Raffles place robber went hunting for money changer

PHOTO: Stomp

Armed with a knife in a plastic bag, he lurked around the money changers in Raffles Place, scouting for a target to rob.

The man eventually found one: A money changer from Indonesia, whom he had spotted collecting cash and stuffing it into a sling bag.

He followed his target into the heart of the Central Business District, drew his knife and approached the man from behind.

After stabbing the man multiple times, he grabbed his victim's bag containing cash and cheques worth about $786,000, and fled. But he didn't get far as passers-by pinned him down until the police arrived.

The victim, Mr Kang Tie Tie, 37, a money changer from Batam, was so badly injured that he is still unable to use a pair of chopsticks.

Yesterday, Arun, 39, an Indonesian national also from Batam, was jailed 12 years and ordered to be given the maximum 24 strokes of the cane for committing armed robbery on Nov 14, 2014.

According to court papers, Arun, who goes by only one name, had arrived in Singapore on a social visit pass from Batam by ferry a day before the incident.

He spent the night at a hotel at Resorts World Sentosa.

The next morning, he bought a knife, which had a 12.5cm blade, from a shop in Tiong Bahru, hid it between some newspapers in a plastic bag and went to Raffles Arcade intending to rob someone.

He knew there would be money changers and banks there from his previous visits.

He spotted Mr Kang, who had arrived from Batam hours earlier on the same day and was tasked to deliver and collect money from his company's clients, who are money changers in Singapore.

As Mr Kang made his way to the UOB branch at Chulia Street to deposit the money collected, Arun tailed him, whipped out the knife and held it in his hand.

Arun closed in on his target just outside Raffles Place MRT station and stabbed the right side of Mr Kang's body and right arm multiple times.

He then grabbed Mr Kang's sling bag and fled.

CHASE

The injured Mr Kang shouted for help and gave chase. He managed to catch up with Arun near the UOB Building and tried grabbing his sling bag.

At least three passers-by rushed to Mr Kang's aid and pinned Arun to the ground.

Mr Kang was taken to Singapore General Hospital where doctors found three stab wounds. Two were about 6cm deep.

He also suffered an injury on his right arm which damaged a nerve, leaving his arm weak and numb.

A medical report in August 2015 said Mr Kang had no sensation in his ring and little fingers, and had difficulties with daily tasks such as using chopsticks.

Mr Kang was given 23 days' hospitalisation leave and 19 days' outpatient leave.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosector Charlene Tay-Chia said in her submissions that it was a sensational crime that caused public disquiet.

She added that a deterrent sentence was necessary to maintain security and public safety, and that foreigners do not regard Singapore as a destination to commit such heinous crimes.

Defence counsel S. Balamurugan said Arun's wife had left him for another man, making him feel inferior.

"He foolishly thought that if he could return home with cash, his family, particularly his wife, would think of him as a useful man once again," said Mr Balamurugan.

When The New Paper contacted Mr Kang's employer, trading firm PT Niaga Lestari, an employee said Mr Kang had not turned up for work since the incident.


This article was first published on Jan 01, 2015.
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