Orchard Towers death: AGC explains suspects' different charges

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·3-min read
Judge's gavel. (Photo: Getty Images)
Judge's gavel. (Photo: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on Tuesday (20 October) issued a clarification on the high-profile Orchard Towers assault case which resulted in the death of a 31-year-old man, explaining why the seven co-accused persons received different charges proportionate to their offences.

The clarification comes four days after it issued a statement refuting social media posts alleging preferential treatment of the suspects based on their race.

In the early hours of 2 July 2019, Tan Sen Yang and six friends were drinking at Naughty Girl Club on the second floor of Orchard Towers. Tan allegedly had a kerambit knife, with a curved blade and a loop at the end of the handle. At one point in the night, he purportedly took out the knife and showed it to his friends.

As the group left the club, the victim Satheesh Noel Gobidass confronted them, said AGC on Tuesday.

“Tan, Ang Da Yuan, Natalie Siow Yu Zhen, Joel Tan Yun Sheng and the deceased got into a fight. Tan allegedly slashed the deceased a few times. Besides the four involved in the fight, three other individuals were present, namely Chan Jia Xing, Tan Hong Sheng and Loo Boon Chong. Chan, Tan Hong Sheng and Loo were either not involved in, or had tried to stop, the fight.

Tan Sen Yang faces a murder charge before the High Court.

Meanwhile, Ang, Siow and Joel Tan admitted to kicking and punching Satheesh during the assault, which lasted less than a minute and was not premeditated.

“Their acts resulted in two abrasions on the deceased’s upper body, which were minor and non-fatal in nature. There was insufficient evidence to show that they intended to cause more than simple hurt. As such, charges of voluntarily causing hurt with common intention were proceeded against them,” said AGC.

While the hurt caused would have ordinarily merited a fine, in line with previous cases, AGC sought a jail term due to the group violence and public disquiet caused.

AGC also prosecuted Ang and Siow for consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in a public place, as they knew that Tan Sen Yang was carrying the knife on him but remained in his company.

Ang, who has previous violence-related convictions, was jailed for eight months with six strokes of the cane. Siow and Joel Tan, who did not have any criminal records, were jailed for five months and one month respectively.

Chan was recently given 12-month conditional warning by the police upon AGC’s direction, “after considering the facts of the case and the extent of Chan’s involvement, including that he tried to stop the attack on the deceased, and his cooperation with police investigations,” it said.

Tan Hong Sheng and Loo both face one charge of consorting with a person carrying an offensive weapon in a public place before the State Courts. Loo also faces an additional charge of perverting the course of justice.

In its statement last week, AGC said, “Allegations of preferential treatment for different races are baseless and have the potential to disrupt racial harmony in Singapore, causing irreversible divisions in our communities.”

It added, “AGC has directed the police to investigate the individuals responsible for a number of social media posts that are potentially in contempt of court. AGC will not hesitate to take action against those who fall foul of the law.”

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