Teen gets short detention order for beating up foreign workers

Tan Jun Liang was sentenced to a short detention order of 10 days and a day reporting order for a year, for picking on smaller-built foreign workers to beat up.
Tan Jun Liang was sentenced to a short detention order of 10 days and a day reporting order for a year, for picking on smaller-built foreign workers to beat up. PHOTO: ST GRAPHIC

SINGAPORE - A teenager who joined three others in attacking two foreign workers based on their smaller build was on Monday sentenced to 10 days' short detention order (SDO).

Tan Jun Liang, 19, who is the last person to be dealt with, was also ordered to report to a supervision officer every day for a year.

In addition, he also has to remain indoors from 10pm to 6am for a year, be electronically tagged, and perform 150 hours of community service.

The Institute of Technical Education student had pleaded guilty to one charge of causing hurt to Chinese national Zuo Yunian on Oct 3 last year at a pavement in front of Block 289 Yishun Avenue 6 with two 15-year-olds and Daryl Lim Jun Liang, then 18.

Another similar charge of punching an Indian construction worker was taken into consideration.

The court heard that Tan and his three accomplices met at a void deck in Yishun at about 3am that day and set off to look for foreign workers to assault.

They would choose victims based on their build, and avoided those who were tall and stout.

At about 6am, they spotted construction worker Zuo, 48, walking along Yishun Avenue 6 and attacked him.

The two younger teens punched the victim in the face and mouth multiple times. Both have since been placed on 18 months' probation each and spent 10 days at the Singapore Boys' Home.

All four fled, leaving Zuo bleeding from his mouth.

Tan received the same sentence as Lim.

In July, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon dismissed the prosecution's appeal for a stiffer sentence for Lim, and upheld the State Courts' sentence of 10 days' SDO, day reporting order (DRO) and community service order passed in April.

SDO and DRO are community sentencing options intended to be less disruptive and stigmatising than jail.

Tan's lawyer James Ow Yong had asked that the youth be placed on probation, saying he has made marked improvement in his life.

He added that his client comes from a broken family as his parents are divorced, and he has reflected on his actions which he now sees as most disrespectful and downright foolish.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai felt that parental supervision would be an issue.

As the court had noted, Tan had a lackadaisical attitude, turning up late for his guidance programme and court mentions, he said.

Mr Lai argued that an SDO would be appropriate as there is a need to strike fear for a young offender and to instil some discipline.

After sentencing him, District Judge Christopher Goh told Tan this was his last chance to turn his life around.

The maximum penalty for voluntarily causing hurt is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine.

elena@sph.com.sg