Technician punched, beaten with dustpan: 'I knelt down and kept saying sorry'

Technician punched, beaten with dustpan: 'I knelt down and kept saying sorry'
Mr Kathaiyan Sakthivel, a foreign worker, demonstrating how he went down on his knees when his attacker beat him with a dustpan.

All he wanted to do was give feedback that the floor of his maintenance storeroom was wet.

But as technician Kathaiyan Sakthivel approached the building's cleaning supervisor, he found himself on the receiving end of a horrific beating.

The attack, which happened in December last year, was captured on closed circuit television (CCTV).

The footage shows him being punched in the face and chest.

As he shielded his face and tried to flee, his attacker picked up a dustpan and hit him repeatedly until it broke.

The assault ended only after Mr Kathaiyan, a 42-year-old Indian national, dropped to his knees, sobbed and begged for his life.

It left Mr Kathaiyan, a work permit holder who works for electrical servicing company A@risco Services, with a bleeding lip and a swollen face.

And he was not the only A@risco Services worker who was assaulted on the job last year.

His colleague, Mr Balu Petter Sam, was punched and kicked by a security guard in another building in May last year.

The security guard and cleaning supervisor were employed by companies contracted by Ascendas Services (Singapore), a property management company that also contracted A@risco to maintain the electrical works of its buildings.

Ascendas Services is a subsidiary company of Ascendas, a business space solutions provider that operates in countries such as Singapore, China and India.

Ascendas Services CEO Jeffrey Chua told The New Paper that disciplinary action had been taken by the respective companies against the errant employees.

A State Courts spokesman said Mr Balu Petter's assailant was jailed for six months on Dec 1 last year.

The police said a report was made about the attack on Mr Kathaiyan.

Last week, A@risco managing director Adiel Tan recounted the incidents to TNP.

"We felt it was time for us to act and share this with the media because we find it very hard to provide our services to Ascendas when our workers' safety has been threatened time and again," she said.

Ms Tan also provided CCTV footage of both incidents.

Mr Kathaiyan, who has been working in Singapore for 18 years, also recounted what happened to him at the Aztech Building at 31 Ubi Road, where he was stationed, on Dec 31.

He said: "I saw that the floor of my maintenance storeroom was wet after the cleaners washed the stairs and floor.

"I just wanted to tell the cleaning supervisor about it because I had wiring and other equipment inside.

"I even suggested putting up signs."

Mr Kathaiyan said he did not speak in a provocative manner but the next thing he knew, he was punched in the face and chest.

The CCTV footage shows the attacker beating Mr Kathaiyan with a dustpan until it broke.

"I didn't know how to react. All I could think of was to protect myself and not to fight back," said Mr Kathaiyan, who feared for his life while he was being hit with the dustpan.

CRYING

"I couldn't stop myself from crying. I knelt down, kept saying 'sorry' and begged him to stop hitting me."

When his assailant eventually stopped hitting him, Mr Kathaiyan said he fled the building and informed his employers.

He later went to Changi General Hospital to treat his bleeding mouth and swollen face, as well as pain on his chest and back.

He was given four days of medical leave.

"I told my wife who is back home in Tamil Nadu and she cried upon hearing what had happened. She told me to take care of myself," he said.

Mr Kathaiyan, who earns about $1,200 a month, said he is now afraid to go back to the Aztech Building to work and is doing basic office work in A@risco's office at Ang Mo Kio.

His colleagues described him as a gentle man and a practising vegetarian who "would not even hurt a fly".

"I am not angry. I want to go back to work to support my wife and two children but I am afraid to do so," he said.

Ms Tan said Ascendas has since terminated the services of A@risco.

Ascendas confirmed that its contract with A@risco had been terminated but said it "is not in any way connected with the case".

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