Little India samurai sword slashing: Ringleader gets 8 years corrective training, caning

·Senior Reporter
·5-min read
One of the suspects in the Little India slashing case is escorted by police at Lower Peirce Reservoir on Thursday, 26 July 2018. PHOTO: Wan Ting Koh/Yahoo News Singapore
Arjun Retnavelu in the Little India slashing case is escorted by police at Lower Peirce Reservoir on Thursday, 26 July 2018. PHOTO: Wan Ting Koh/Yahoo News Singapore

SINGAPORE — After seeing his nemesis seated at a bus stop in Little India, a man led four friends in an attack on the man, armed with weapons placed in the back of his car

Arjun Retnavelu, 26, and the quartet assaulted 27-year-old Dhines Selvarajah in broad daylight. Arjun slashed Dhines with a chopper, while Dinesh Kumar Ruvy slashed him with a samurai sword. 

The assault on 25 July 2018 captured national attention after it left Dhines lying in a pool of blood in front of the bus stop near 202 Serangoon Road

After Arjun was arrested, he led the police on a fruitless four-hour trip to retrieve the sword used in the attack, which he claimed he had thrown into Lower Peirce Reservoir.

Divers who searched the waters were unable to retrieve the sword. In fact, Arjun had passed the samurai sword and baton to a friend at the void deck of Yishun Ring Road. These were eventually recovered and seized.

On Monday (22 November), Arjun was given corrective training lasting eight years, 24 strokes of the cane and an additional 360 days' jail for breaching his remission order. 

Corrective training is given to repeat offenders and involves a period of incarceration of between five and 14 years. Such offenders are not typically given early release for good behaviour, unlike in a jail sentence.

Little India slashing

Arjun's group, comprising Victor Alexander Arumugam, Dinesh, Sharvin Rah Suraj and Haresh Shanmuganathan, were in a car and on the way to lunch at about 2.10pm on 25 July 2018, when Arjun spotted Dhines at a bus stop located opposite Broadway Hotel. 

As he had a history of conflict with Dhines, Arjun alerted his friends and asked Dinesh, who was driving, to stop the car. He asked Dinesh to open the boot, where Arjun had stored a box of weapons, including a samurai sword, a baton and a chopper.

Arjun picked up the chopper, while Dinesh armed himself with the sword. Sharvin took the baton while Victor and Haresh remained unarmed. The group headed towards Dhines.

After Haresh had confirmed Dhines' identity, he signalled the others to attack. The brawl spilled onto the first lane of the road, disrupting traffic. When Arjun dropped his chopper, he took the baton from Sharvin and continued beating Dhines.

The group then fled to the car, where Arjun directed Dinesh to drive to his friend Mathan Raj Kunasegaran’s residence in Yishun Ring Road.

At about 3pm, Arjun passed Mathan the samurai sword and baton, saying that he would collect the weapons in two days. Mathan took the weapons, wrapped them in cloth and brought them back to his house. 

Dhines, who was conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, was found to have a right foot partial amputation, left arm laceration, upper back laceration and head laceration. He was given three months of hospitalisation leave.

Repeat offender

Arjun pleaded guilty to rioting while armed with a deadly weapon in relation to this incident.

Between 2018 and 2019, Arjun was also involved in three other incidents.

On 10 March 2018, he had agreed to help a friend with a dispute. He appeared in a ski mask and wielded a knife, slashing the man his friend was having an argument with. The victim sustained severe slash wounds to his thigh which severed an artery, nerves and muscle, and also fractured his knee.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt over this offence.

Later in December 2018, Arjun scuffled with two other men outside of Lucky Plaza and was stopped by the police. While the two men were being arrested, Arjun kept trying to intervene and was then placed under arrest. He shouted vulgarities at a police officer and pushed him on the chest twice.

For this incident, he admitted to a charge of deterring a public servant from discharging his duty.

Arjun’s offences were committed while he was on remission from 16 December 2017 to 22 March 2019. This was after serving a sentence of 27 months’ jail, which he was given in October 2015 for an offence of voluntarily causing hurt with a weapon.

Arjun also has a history of violent offences dating back to 2010.

In asking for nine years’ corrective training to be imposed on Arjun, Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh noted that Arjun had left two victims with serious and permanent or long-lasting injuries. He had also played a leading role in the incidents and reoffended while on bail, and also got into several fights even while in custody.

According to a CT suitability report, Arjun was at a moderate-high risk of reoffending and stated that he only planned to start changing his behaviour after his incarceration. In fact, Arjun had reoffended four months after his release, committing more violent offences and demonstrating escalating behaviour.

The prosecution also sought an additional 378 days of jail as Arjun reoffended while on bail, and 12 strokes of the cane.

Arjun's lawyer argued that his client should be jailed for 97 months and caned 15 strokes, arguing that the prosecution’s sentence was “unduly crushing” on Arjun’s prospects.

Of the other accused, Victor was jailed for 17 months, one week and additional 300 days for reoffending which on remission. Haresh was jailed for 36 months, and caned six strokes while Sharvin was given reformative training. Dinesh's case is still pending. 

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