DECIDING to teach a lesson to a fellow countryman who had threatened to expose them as being here illegally, five men from Bangladesh prepared for his impending visit by fashioning tree branches into wooden sticks.
They assaulted him after he arrived at the makeshift huts in Bukit Batok where they were living illegally, hitting him so hard that one of the sticks broke.
The victim, 44-year-old Syed Mahbubul Islam, was later found near Bukit Batok Road by a passer-by.
He had multiple injuries, including fractures and head wounds, and died in hospital the same day.
The culprits are Ashraf Hossen and Razif, also known as Md Rajib Hussain, both 30, Saidur Rahman, 26, Md Suruj, 25, and Jasin, also known as Josim, 22.
Yesterday, they were each sentenced to six years and nine months in prison and 10 strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to grievously hurting Mr Syed between 10.40am and 3.15pm on Jan 20 last year in a forested area along Bukit Batok Road.
District Judge Toh Yung Cheong called the attack "premeditated" and "vicious."
Saidur had overstayed in Singapore after his social visit pass expired in 2012, while the others had entered the country illegally between 2010 and 2012.
Mr Syed, a freelance painter here on a short-term social visit pass, had threatened the men with arrest and repatriation. He was an informant with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.
The men suspected this and believed he had given information to the Manpower Ministry that led to the arrest of Suruj's relatives for immigration offences.
They decided on Jan 19 to execute their plan, after Mr Syed said he would be paying a visit.
The next morning, Razif prepared the weapons. Jasin met Mr Syed at Bukit Batok MRT station and led him home.
Ashraf struck the first blow by hitting Mr Syed on the face with a stick, taking turns with Razif, Saidur and Jasin to hit the victim in the arms, legs and face.
Ashraf also twisted Mr Syed's arm until it broke. Suruj rushed over from his workplace in Joo Koon to take part in the assault.
Calling for a jail term of five to seven years plus caning for each of the men, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ma Hanfeng pointed out to factors such as how Mr Syed had not fought back.
The five men also admitted to various other offences, including some pertaining to immigration, and the theft or receipt of the victim's property.
They originally faced murder charges but these were amended to that of voluntarily causing grievous hurt by the Attorney-General's Chambers.
They could each have been jailed up to 10 years, and fined or caned.
This article was first published on August 27, 2014.
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