Prosecution appeals against 10-day detention for teen who beat up foreign workers

SINGAPORE - The Attorney-General's Chambers said on Tuesday it would appeal the sentence given to a teenager who prowled Yishun with three friends looking for smaller-built foreign workers to beat up.

The teen, Daryl Lim Jun Liang, 19, was sentenced to 10 days of detention on Monday. This means his prison time is not reflected in a criminal record.

He was also ordered to report to a supervising officer every day for a year, be electronically tagged and remain indoors from 10pm to 6am. He also has to perform 150 hours of community service within a year.

Lim, an Institute of Technical Education student, is out on $15,000 bail.

The short detention order is a community sentencing option that is intended to be less disruptive and stigmatising than jail.

Together with his friends, Lim had, in September and October last year, picked on four foreign workers who were of smaller build, and who they deemed less likely to fight back.

In January, he pleaded guilty to one charge of voluntarily causing hurt. The court heard that on Oct 3 at around 3am, Lim and his friends - Tan Jun Liang, 18, and two 15-year-olds, who cannot be named because of their age - met up and decided to look for foreign workers to assault.

At about 6am, they spotted Chinese national Zuo Yunian, 48, walking along Yishun Avenue 6 and attacked him. Lim and a 15-year-old accomplice punched the construction worker multiple times in the face before fleeing.

In calling for a stiff penalty, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai said the attack was entirely unprovoked and there was a clear premeditated intent to pick on and assault a specific group.

He urged the court to sentence Lim to the Reformative Training Centre, where a stint lasts between 18 and 30 months. "A deterrent sentence is needed more than ever in the light of the increase in the number of youth crimes involving violence," said the prosecutor.

From 2013 to last year, he noted, the number of youths arrested for rioting grew 13.8 per cent, from 283 to 322.

Lim's lawyer, Mr Luke Lee, asked that his client not be sent for reformative training as it could affect his future work prospects.

It was also Lim's first brush with the law.

District Judge Lim Keng Yeow noted that Lim had a supportive family and was found to be receptive to parental advice and at low risk of being a repeat offender.

The case involving Tan is pending. The two 15-year-olds are on 18 months' probation.

Lim could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

amirh@sph.com.sg