The last accomplice in a vicious gang robbery in Kallang that left a foreign worker dead and three others – including a full-time national serviceman – severely injured in 2010 was sentenced to 33 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane on Monday (19 November).
Abdul Rahman Abdullah, 27, also known as Donny Meluda, was part of a gang of four Malaysians, all from the state of Sarawak, who were working as cleaners here.
He pleaded guilty to one count each of robbery with hurt to three victims. One separate charge of a similar nature was taken into consideration for sentencing.
All four victims were set upon by Donny and his gang one after the other within hours from the night of 29 May 2010 to the early morning of 30 May 2010. Among them, 19-year-old NSF Ang Jun Heng from the Naval Diving Unit lost four fingers and part of his palm due to a horrific parang slashing.
Donny was arrested in Malaysia on 14 January last year after fleeing Singapore on 31 May 2010, a day after the robbery. He was the last member to be dealt with.
The three other accomplices were handed their sentences in 2015. Micheal Garing, 30, who wielded the parang, was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, while Tony Imba, 40, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Hairee Landak, 28, who held a victim down, received the same sentence as Donny.
The four were drinking alcohol on 29 May 2010 at Geylang Lorong 12 when they decided to commit robbery. Micheal armed himself with a 58cm long parang while Donny armed himself with a tap handle.
The gang walked along Sims Drive looking for potential victims when they encountered Sandeep Singh, an 24-year-old Indian national working as a construction worker. He was sitting on a rocking horse at a playground at the foot of Block 44 Sims Drive.
They attacked Singh from behind, with Micheal slashing him repeatedly with the parang. Tony hit Singh’s head with a brick he picked up from the floor and Donny used the tap handle to punch Singh.
They robbed Singh of his mobile phone and wallet before fleeing from the scene. Singh went to his friend’s home in the flat for assistance and was conveyed to hospital at about 12.45am.
After attacking Singh, the gang continued towards Kallang MRT when they spotted Ang walking alone under the MRT track. The gang set on Ang with Tony kicking him. Micheal slashed him several times while the Tony and Hairee went through Ang’s belongings. The four fled after they found his phone and wallet, leaving Ang lying on the grass field behind Manjusri Secondary School.
Ang was found by a passerby only six to seven hours after the attack, at around 7am and was then conveyed to hospital.
Ten minutes after the attack on Ang, the gang spotted the third victim, Egan Karuppaiah, a foreign worker, on the footpath beside Kallang River. The four robbed him of his wallet and phone after attacking him with the parang. They left Egan in the bushes before escaping towards the main road.
Within the span of 10 minutes, the four spotted the final victim, Shanmuganathan Dillidurai, a 41-year-old Indian national working as a construction worker riding his bicycle on a footpath along Kallang Road near Riverine by the Park Condominium.
Tony knocked Shanmuganathan off his bicycle before Micheal slashed him on his upper torso and head. Tony restrained Shanmuganathan while Hairee joined in the assault. They took Shanmuganathan’s wallet before leaving for their friend’s house in Syed Alwi Road.
Shanmuganathan was found lying motionless by a passerby who reported the finding to the security guard of the condominium. The security guard informed the police about the dead body at 7.34am.
Singh suffered from multiple fractures on his skull and hand, with his left hand nearly amputated from the attack. He was hospitalised for 13 days.
Ang suffered from a deep neck wound that was only millimetres from fatally damaging his spinal cord, had four of his fingers amputated and incised wounds to his head and back, and upper torso. He was hospitalised for 43 days.
Shanmuganathan, who was pronounced dead at 7.55am, died from multiple injuries. His left hand was completely severed, his skull sliced and fractured, and his neck had a gaping wound, among other injuries.
In urging the High Court to jail Donny at least 33 years’ and cane him 24 strokes, the prosecution said that he was a key part of the group that had in the span of a night “without doubt committed one of the most violent robberies in recent memory”.
Donny had also evaded justice by absconding to Malaysia a day after the robberies, said the prosecution.
In his mitigation documents, lawyer Siva S Krishnasamy sought to point out that the robbery was one of many incidents in Singapore that involved Sarawakians. He cited the incident of a Sarawakian, Nordin Montong, who walked into the white tiger enclosure in the Singapore Zoo in 2008.
“They grew up in a jungle culture where hunting for animals (is) a past-time. Nordin and (Donny) were both unplugged from their comfort zone and plopped into a modern and thriving city like Singapore.”
“They were hijacked from their comfort zone and thrust into (the) city without consideration whether they could adapt to this fast-paced city and lifestyle,” said the lawyer, who said his client turned to alcohol to cope.
Donny had signed up for a recruiting agency and was offered a job as a cleaner in a polytechnic in Singapore, according to the lawyer.
The lawyer said that Donny had turned over a new leaf and became a gardener in his seven years as a fugitive. He later became religious and “led a transformed life”, including joining a missionary group to preach in West Malaysia.
Donny was arrested while on this trip. He was apprehended at Sibu Airport in Sarawak and returned to Singapore.
Asking for a jail term of less than 32 years, the lawyer said he confronted his client with graphic photographs of the crime scene and saw his remorsefulness “borne out by the expression of shock on his face”.
For robbery with hurt, Donny could have been jailed between five and 20 years and caned at least 12 strokes on each count.