Bangladeshi jailed 15 years for role in fatal attack of rival in contraband cigarette turf war

SINGAPORE - A Bangladeshi national, who was involved in the fatal attack of a rival seller of illegal cigarettes, has been sentenced to 15 years' jail and 15 strokes of the cane.

Miya Manik, who was earlier acquitted of Mr Munshi Abdur Rahim's murder, was on Monday (July 20) sentenced for causing grievous hurt to the 32-year-old.

During the 11-day trial which started in January this year, the High Court heard that Manik, 31, was a member of a contraband cigarette syndicate in Singapore.

Prior to the attack, his team had been vying with Mr Rahim's faction for control of a field in Tuas South Avenue 1, which was generating the highest sales volume in the area.

On Sept 24, 2016, Manik and at least three others armed themselves with choppers and wooden poles in preparation for a showdown with Mr Rahim's syndicate.

During the ensuing confrontation, he and two accomplices chased Mr Rahim and hit the Bangladeshi national with choppers when he fell.

The attack lasted less than nine seconds but left Mr Rahim with a wound on his leg that caused him to bleed to death.

At the end of the trial, the High Court ruled that the prosecution had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Manik had inflicted the fatal injury.

It also noted that witnesses had testified that the plan was not to kill Mr Rahim.

On Monday, Manik's lawyer Chooi Jing Yen said that while the incident was a "planned confrontation" on both sides, his client had not initially set out to cause grievous hurt to Mr Rahim.

The intention to hurt him was only formed "more or less on the spot" during the confrontation.

Mr Chooi added that Mr Rahim was not a "particularly vulnerable victim", but noted that Manik, who was a construction worker here, was genuinely remorseful and had cooperated with the police in their investigations.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Kumaresan Gohulabalan, Andre Chong and Grace Chua argued that it was a "one-sided" attack.

"The attack in this case was savage and showed an excessive and gratuitous display of violence on an unarmed and defenceless deceased," said the prosecutors in their sentencing submissions.

In calling for a sentence of at least 15 years' jail and 14 strokes of the cane, prosecutors noted that the case involved "profit-driven syndicated violence".

A stiff deterrent sentence must be imposed to discourage such calculated syndicated violence, the prosecution team added.

Justice Valerie Thean said she did not find Manik to be entirely remorseful, as he had denied having a chopper - which she found to be untrue - and had raised several inconsistent claims during the trial.

Describing the attack as "vicious and terrifying", she said the group's incentive was to profit in the contest.

"It arose from the need to maintain their turf and source of profits. There is a need to deter such criminal groups from undertaking any form of violence," said Justice Thean during the sentencing.

For voluntarily causing grievous hurt with a dangerous weapon, Manik could have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

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