Construction worker jailed for dorm fight

Construction worker Arumugam Velmurugan was sentenced to a week in jail yesterday after pleading guilty to using criminal force in a dormitory fight.

The Indian national, who turned 28 yesterday, admitted to grabbing the shirt of another worker in the course of confronting the latter.

For using criminal force otherwise than on grave and sudden provocation, Velmurugan could have faced up to three months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500.

The scuffle took place in the canteen of the Home Stay Residence Dormitory along Bukit Kaki on March 25 at about 11.20pm.

Velmurugan had faced two charges. He was also accused of challenging someone else to the fight, which was taken into consideration in his sentencing.

He was unrepresented in court yesterday and had sought leniency, telling District Judge Toh Yung Cheong that it was his birthday, and that he supported his aged and ill father in India with his daily income of $25.

"I intervened to diffuse the situation, but unfortunately things got out of hand," he said.

Velmurugan is the second man among 16 who faced charges for the fight to admit his guilt, and his sentence was backdated to April 18.

Another worker, Dhamaraj Ramesh, 25, pleaded guilty on April 15 and was sentenced to two weeks in jail. Fourteen other men have their cases pending in court.

This article was published on April 26 in The Straits Times.

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