Jail, cane for Indian national in rioting case which involved more than 50 men

SINGAPORE - An Indian national was slapped with a stiff jail sentence for his role in a riot which saw more than 50 foreigners using makeshift weapons to cause serious injuries.

The fight, which took place near the Silat Road Sikh Temple in Jalan Bukit Merah on April 2, 2017, also caused severe traffic disruption when it spilled onto Kampong Bahru Road.

Yadwinder Singh, 26, was on Friday (March 22) sentenced to five years and five months' jail and 12 strokes of the cane.

He pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count each of rioting, failing to present his travel documents when trying to leave Singapore and extortion, which is related to a separate incident.

Singh was out on bail when he was arrested in October last year while trying to leave Singapore for Malaysia illegally by hiding inside the cargo area of a bus.

In sentencing him, District Judge Marvin Bay said: "The rioting charge involved a particularly serious incident involving two large groups of men, reported to number 50 to 60 people, along Kampong Bahru Road.

"Wooden poles, planks and belts were used by both groups in the course of the riot. The fracas spilled onto the road causing severe disruption to traffic.

"Members of both groups suffered serious injuries."

The fight occurred after prayers at around 1pm when some members of Singh's gang clashed with other worshippers outside the temple.

It was not his first brush with the law.

Singh must also spend an additional 129 days behind bars as he had breached a remission order after his early release from prison in January 2017.

Singh was sent to jail in 2016 for offences including rioting. As part of the order, he was not supposed to commit any more offences between Jan 21 and July 2, 2017.

He was not deported after his release and remained in Singapore on a special pass as he was a prosecution witness in one of his earlier cases.

The extortion charge relates to an offence he committed just one month after his release from prison in 2017.

Singh and his group had tried to extort $1,500 from Ms Brar Simadeep Kaur, 21, who was then living with four other Indian nationals in a Jellicoe Road flat near Lavender Street.

On Feb 24, 2017, a member of Singh's group - nicknamed "Babbu" - told the woman that they would alert the Housing Board because too many people were living in the unit.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua said: "Babbu informed that they would get into trouble with the law and would be evicted from the unit if they did not pay up."

One of the residents handed over $200 and the group then left the scene.

Singh was scheduled to stand trial at the State Courts over the Kampong Bahru Road riot when he decided to leave Singapore illegally.

A Malaysian bus driver was roped in and Singh hid inside the cargo area of the man's vehicle in his bid to escape to Malaysia on Oct 14 last year.

Singh was found by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officers during a search.

The Malaysian driver and most of the other offenders have already been dealt with in court.

For extortion, Singh could have been jailed for between two and seven years with caning.

For rioting, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and caned.