follower -- he rallied others to join him and pursued a course of conduct that showed him to be unfazed by the risk to his own life and limb," she said, adding that he had displayed "open hostility" against law enforcement officers. "The audacious acts of violence by the accused reflected his contempt for authority, and law and order."
She said that while she had taken into account mitigating factors raised by the defence, including Ramalingam's clean record in the five years he has worked here, his actions could not be considered in isolation.
"The point of a rioting charge of this nature is that the accused is held accountable for the acts of all involved," the judge said.
"Each individual who takes an active part by deed or encouragement is guilty of the collective offence of rioting."
Judge Marie added that a deterrent sentence was also necessary to send a general message to potential offenders that punishment "will not only be certain, but unrelenting".
His lawyer, Mr Justin Tan from Trident Law, said his client does not plan to appeal. "Our client is remorseful and is going to serve his term."
Six other men, mainly Indian nationals, have served sentences for other charges related to the riot. Some 18 others have cases against them pending in court.
RELATED VIDEO CLIP
Two-minute news segment from local TV station Channel NewsAsia (8 May 2014) gives a bit of background to this case, including some scenes from the riot, which caused consternation in Singapore where communal violence has been unheard of for 50 years.
HERE IS THE CLIP:
IMPORTANT: Copyright in this video material rests with the original copyright holders. This brief excerpt is reproduced under the "fair use" doctrine for private, non-profit, historical research and education purposes only. It must not be redistributed or republished in any commercial context.
Corpun file 25331 at www.corpun.com
The Straits Times, Singapore, 27 May 2014, p.B7
Molester gets four years' jail and caning
By Ian Poh
A CONSTRUCTION worker who molested two maids after following them into the lift was jailed for four years and ordered to be given nine strokes of the cane yesterday.
Bangladeshi national Zakir Hossain Nurul Hoque, 29, restrained his "girlfriends" as they returned to their employers' homes near Tanjong Pagar, before repeatedly squeezing their breasts and kissing them on the cheek.
On the first occasion on May 30 last year, he approached a 25-year-old Myanmar national as she was walking back to a block of flats.
At the lift lobby, he twice asked her to sit with him and grabbed her hand the second time but she turned him down.
Once inside the lift, he hugged her from behind and groped her through her clothes, only letting go after she bit his finger.
Three days later, Zakir Hossain tried unsuccessfully to befriend a 28-year-old Indonesian woman while she was washing her employer's vehicle but she warned him not to bother her.
She later refused his request to follow him and tried to return home but he dragged her out of the lift and molested her at a staircase landing.
He hugged her, held her hand and crossed his leg over hers to prevent her from moving.
He took her to the stairwell and tried to sit her down but stopped after she struggled and screamed at him.
Asking the court to impose a four-year sentence, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ruth Teng said that Zakir Hossain had intruded on his victims in an intimate manner.
Pleading for leniency, Zakir Hossain told the court his family was dependent on his income. This included medical treatment fees for his father and money to put his siblings through school.
Zakir Hossain referred to each women as his "girlfriend".
He pleaded guilty to two counts of molestation by wrongful restraint, with an unrelated charge of behaving in a riotous manner taken into consideration.
The prescribed penalty for the offence is between two years and 10 years in jail as well as caning, with the minimum jail term raised to three if committed in a lift.
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