A good Samaritan rushed to help a woman being harassed in a pub - only to be beaten with choppers when the thugs turned on him.
Mr Koh Ee Hock, 45, was hit on the head with the blunt end of the meat cleavers after bravely confronting the trio.
And when police launched an investigation, they found two of the men behind the assault were involved in yet more crimes - including selling illegal medication and embezzlement.
Yesterday, Yap Kian Yong, Lombard Leon and Henry Ong Hock Heng were each sentenced to between eight and 14 months behind bars.
The court heard Mr Koh stepped in after seeing the woman being harassed at the After Dark pub in Geylang in the early hours of Jan 7.
Yap, 35, was holding her by the hair and shouting at her as his two friends stood by his side.
Mr Koh told the trio not to make trouble as they were there to have fun.
But they simply warned him not to get involved.
They left the pub but things turned violent when they returned minutes later, armed with two choppers and a knife.
Mr Koh tried to flee but was hit on the head with the meat cleavers, in an attack that left him needing stitches to his head.
When police went to pick up Leon for questioning, they realised that the pub assault was not the only crime they were dealing with.
The unemployed 33-year-old was found pouring codeine-laced cough mixture into 90ml bottles from a 4 litre container at his flat in Commonwealth Close.
Leon admitted that the illegal medication had been smuggled into the country from Malaysia in white canisters disguised as porcelain cleaner.
He had been selling it for $15 a bottle to codeine addicts in Geylang.
Meanwhile, Yap was already being investigated for embezzlement at the time of the attack.
The 35-year-old was a supervisor at a cleaning company that serviced Hotel 81, the court heard.
In March last year, the chain sent his firm a cheque for $866.72, but wrote $86,672 instead.
When Yap noticed the large sum of money in the account, he suspected it was a mistake.
But instead of reporting it, he started making regular withdrawals, each time taking out the maximum of $2,000.
By the time Hotel 81 realised its mistake on May 13, he had taken out $60,000. Yesterday, Yap was jailed for 14 months while Leon received a 10-month prison sentence.
Ong, 35, who works as a mover, will serve eight months.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Vincent Ong told the court that the trio had carried out violent acts with dangerous weapons.
But defence counsel Choo Si Sen said his clients were very remorseful and regretted their actions.
The maximum punishment for causing hurt with a deadly weapon is seven years in jail and a fine or caning.