They were initially facing a capital charge of murder but the three men who attacked and killed a drunken acquaintance a year ago were instead each sentenced to four years' jail and six strokes of the cane yesterday.
Security guard Kirubakaran Manikumaran, 22, odd-job labourer Thiagu Muniandy, 23, and Sunder Rangasamy, 28, admitted to grievously hurting Mr S. Krisnan Value, 47, a fellow Malaysian, between 12.37am and 1.13am on Sept 7 last year.
The case of a fourth accused man, Anathan Muniandy, 20, will be mentioned tomorrow. Kirubakaran, who faced four charges, also admitted to stealing Mr Krisnan's $30 mobile phone and his POSB ATM card at the Pearls Centre carpark that morning.
A district court heard that Mr Krisnan, a cleaner, started drinking in a coffee shop at the Eu Tong Sen Street building at about 4pm on Sept 6 last year. Kirubakaran and Thiagu joined him, and were followed by Anathan and Sunder.
At about 10pm, they adjourned to Redhill Close to continue drinking at another coffee shop, as Thiagu had to report for part-time work in that area.
At about 11pm, an altercation broke out between Mr Krisnan and Anathan. Kirubakaran hit Mr Krisnan's face twice with his belt. Bleeding, Mr Krisnan lay his head on the table while his companions continued drinking.
Subsequently, Anathan and Kirubakaran apologised. All five then returned to Pearls Centre where they had more alcohol at Level 11 of the carpark, their usual drinking spot.
By then, Mr Krisnan was very drunk and had to lie down on a mattress that was on the same floor.
A short while later, Kirubakaran got into a dispute with Mr Krisnan. They challenged each other to a fight. Kirubakaran punched Mr Krisnan twice in the face, causing him to fall. He then told the rest to beat him up. They kicked, punched and used a dustbin to hit Mr Krisnan's face and chest.
After the assault, Mr Krisnan stumbled onto the mattress. That was when Kirubakaran stole his phone and ATM card.
Later, when the group tried to wake him up, they realised he was dead. They panicked, and left Singapore via the Woodlands checkpoint at 4.20am. They were later arrested after follow-up investigations.
A total of 63 external injuries were found on the body of Mr Krisnan, who died from having his throat crushed.
Each of the three men who assaulted him could have been jailed for up to 10 years, fined or caned.