It took 13 years before he was finally punished for his involvement in a fatal stabbing outside a Joo Chiat bar with six others.
Mohamed Azhar Ayoob, 37, was yesterday sentenced to nine years' jail and eight strokes of the cane for the attack in 2002.
He had earlier pleaded guilty in the High Court to one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt with a weapon.
On Feb 4, 2002, the TV sales assistant and a friend, Junaidi Ahmad, were at the Lagenda Karaoke Lounge on Joo Chiat Road at close to midnight when Azhar said that he had seen a man against whom he had a grudge.
He called up five accomplices and asked them to meet at a coffee shop near the bar.
Azhar got his hands on two kitchen knives and several wooden poles and took them to the coffee shop.
At about 2am, pest controller Zulkefelee Md Nor, 33, walked out of the lounge after an argument with his girlfriend. Two male friends followed him to check on him.
As the trio squatted outside the lounge and talked, Azhar saw them and pointed out Mr Zulkefelee to his friends.
The group then attacked him. Mr Zulkefelee's friends were hurt but managed to run back into the lounge.
The assailants cornered Mr Zulkefelee, who suffered five stab wounds, six cuts and eight other injuries.
Paramedics later pronounced him dead at the scene. An autopsy showed that he had bled to death.
Immediately after the attack, Azhar took a taxi to the Kallang River, where he threw away the knife he used to stab Mr Zulkefelee.
After an accomplice told him that Mr Zulkefelee had died, Azhar fled to Malaysia.
Five accomplices were arrested here and tried in the High Court, where they received jail terms ranging from between 7½ years to eight years' jail. They were all given eight strokes of the cane.
Junaidi, who also fled to Malaysia, was arrested by the Malaysian police in 2011 and extradited back to Singapore. He pleaded guilty to the offences and was sentenced to 7½ years' jail and seven strokes.
Azhar was arrested for drug offences in Malaysia in 2011 and jailed.
After he was extradited back to Singapore on July 14 last year, he was arrested for the 2002 attack.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Ramesh Tiwary said Azhar got married while on the run in Malaysia and fathered a girl, who is now six years old.
He filed for divorce after his arrest in Malaysia and lost contact with his daughter, whom he hopes to provide for after his release from prison, Mr Ramesh added.
This article was first published on September 15, 2015.
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