Teen robber sentenced to 30 months' jail, six strokes for $218,700 heist

SINGAPORE - An unemployed 19-year-old youth who, on his last birthday, robbed a man of $218,726 with four others was jailed for 30 months and ordered to be given six strokes of the cane on Friday.

Malaysian Vickyneswaran Garichandran admitted to robbing Mr Tay You Hock, 52, in broad daylight at the overhead bridge near Block 365 Woodlands Avenue 5 on Aug 2 last year.

A district court heard that Mr Tay, who is also a Malaysian, commuted daily on his motorcycle from Johor Baru where he lives to Woodands Centre Road where he works for his sister, who owns a textile shop. He also helped out at his family's money-changing business which operated out of the shop also.

In July last year, Vickyneswaran and a co-accused - Suthagar Annamalai, 33, also a Malaysian - met at a coffeeshop at Woodlands and observed the shop where the victim worked. When Mr Tay emerged, one of them trailed him and updated the rest of the gang on what was happening. Two of the other gang members were identified as Guna and Chinna.

On Aug 2, Vickyneswaran followed Suthagar to the coffeeshop at Woodlands where they were joined by the other three alleged robbers.

Vickyneswarn and Guna then confronted Mr Tay on the overhead bridge as he was making his way to two banks at Woodlands Civic Centre to deposit $130,000 and $88,726.

Guna grabbed Mr Tay's neck from behind and lifted him up before he and Vickyneswaran grabbed and tugged at a sling bag held by the victim. Guna punched Mr Tay, who shouted for help, during the ensuing struggle.

When the sling snapped, Vickyneswaran grabbed the bag and ran down the bridge together with Guna. They hopped onto waiting motorbikes ridden by Suthagar and another accomplice.

Vickyneswaran received RM5,000 that night for his role in the robbery. He was arrested when he tried to enter Singapore via Woodlands checkpoint on April 3 this year.

He could have been jailed between two and 10 years plus caning of at least six strokes.

All four of his accomplices remain at large.

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