Jail, cane for three Malaysians involved in Aljunied Crescent gang robbery

Police officers at the crime scene where money- changing business manager Ali Yousof Saiboo was robbed of more than $600,000 in cash at the carpark at Block 110 Aljunied Crescent on Nov 5, 2014.
Police officers at the crime scene where money- changing business manager Ali Yousof Saiboo was robbed of more than $600,000 in cash at the carpark at Block 110 Aljunied Crescent on Nov 5, 2014.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - Three more members of a group of Malaysians who took part in a 2014 heist involving more than $600,000 in cash in Aljunied Crescent were sentenced to jail and caning on Tuesday (Sept 5).

Saravanak Kumar Karunanithy, 30, and Vekneswaran Sekaran, 31, were each jailed for seven years while Selvam Karupaya, 33, was jailed for five years and nine months. Each man will also receive 12 strokes of the cane.

Three of their accomplices, Ravi Sandhira Sagaran and Tachana Moorthy Peromal, both 30, and Annadurai Raman, 44, were dealt with in the Singapore courts early last year. All of them also received 12 strokes of the cane each and up to nine years' jail.

Three other Malaysians: Sivaraam Monion, 29, Baskaran Balakrishnan, 34, and David Mark Mari, 35, are still at large.

In April 2014, Tachana and Baskaran were part of a group that hatched a plan to rob money- changing business manager Ali Yousof Saiboo, 35, in Singapore.

As part of his job, he received local and foreign currencies in cash from his company's couriers when they arrived in Singapore from Malaysia. When the couriers arrived at night, he would temporarily safekeep the monies at either his flat or his father-in-law's home.

In September and October that year, Vekneswaran, Saravanak, Selvam entered Singapore multiple times to meet their accomplices and plan the robbery.

The court heard Annadurai's task was to station himself along Bedok Reservoir Road, near Eunos Link, to look out for Mr Saiboo's car as it passed his location. He would then inform the others.

Vekneswaran, Saravanak, and the remaining accomplices conducted further reconnaissance by tailing Mr Saiboo's car to observe the route taken. Selvam was tasked to drive a car containing their loot out of Singapore.

After months of planning, the group decided to rob Mr Saiboo in early November that year.

Vekneswaran, Saravanak and three of their accomplices took a car together shortly before midnight on Nov 4, 2014. They also maintained contact with two other accomplices over the mobile phone and awaited instructions from them on the arrival of Mr Saiboo's vehicle.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Michelle Lu said: "While awaiting the arrival of the victim's car, the robbers also put on balaclavas, face-masks which they had prepared for the robbery... intending to thereby conceal their faces and identities while they executed the robbery.

"During this time, the robbers also stuck plasters on all of their finger-tips so as not to leave any of their finger-prints on any of the vehicles or at the scene of the intended robbery."

Mr Saiboo left his home with his two-year-old son at around midnight. He drove to Changi Airport to meet his couriers and collected cash totalling $624,036.41 in different currencies.

The robbers sprang into action when they spotted his car at an open-air carpark near his father-in-law's Aljunied Crescent home at around 12.50am.

They used their car to block Mr Saiboo's vehicle. Saravanak then used a crowbar to hit the driver-side window until it shattered. One of the men even threatened to kill the little boy.

Mr Saiboo was dragged out and assaulted. The robbers then took the money which was kept in a luggage bag before fleeing the scene.

The money was later placed in Selvam's car and he drove across the Causeway. The other men also left Singapore within minutes of each other.

DPP Lu said US$30,000 and RM23,645 were recovered from Tachana during his arrest in Malaysia. The remaining amount has not been recovered.

Offenders convicted of gang robbery can be jailed between five and 20 years and receive at least 12 strokes of the cane.