Kallang slashings: Different appeals for two killers
by Wan Ting Koh
IT HAPPENED late on a Saturday night all the way into the early hours of the next morning in May six years ago. Four men began a robbery spree in Kallang which ended up with one man dead and three others grievously injured.
Of the four, the duo most recently sentenced after being convicted of murder had their cases escalated to the Court of Appeal yesterday (Sep 5).
These two men are Micheal Garing, 28, and Tony Imba, 37, both from Sarawak, who were found guilty of murder in January 2014 and then sentenced on April 20 last year. Micheal was sentenced to death while Tony was sentenced to life imprisonment with caning.
Their accomplice, Hairee Landak, 26, who was originally charged with murder, has been convicted of armed robbery with grievous hurt and was jailed for 33 years and given 24 strokes of the cane in 2013. He later turned against his accomplices to take the stand as a prosecution witness.
The last member of the gang, Donny Meluda, 24, remains at large.
The four victims included construction workers Sandeep Singh, 27, and Egan Karrupaiah, 46. Mr Ang Jun Heng, 22, then a national serviceman was also hurt. The deceased is 41-year-old Indian construction worker Shanmuganathan Dillidurai, whose body was found in an open field next to a Kallang condominium.
We pieced together the different media reports to see what happened during the robbery and in the Apex court:
At about 11pm the fateful night on May 29, 2010, the gang of four went on a robbery spree, acting as if they were on a safari, Justice Choo Han Teck said in his written judgement delivered in 2014.
“The attacks took place as if the gang were on a safari, hunting down one prey at a time, using the same method to trap and harm their victims,” he said.
Tony would begin the attack, then the others followed, including Micheal, armed with a parang. The victim would then be robbed.
As for the weapon, Micheal claimed on the stand that he had found a parang, measuring 58cm long with a 46.5cm blade, at a friend’s place at Geylang. It belonged to someone named “Boy” at one of the beds there, he said. However, it was Tony who came up with the idea of committing robbery, and it was also Tony who initiated attacks on all four victims, Micheal claimed.
Micheal admitted that he was the only one who used his parang on three victims, Mr Ang, Mr Sandeep and Mr Egan, when they retaliated. Mr Sandeep was hit on the head with a brick and slashed, Mr Ang had half of his left palm chopped off and Mr Egan had parts of his fingers sliced off.
However, Micheal said he was not alone in slashing their last victim, Mr Shanmuganathan, who later died with 20 external injuries, including a skull fracture, a slash on the neck that severed his jugular vein, a wound in his back so deep that his shoulder blade was cracked and a severed hand.
Micheal testified that after they left the scene of the crime, Tony snatched the parang from him and returned to the field where Mr Shanmuganathan was lying. He did not see what Tony did, nor did he ask further questions.
Tony, on the other hand, pushed the blame to Micheal. He claimed he had never laid his hands on the parang. He had not even want weapons to be used, and had said so before the gang left their friend’s house at Geylang.
He admitted he was the one who had kicked Mr Shanmuganathan off his bicycle, causing him to be pinned under it. Afterwards, Micheal came forward to step on his bicycle and swing the parang at the victim several times.
Mr Shanmuganathan managed to kick off his bicycle and tried to run away and Tony chased after him to rob him, but Micheal reached him first and started attacking him, said Tony.
However, the prosecution contended after Tony kicked the deceased victim off his bicycle, he held him in an arm lock as Micheal delivered the fatal blow to his neck.
Accomplice Hairee Landak, a former cleaner, also took the stand during the October trial to testify that Tony had elbowed Mr Shanmuganathan while he was cycling. When the victim tried to escape, Tony dragged him to a grassy area before Micheal came forward and slashed him with a parang.
Hairee said he had punched Mr Shanmuganathan, but only looked on when Micheal later attacked him with the weapon. Tony and Micheal then took the victim’s wallet and mobile phone and the group later walked to a friend’s home at Syed Alwi Road in Little India to clean up, he said.
Micheal was sentenced to the gallows while Tony was sentenced to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane in April 2015.
In his written judgement delivered then, Justice Choo said that “Tony Imba’s culpability in this case is still significantly less than Micheal Garing’s which in his view is “sufficiently different to be sentenced to life imprisonment rather than to suffer death”.
He pointed out that the fact that Tony did not use a weapon was important and that fatal wounds were inflicted by Tony, neither was there evidence to show that he “ever wielded the weapon to cause deadly injuries”.
While Micheal is appealing his death sentence, the prosecution on the other hand is appealing for Tony to be given the noose.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Anandan Bala argued that Justice Choo’s judgement had placed “undue emphasis” on the fact that Tony was not using the parang. He argued that Tony was “in sync with Micheal” in his motivations to employ considerable violence on their victims, according to TODAY.
“When Tony decided to embark on the final attack [on Mr Shanmuganathan], he had seen what Micheal had done earlier. [Tony] was one mind with Micheal,” said Mr Anandan.
He said that Justice Choo had failed to give weight to the fact that Tony had “actively participated” in a series of “extremely brutal attacks”, which ended with the death of Mr Shanmuganathan. Tony was the one who ambushed the victims, and had restrained Mr Shanmuganathan, making him vulnerable to Micheal’s attacks.
The Court of Appeal has yet to deliver its judgement.
Featured image by Natassya Diana.
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