SINGAPORE — A Bangladeshi national who was acquitted of murdering a rival over the sale of illegal cigarettes was jailed 15 years and given 15 strokes of the cane on Monday (20 July) on a lesser charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt with a weapon.
Miya Manik, 31, was part of a syndicate that sold cigarettes at several locations in Tuas. One of these locations was a field at Tuas South Avenue 1, which prosecutors described in court documents as the “jewel of the crown” as it generated the highest volume in sales.
Members of a breakaway faction, whose leaders included the 32-year-old deceased victim, Bangladeshi Munshi Abdur Rahim, had aimed to wrest control of the location from Manik’s syndicate.
Tensions peaked on the evening of 24 September 2016, when Rahim’s syndicate attacked a member of Manik’s syndicate.
Manik and his syndicate readied themselves for a confrontation at the location with the intention of sending a deterrent message to the rival syndicate. He and at least 15 fellow members armed themselves with choppers before heading to the field.
During the confrontation, Manik and two other men chased after Rahim, violently hacking at him with cleavers when he fell. Rahim died from a fatal wound to his left leg.
After an 11-day trial, Justice Valerie Thean ruled in June this year that the prosecution had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Manik had inflicted the fatal injury.
While a bus camera had captured the incident, it failed to show the key details of how assailants had struck Rahim, said the judge.
The judge added the prosecution had also failed to prove its alternative case - that Manik and his two accomplices had the common intention to fatally injure Rahim.
On Monday, the prosecution sought at least 15 years’ jail and 14 strokes of the cane while the defence called for a sentence of 10 years’ jail and 10 strokes of the cane.
In sentencing Manik, Justice Thean noted that the offence was premeditated and planned.
“The group of three were part of a much larger group assembled to intimidate and to outnumber the rival syndicate. Second, group violence carries a high risk of uncontrollable consequences,” said Justice Thean.
The judge said an uplift in the sentence was warranted given the weapon used. Choppers, she noted, were amongst the most dangerous types of weapons as they were capable of cutting through bone, muscle and arteries. The judge also considered the need to deter criminal groups.
“Coming to the specific attack, it was vicious and terrifying. Rahim was unarmed and no other member of his syndicate came to his aid during the group’s attack. He had fallen and was lying on the floor throughout,” said the judge.
Manik could have been jailed for life, or with a jail term of up to 15 years, and caning or, if he is not sentenced to life imprisonment, liable to a fine.
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