Sun, Dec 05, 2010
The New Paper
Gang leader directed five youths as they pounced on teen
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»Gang headman gets 42 months and 18 strokes

By Amanda Yong and Zaihan Mohamed Yusof

YOU'D think that an attacked planned by a gang leader would be carried out under the cover of night, in isolated and deserted places.

But just like the Downtown East slashing, this vicious gang-related attack took place in a very public place - in broad daylight.

Rashvin Ravindran, 16, was brutally attacked by five youths at a playground in Jurong West on Aug 14.

Presiding over the attack was a plump man covered in tattoos who stood, watched and screamed instructions.

Mohammed Hussein Mohammed Kassim, 28, was their gang leader.

He directed as his boys punched, kicked and slashed at Rashvin's head, neck and hands - all while a street soccer game was going on nearby that afternoon.

Rashvin suffered several lacerations on his hands, neck and head, and a 6cm-deep gash on the right side of his neck.

He was discharged from hospital the day after the attack.

Mohammed Hussein, the headman of 18 Sio Ghi Ho Secret Society, had ordered the attack that bloody Saturday.

The unemployed man, also known as "Bhai-Star", had given instructions to the other five youths before, during and after the assault.

He was sentenced to 3 1/2 years' jail and 18 strokes of the cane yesterday.

Sporting prominent tattoos on his face, Mohammed Hussein pleaded guilty to one charge of being a member of an unlawful assembly armed with a deadly weapon, one charge of rioting and one charge of possessing a sickle and a flick knife.

Another charge of possessing a foldable knife was taken into consideration in sentencing.

The weapons were found in his flat when he was arrested two days after the attack.

Twelve other youths, aged between 14 and 21, are also facing charges for being involved in the assault.

While he did not physically attack Rashvin, Mohammed Hussein had planned the attack and got the other 12 youths, all younger than him, involved.

It all started with a dispute over a football game in Bishan on Aug 7.

Shadiq Ali Nagoor Meera Thanagan, 18, a friend of Muhammad Hussein's, had played a football game with a group of youths.

Both sides agreed that the winning team would collect $50 from the losing team.

Shadiq's team lost, but they refused to pay up.

The two teams decided to hold a second match in Jurong West a week later, on Aug 14. This time, the losing team would pay the winning team $180.

The day before the game, Shadiq told Mohammed Hussein about the dispute over the first wager.

That night, Mohammed Hussein met Maria Dass Pandi Rasan, 20, a member of the Ang Soon Tong gang, at a coffee shop.

He told Maria Dass he had a problem and asked him to help. Maria Dass agreed.

At 2pm the next day, Mohammed Hussein and his girlfriend turned up at the void deck of Maria Dass' HDB flat.

Maria Dass had a watermelon knife tucked inside his jeans while Mohammed Hussein brought along a long bread knife and a chopper, which he kept in his girlfriend's bag.

Both then went to the area around Blocks 514 and 515, Jurong West Street 52. There, Mohammed Hussein called Pereira Hamish Melvin, 18, to tell him of their location.

When Pereira turned up with the rest of the group, Mohammed Hussein told him who to attack.

Mohammed Hussein then planned for the attack to be done at the street soccer court.

Two of the other youths were each armed with a knife, while a third had a knuckleduster.

The youths were all briefed about what happened at the first football game. They were told to stand by.

But Mohammed Hussein aborted the plan when he realised that there were too many residents walking by.

Some of the youths then joined in the match while Mohammed Hussein and other youths stayed on the sidelines.

Their original plan thwarted, they decided to do the next best thing.

Rashvin, who was playing in the match, was to become the sole victim of their aggression. Halfway through the match, he was substituted.

He and another friend, 17, then went to buy drinks.

On their way back to the court, at around 4.25pm, they cut through a playground near Block 511, Jurong West Street 51.

There, they walked past Mohammed Hussein and five other youths, including Pereira and Maria Dass.

One of them called out to Rashvin and his friend, who turned back. The group then confronted Rashvin.

One asked Rashvin if he had called his friend a "dog". But before Rashvin could reply, Pereira punched him, causing him to fall.

At this point, Rashvin's friend fled.

30-second assault

As Rashvin lay on the ground, the group rained kicks and punches on him. During the 30-second assault, Rashvin heard one of the youths say in Tamil: "Open his head."

Maria Dass then slashed at Rashvin's neck and head with a knife. His hands were also slashed when he used them to protect himself from the blows.

The court was told that Mohammed Hussein had directed the assault and even instructed the youths to flee after that.

Covered in blood, Rashvin stumbled towards the soccer court. A bystander who saw what happened called the police.

When The New Paper visited Mohammed Hussein's home at Corporation Drive yesterday evening, we found the front gate padlocked. Nobody answered the door.

Black paint was splashed on the front door and window louvres.

His neighbours said that the two-room rental flat had been unoccupied since police raided the unit in August.

But on Wednesday afternoon, a neighbour had spotted the man's mother at the unit, possibly clearing some of his belongings, said one neighbour.

The neighbour said: "Other than the occasional nod, he would never disturb any resident. But we know he has some money problems due to his vandalised door."

Said another neighbour: "At last, we will have peace now that he is inside (prison)."

Mohammed Hussein had lived in the unit for at least five years with his daughter, six, and son, four.

It is not known if he was married, neighbours said, but his mother would occasionally visit the trio.

When he was busy, neighbours at a lower-floor unit would care for his children.

Was there any indication of his gang?

"It was too obvious. He had tattoos from head to toe."

>>How he masterminded attack

  Gang leader directed five youths as they pounced on teen
  His 'clinic' was in hotel room
  They leave old man bruised
  His 'sick' act leaves him shunned, alone
  Country strong
  Rabbit-crushing woman confesses
  Just who is this man?
  She's branded a 'political prostitute'
  Why shame me in public?
  Happily Everitt After
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