Malaysian gets 15 months for unprovoked attack with a knife

SINGAPORE - A Malaysian barber who slashed a cleaner with a knife for no reason was on Friday sentenced to 15 months in prison and three strokes of the cane.

Saravanan Munian, 29, also got another three months for kicking and spitting at a police officer.

The attack took place on June 29, after cleaner Rethinam Thamotharan, who is from India, opened the door to his quarters along Cuff Road at 2.30am on hearing a commotion outside. He found himself accosted by two drunk men, who pulled him into a back lane and pushed him to the ground. They prevented him from escaping to his quarters, where the victim lived with three others.

Saravanan's accomplice, 25-year-old Saravanan Balaraman, allegedly slapped the victim repeatedly to get him to keep quiet. With a 20-cm knife taken from a nearby coffeeshop, Saravanan Munian also slashed the cleaner's elbow. The two attackers then ran off.

The 31-year-old cleaner, who needed surgery after suffering a deep cut and fracture on his elbow, was hospitalised for four days and given 56 days of medical leave.

On Aug 10, Saravanan Munian was being driven in a police car to the police station after failing a breathalyzer test, when he attacked the officer. He was also fined $2,300 and banned from driving for 18 months, for driving while drunk and without a licence while out on court bail for the assault on Mr Rethinam.

Saravanan Munian, who pleaded guilty to four charges, could have been jailed for up to 10 years, and fined and caned for voluntarily causing grievous hurt. The case against his co-accused is still pending.