SINGAPORE - A drug abuser who held his girlfriend's two-year-old son hostage, causing a 17-hour stand-off with police, was on Tuesday (March 20) sentenced to five years' jail and six strokes of the cane.
Muhammad Iskandah Suhaimi, 40, was convicted of this offence and others on Nov 29 last year.
At about 4pm on Sept 27, 2016, Iskandah locked himself and the boy in a flat when he asked his girlfriend to buy cigarettes for him.
He ignored pleas from his girlfriend and her mother to let the boy go.
Around noon the next day, officers from the Special Operations Command forced their way into the flat by breaking a window and removing the front gate when Iskandah went to the toilet.
They arrested Iskandah and rescued the boy.
Neither Iskandah's 33-year-old girlfriend nor her son can be named due to a gag order to protect the boy's identity.
At the time of the incident, Iskandah had been living in a Sembawang rental flat for about a year with the boy and his mother.
On the day of the incident, Iskandah asked his girlfriend to go out and get him cigarettes.
When she stepped out of the flat with her son, Iskandah suddenly grabbed the boy and locked the main gate, with the toddler inside.
He ignored his girlfriend's pleas to let the toddler go. She was afraid as she had not been apart from her son before and usually did not leave him alone with Iskandah.
Iskandah ignored her pleas and challenged her to call the police. She then went to get her mother's help and returned to the flat with her.
Despite this, Iskandah refused to let the boy go and said he would do so only if his girlfriend agreed to enter the flat in exchange for the toddler. The girlfriend and her mother both did not agree as Iskandah had a history of violence towards the 33-year-old woman.
Police arrived at about 7pm, 15 minutes after they were alerted. Iskandah's girlfriend told the police that he had taken Ice earlier that day.
She also said they were having relationship problems, that he had hit her before, and that he was known to carry a knuckleduster with him.
Iskandah was aggressive, uncooperative, impatient and highly agitated at various points in his dealings with the police, the court heard. During the stand-off, he was seen consuming drugs in the flat.
On Nov 29 last year, Iskandah was convicted of one count each of kidnapping, being in possession of a knuckleduster, as well as methamphetamine, or Ice, consumption and possession. He committed these offences in September 2016.
On Tuesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh said that Iskandah has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and methamphetamine use disorder.
However, she told the court that Iskandah’s psychiatric condition should be given little to no mitigating weight and added: “He was well aware of the wrongfulness of his actions and was in full control of his faculties... By deliberately keeping the victim from his mother, the accused knew that his actions were unlawful."
Iskandah, who was not represented by a lawyer, pleaded for a lenient sentence and told the court that he did not hurt the child.
For kidnapping the toddler, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.