SEARCHING for his missing wallet in Little India, construction worker Raju Arivazhagen, 31, went up to a fellow Indian national and asked if he had seen it.
Unknown to Mr Raju, Periyasamy Devarajan had earlier picked up his wallet and thrown it away after taking the $20 and ez-link card inside. But Periyasamy, 20, lied that he had seen the wallet at the Kampong Java flyover and led Mr Raju there, plotting to rob him at the secluded spot.
Under the flyover, Periyasamy viciously attacked the smaller man, bashing him in the face and head with a rock, a branch and three concrete slabs weighing 10.5kg to 13.8kg each.
Yesterday, Periyasamy, now 23, was sentenced to 16 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to culpable homicide for killing Mr Raju three years ago.
He had originally faced a murder charge, but it was reduced. No reason was given in court.
The High Court heard how the two strangers crossed paths hours after they went to Little India on Feb 7, 2012, which was Thaipusam.
Mr Raju had gone there with friends for drinks after visiting temples to observe the Hindu festival. He boarded a taxi in the wee hours to return to his dormitory but alighted after realising he had dropped his wallet.
Periyasamy had gone to Tekka Market for drinks with his brother. Although employed by a scaffolding company, he had stopped turning up for work since Jan 21 and was in financial difficulties.
Periyasamy saw Mr Raju's wallet as he was walking to a field at the junction of Hampshire Road and Northumberland Road.
Some time later, Periyasamy lied to Mr Raju that he had seen the latter's black wallet at the flyover.
There, Periyasamy, who was almost 20cm taller and 20kg heavier, repeatedly struck Mr Raju until he stopped moving. Periyasamy fled with Mr Raju's mobile phone.
Police nabbed him on Feb 12, 2012, after establishing his identity through intelligence and surveillance footage from the Little India MRT Station and the Tanglin Police divisional headquarters, which was a three-minute walk from the flyover.
Two weeks after his arrest, Periyasamy assaulted a police officer when taken to the crime scene. A charge of hurting the officer and two unrelated charges of misappropriating mobile phones were considered during sentencing.
Deputy Public Prosecutor April Phang asked for at least 16 years' jail and 10 strokes of the cane, pointing to the viciousness of the attack by Periyasamy.
Periyasamy's lawyer, Sunil Sudheesan, asked for 10 to 12 years, noting that his client was immature at the time but has since learnt his lesson.
Get MyPaper for more stories.