He is accused of robbing a 51-year-old woman of her handbag while armed with a penknife at Jurong West Street 65 at about 2pm on Saturday.
Her Bonia handbag contained a $200 Bonia wallet, a $350 Xiaomi mobile phone and $60 in cash.
If convicted, Thillainathan could be jailed for a minimum of two years and not more than 10 years, and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.
Two foreign workers, Mr Li Hong Yi and Mr Yu Yin Soon, who heard the victim's shouts for help, chased and caught a suspect, who was later arrested by the police.
The police advise the public to avoid wearing too much jewellery and carrying large amounts of cash or valuables, and to avoid dark, quiet and secluded places.
The public should also be aware of their surroundings at all times. When confronted, they should remain calm and take note of the suspect's appearance, clothing, height and other physical description.
They should also take note of the suspect's direction and mode of escape, and call 999 as soon as it is safe to do so.
This article was first published on February 23, 2016.
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