Jail, cane for repeat offender convicted of extortion

A jobless man who returned to crime months after being released from a reformative training centre was sentenced to jail and caning for extortion yesterday.

Naveenthiran Thevathas extorted $2,000 from a teenager after obtaining video footage of him having sex with a girl in a toilet.

The 21-year-old, who turned up drunk in court last week, received four years and two months' jail with three strokes of the cane. He pleaded guilty to extortion and an unrelated theft charge on July 9.

Offenders sentenced to reformative training must spend between 18 months and three years in a reformative training centre. They must also follow a strict regimen that includes foot drills and counselling.

Naveenthiran was released from the centre in April last year, after serving about two years for extortion, theft and methamphetamine consumption.

The court heard that Naveenthiran got hold of a mobile phone belonging to an 18-year-old girl from a mutual friend in January and discovered two videos on it of her having sex with a 17-year-old boy in a toilet. Naveenthiran decided to use the clips to extort money from the boy.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Shen Wanqin told the court that Naveenthiran sent one of the videos to the boy on Feb 14 and demanded $50,000. The teenager made a police report later that day.

Naveenthiran Thevathas, who turned up drunk in court last week, got four years and two months' jail with three strokes of the cane. ST FILE PHOTO

DPP Shen said: "(The boy) managed to raise cash of $2,000 in $50 denominations. A party of police officers were then briefed to conduct an operation to arrest the accused."

On Feb 15, the boy told Naveenthiran he managed to raise $8,000. Naveenthiran roped in his friend Nitesh Naidu Raj Kumar Naidu, 23, to help him collect the money.

Naveenthiran contacted the teenager and told him to place the money at a certain fire hydrant in Hillcrest Road.

The boy dropped off a bag of marked notes at about 11pm.

Naidu drove Naveenthiran to retrieve the money, after which they headed to Woodlands Avenue 1, where police arrested them.

Yesterday, DPP Shen urged District Judge Kenneth Yap to sentence Naveenthiran to four years and two months in jail with three strokes of the cane.

She added that the reputations of two people were at stake in the extortion case.

Naveenthiran's lawyer, Mr Mohamed Fazal Abdul Hamid, pleaded for a sentence that was "not too crushing" and added that his client was remorseful.

Cases are pending against Naidu and Chandanee Selvarajoo, a 28-year-old woman who Naveenthiran forwarded the clips to, promising her $10,000 to help in his plan.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2018, with the headline Jail, cane for repeat offender convicted of extortion. Subscribe