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Judicial CP - December 2004
Straits Times, Singapore, 15 December 2004
20 years' jail for 2 cannabis traffickers
They escape death penalty under reduced charges. Both will be caned
By Elena Chong
TWO men who originally faced the death sentence for trafficking in cannabis were given the minimum 20 years and 15 strokes of the cane on reduced charges yesterday.
Saiful Baktiar Bahri, 30, and Vincent Chang Yong Sen, 31, were initially charged with having 1.1kg of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking. The charges for both men were later reduced to trafficking in not less than 499.9g of cannabis.
Saiful Baktiar was convicted of trafficking in six blocks and 16 packets of vegetable matter with not less than 499.9g of cannabis in a vehicle at the void deck of Block 555, Hougang Street 51 on April 13.
Chang also admitted having 15 blocks and six packets of vegetable matter with cannabis weighing not less than 499.9g for trafficking at his third-floor flat at Block 555 the same day.
Anyone convicted of trafficking in 500g or more of cannabis faces the death penalty.
Five other charges against Saiful Baktiar and three against Chang were taken into consideration for sentencing.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Shawn Ho said Central Narcotics Bureau surveillance officers saw Saiful Baktiar arrive in a car at Block 555 at 11.10am.
After Chang got into the car, Saiful Baktiar drove to a nearby carpark before returning to the block of flats.
The latter then passed a maroon paper bag to Chang, who returned home with it. Officers arrested Chang at the void deck shortly after.
At his home, he surrendered 14 blocks of cannabis from his kitchen cabinet and another big block from a bedroom.
That evening, Saiful Baktiar was arrested at his home in Flora Drive in Loyang.
His lawyer, Mr Peter Fernando, said in mitigation that his client, who was running a business renting out hi-fi equipment, has a nine-month-old baby son with his wife, a Briton who is a permanent resident here.
Pleading for the minimum sentence, he said his client was very remorseful and that the offence had shattered his life and that of his family.
Acting for Chang, Mr Cheong Aik Chye, together with Mr Amarick Gill, said his client had been a cannabis addict for the past nine years, smoking six to 10g of cannabis every day.
To sustain his addiction, he began to buy the drugs in bulk and sell some to his friends to cover his costs, counsel said.
Mr Cheong also told the court that Chang, who has a 1½-year-old son, kept his addiction from his family and his wife, who was suffering from severe depression.
Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
Straits Times, Singapore, 16 December 2004
Cabby stabbed wife over alleged affair
Man jailed for 30 months, given six strokes for hurting China woman
By Elena Chong
A CABBY stabbed his wife in the stomach in a fit of anger, when she refused to admit she was having an affair.
Bleeding profusely, Madam Zhou Zuping, who ended up with cuts in her stomach, colon and intestines, was rushed to hospital, where she underwent an emergency operation.
The two, who have been married for about 2½ years, were living apart at the time of the stabbing.
Yesterday, Lim Son Thye, who admitted to grievously hurting the Chinese national on Sept 29, was sentenced to 30 months' jail and six strokes of the cane.
Things had been festering between the couple from the time Madam Zhou took a job as a 'mummy' in a KTV lounge last year, despite her 40-year-old husband's objections.
She claimed she needed the money as she had large debts to settle in China.
When her 11-year-old daughter from a previous marriage came to Singapore in September, she moved into a rented flat at Ang Mo Kio Street 31 with her.
She told Lim she was not happy living with him.
Three days before the stabbing, the 32-year-old suggested they live separately, but denied she had another man.
He could not get through to her that evening and learnt from her daughter that his wife had not been home that night.
When he queried her two days later on her whereabouts, she told him that it was none of his business; and that she owed him only her permanent residence.
Lim's lawyer, Mr Lee Ah Fong, said that on hearing that, his client felt cheated, sad and depressed, and realised his wife had made use of him.
While drinking with friends opposite the KTV lounge where she worked, he saw her leave with a man at about 3am on Sept 29, and that they behaved like a couple.
