St James murder case: Man jailed 18 months for harbouring suspect

Hannah Teoh
·Senior Content Producer
(PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore)
(PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore)

He rallied his fellow gang members to attack a man outside St James Power Station, which ended in the victim’s death, and later harboured one of the alleged killers in his godmother’s HDB flat.

For his actions, 28-year-old Muhammad Hisham Hassan was jailed 18 months on Tuesday (2 January) after pleading guilty to one charge of harbouring an offender. Another charge of abetting others to voluntarily cause hurt was taken into consideration.

The court heard that Hisham was part of a secret society known as Sio Kun Tong. On 12 March 2017, Hisham’s friend, 27-year-old waiter Shawalludin Sa’adon, got into an argument with 35-year-old Satheesh Kumar Manogaran, a patron at Postbar, which located within the St James Power Station compound.

Feeling aggrieved, Shawalludin told Hisham that he was going to get into a fight and asked Hisham to help his rally gang members. Hisham sent out a message to the Sio Kun Tong members informing them about the impending clash.

Gang members Muhammad Khalid Kamarudin, 22, and Muhammad Faizal Md Jamal, 23, made their way to Postbar, with Khalid taking a knife along with him.

At the bar, Shawalludin pointed out Satheesh and his cousin, and the four men – Shawalludin, Khalid, Faizal and Hisham – agreed to hurt them and run.

While Hisham was making a phone call to his girlfriend, the rest of the group approached Satheesh and his cousin outside St James Power Station and began stabbing, kicking and punching them.

Hisham later saw Satheesh lying bleeding on the ground. He immediately told Shawalludin and Khalid that Satheesh had died and told Shawalludin to “run far far”. The four then fled the scene.

After being sent to Singapore General Hospital (SGH), Satheesh was pronounced dead at about 6.45am on the same day.

Shawalludin told Hisham he would contact him after the former had sought shelter at a Hotel 81 branch in Balestier. When Hisham did not hear from him, he realised Shawalludin must have been arrested.

Hisham offered to shelter Khalid and Faizal at the Yishun flat where he lived with his godmother. The duo arrived at the flat around 12.30pm on that day, and Faizal left an hour or two later. Khalid told Hisham he had stabbed two people, and Hisham told Khalid someone had died and that this was murder.

The police traced Hisham to the flat and raided it at 8.05pm on 13 March 2017. At that time, Hisham had harboured Khalid for about 31 hours since the crime took place.

Asking for a jail term of 18 months, Deputy Public Prosecutor Andre Chong said Hisham had conspired with the primary offenders – Khaild and Shawalludin – to cause hurt, then sheltered one of them for more than 24 hours as the police search continued.

Hisham’s defence counsel K Jayakumar Naidu asked for a jail term of between 12 to 15 months, saying that his client was tied to the offence in a less serious way. Jayakumar pointed out that when the stabbing was committed, Hisham was away from the scene and did not cause the fatal blow. He also added that Hisham also did not help the two accused flee the country.

Hisham’s previous convictions include driving while intoxicated, disorderly behaviour and sexual penetration of a minor.

District Judge Marvin Bay said that Hisham sheltered a known fugitive for more than 24 hours in the circumstance where an act of murder was committed and that it was a “grave offence”. DJ Bay also noted that Hisham was involved in the events preceding the crime and gave advice to the two alleged murderers in the immediate aftermath.

DJ Bay agreed with the defence counsel that Hisham’s mode of sheltering the two accused was relatively unsophisticated and that he did not help them leave the country. The judge felt that the sentence of 18 months was appropriate and backdated Hisham’s jail term to the first date of his remand on 13 March 2017.

The other three co-accused have yet to be dealt with.

Related stories:

St James Power Station murder: Two more men charged

Police investigating murder near St James Power Station