Security officer pleads guilty to punching colleague, who later died, over an argument

Nigel Chin
File photo for illustration.

They were both working as security officers and had used their security post at a construction site in Tuas South as their lodging.

But on 16 November last year, Joshua Thomas, 34, got into an argument with Jasvinder Singh, who admitted to defecating around the security post. During the argument, Thomas punched Singh multiple times, and also shoved him to the ground. Singh was later found dead the next morning.

On Friday (17 November) at the State Courts, Thomas pleaded guilty to one charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt. The court heard that Thomas and Singh, both Malaysians, were deployed to the Tuas South construction site by their company, Security Specialist Inc. Thomas would work the day shift from 8am to 8pm, while Singh worked from 8pm to 8am.

Both used the security post as their accommodation even though they were not allowed to. Singh also told his employer to credit his salary into Thomas’ bank account as he did not have his own in Singapore. Thomas would withdraw the salary and hand it over to Singh every month.

On the day of the incident, Thomas had headed out to withdraw part of Singh’s salary after his shift. He also bought dinner and a bottle of brandy, which they shared during the meal. Thomas then went out to get two more bottles and they continued drinking, even while Singh was supposed to be on his shift.

At around 11pm, Thomas accused Singh of defecating around the security post instead of going to the nearby toilet to do so. Singh initially denied the accusations, but later admitted to them and apologised. However, Thomas did not accept the apology, and punched Singh twice in the face out of anger. The punches were so forceful that the victim’s turban came off his head.

Thomas then brought up a previous conversation he had with Singh that involved Singh allegedly molesting children in Malaysia. They also argued about a loan that Singh had taken from another security officer in another company, which he had not repaid.

At this point, Thomas then punched Singh again, and told another security officer who had been drinking with them that the victim deserved it. The whole argument lasted about two hours. It was unclear how many times Thomas had punched Singh in total.

At about 1am on 17 November 2016, Thomas punched Singh again. When the victim tried to stand up, he pushed Singh forcefully onto the floor. Singh remained on the ground without moving.

After trying to wake Singh up and realising he could not do so, Thomas took the money he had given to the victim earlier that night and boarded a taxi to Tuas. From there he hitched a ride on a lorry to Geylang, where he checked into a hotel with a Thai prostitute and remained for the rest of the day. He also asked a female friend to join him.

At about 5pm, Thomas received a call from a colleague who informed him that Singh had died and police officers were at the security post. He was asked to surrender himself, but refused to do so. Police later received information and traced him to the hotel in Geylang, where they arrested him. He has been in remand ever since.

An autopsy report indicated that Singh died due to a fracture-dislocation of the cervical spine. Three fractures were also found on Singh’s face, along with multiple bruises and two dislodged teeth.

Thomas’ case will be heard in court again on 4 January 2018. If convicted, he will be facing up to 10 years’ jail, a fine, and caning.