Though he was jealous and distressed, he continued drinking.
But later that day, he contacted her, told her what he had seen and rebuked her for lying.
Later, he went to her flat, where he picked up a 20cm-long knife on the coffee table, pulled her into the bedroom, and questioned her about her affair.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Hon Yi said that Lim insisted she admit to having had an affair and apologise to him.
When she ignored him, he stabbed her.
When the taxi driver realised what he had done, he called the police.
His lawyer pleaded for leniency, saying Lim has two young children to support, and still loved the victim although she had cheated on him.
He also urged the court not to cane his client who, he said, had acted in a moment of anger.
But District Judge See Kee Oon disagreed.
Lim could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined or caned.
Straits Times, Singapore, 23 December 2004
Jailed for mobile phone thefts
Gang of four get between three and more than six years' jail for robberies
A YOUNG mother of three who committed a string of mobile phone thefts within a three-day period in September was jailed for four years yesterday.
Norlani Hassan Bakri, 22, was accused of carrying out 11 robberies and one attempted robbery with her accomplices between Sept 1 and 3.
She pleaded guilty to stealing two Nokia mobile phones worth $30 and $150 from two students on Sept 3.
Ten other charges were considered during sentencing.
Her accomplices in the Sept 3 robbery were her boyfriend Norfahmyrudin Mohamed Zainuddin, 21, Muhamad Jufri Jabar, 25, and his sister Nurhayati, 21. All are unemployed.
The two victims in the case - 16-year-old Nursaidi Maswari and 17-year-old Mohamed Fadhil Hashim - were approached by the group in the playground at Block 839 Tampines Street 83.
They accused a friend of the victims of assaulting Norlani's younger sibling and demanded Nursaidi's phone as a 'guarantee' of the friend's innocence.
Nursaidi, at the first sign of trouble, had discreetly called the police before his phone was taken.
Meanwhile, Muhamad Jufri made a similar accusation against Fadhil, saying he had assaulted his brother.
When Fadhil denied it, he was led away, where Norfahmyrudin demanded his phone as a 'guarantee'.
Fadhil initially refused, but handed his phone over after Norlani threatened to whip him with her belt.
The group was arrested nearby. Norlani has previous convictions for theft, failing to comply with a supervision order and failure to report for urine tests.
In mitigation, defence counsel Siow Itming told District Judge See Kee Oon that his client was three months' pregnant when her husband forced her to be a prostitute.
She had worked both as a hostess and prostitute to feed her family.
Despite a personal protection order against him, her husband continued to abuse her and had even assigned Norfahmyrudin to take care of her and the children.
Pleading for leniency, he said Norlani was also under severe stress and heavily influenced by her boyfriend, who took advantage of her reliance on him.
Norfahmyrudin was sentenced to a total of six years and eight months and 24 strokes of the cane last Thursday on four counts of robbery.
Jufri has been given three years and six months and 12 strokes, while his sister got three years.
Straits Times, Singapore, 24 December 2004
Jail, cane for man who chopped off NSF's fingers
By Elena Chong
AN ACCUSATION of staring led to a 20-year-old man cutting off another man's right middle and ring fingers with a chopper.
CATERER Hasman Mek Mek (left) had accused full-time national serviceman Jai Raj Augustine, 20, of staring at him on Sept 15 in front of Tampines Library.
Mr Jai Raj denied this.
Hasman then used a chopper to slash the victim.
Mr Jai Raj tried to block the blows with his right hand, resulting in the amputation of his right middle and ring fingers.
Hasman was given two years' jail and nine strokes of the cane for the offence.
This was not the first time that Hasman has been in trouble with the law, as he had previously been sentenced to reformative training for taking drugs.
Full-time national serviceman Jai Raj Augustine, 20, was walking with a 16-year-old girl along Tampines Central 1 in front of Tampines Library at about 7pm on Sept 15, when four men approached from the other direction.
Assistant Public Prosecutor S. Puspha told the court that one of the four, caterer Hasman Mek Mek, accused Mr Jai Raj of staring at him, but the latter denied this.
Mr Muhammad Taha Abdul Aziz, 19, who was with Hasman, intervened and tried to defuse the situation amicably by pulling Hasman away, saying that the victim was an acquaintance.
The other two unidentified men stayed away.
But Hasman refused to back down and, while Mr Taha was trying to separate them, took out a chopper from his sling bag and slashed at Mr Jai Raj, who used his right hand to block the blows. This resulted in the amputation of his two fingers.
Mr Taha dragged Hasman away from the victim, giving the latter enough time to run away.
Hasman left in a taxi.
Mr Jai Raj was rushed to Singapore General Hospital where he underwent microsurgical repair and reconstruction to his right hand. He also had a cut on the left side of his neck.
He was discharged six days later and has been undergoing regular occupational therapy for the use of his right hand.
Yesterday, Hasman told district judge Tan Puay Boon in mitigation that he regretted what he had done, and asked for a second chance.
Hasman, who had previously been sentenced to reformative training for taking drugs, was given two years' jail and nine strokes of the cane for the offence.
The other two men are at large.
Hasman could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.
The New Paper, Singapore, 27 December 2004
Snakehead dumps Myanmar man in water and left him ...
Swimming for his life
Two of the Snakeheads' victims talk to Jocelyn Wong from Portsdown prison
[extract; emphasis added]
Tay Boon Hua, 46, had a fear of water. But the Snakehead, better known as Ah Chai, did not hesitate to tell his 'customers' to jump into the sea off Johor and swim to Singapore.
Kway Sue, 34, a Myanmar national, remembers that night well.
He had paid RM1,200 ($520) to Tay's runner, a Myanmar national of Chinese parentage known only as Ah Htike, to smuggle him here by boat.
Tay drove him in a 'big, new car' from temporary digs to the Johor shore.
'Ah Chai drove so fast. While we were in the car, he and Ah Htike said there was no boat and no car to take me over,' said Kway.
'He (Ah Chai) then stopped the car near the water and told me to swim. He said many people had done it before and it was very easy.'
Kway, who could barely swim, was also told he could not get his money back. He was given an inflatable float.
Said Kway, who picked up English while here: 'He cheated poor people like us.'
Kway said he battled strong currents and cold water for over two hours before reaching Singapore.
Myanmar national Muang May Lin, 25, had also paid money to Ah Htike to be ferried in by boat. He, too, was told to swim across the Johor Straits, with the aid of a life jacket.
'Before I paid them, they never said anything about having to swim. I was so scared in the water that night,' said May Lin, who has four sisters aged 15 to 22.
'If I died, how would my family eat? I was very tired in the water. Sometimes the currents pushed me back and I ended up further away from shore.'
Both men are now serving jail terms for entering Singapore illegally.
In May this year, two bodies were found in the waters near the Causeway. The Coroner ruled that they were probably illegal immigrants trying to swim here.
So far this year, the Police Coast Guard have caught 134 people in the waters off Singapore. Some had only plastic bottles to keep them afloat.
Kway and May Lin do not know each other, but their life stories are similar. Both have parents who were farmers, but are now too old to work.
May Lin wants to put his sister through college.
Kway said he just wanted to feed his sickly wife and two young sons, aged 6 and 10.
Neither man could afford to pay for a passport, an air ticket or an agent to arrange for work permits.
But jobs were hard to find after they sneaked into Singapore. There was the constant fear of being arrested.
Said May Lin, whose name means sunshine: 'It was so difficult to find jobs. Many people did not want to hire me because I didn't have a work permit or passport.'
Both men were arrested last month and sentenced to a month's jail and four strokes of the cane. May Lin will be released next week and deported to Myanmar.
When asked what he will remember most about Singapore, he touched his buttocks and said: 'This, I will never forget.'Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.
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