Jail for thief who hit cabby victim

Project manager Sakthi Velan Elangovan punched a taxi driver when the elderly man confronted him about $200 that went missing from his cab.
Project manager Sakthi Velan Elangovan punched a taxi driver when the elderly man confronted him about $200 that went missing from his cab.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

While out on bail, he joined in a group attack on a stranger outside night club

A taxi passenger stole $200 from an elderly cabby and then assaulted the 73-year-old man in October.

While out on bail less than a month later, the youth joined a group of strangers who were attacking another stranger, and kicked the victim twice in the incident outside a night club.

Yesterday, project manager Sakthi Velan Elangovan, 22, was sentenced to 15 months and three weeks' jail after pleading guilty to theft, causing hurt and rioting.

At around 7am on Oct 22, he boarded a taxi and told driver Poo Ah Soon that he wanted to go to Parc Vera condominium in Hougang Street 32.

When they reached his destination, he told Mr Poo that he had no cash.

Sakthi then passed him a discount card from a store, claiming it was an ez-link card and that it could be used to pay the undisclosed fare.

Believing him, Mr Poo alighted and approached a nearby cabby for help as his own vehicle did not support payment by that card.

While Mr Poo was talking to the other driver, Sakthi opened a compartment in the taxi and stole $200 in cash.

Mr Poo noticed the money missing when he returned.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Jeyaraj said: "He confronted the accused and recovered $150 from the accused's left pocket. The victim then took out his phone to take a photo of the accused."

In response, the accused used his right fist to punch Mr Poo on his chin, leaving the victim with a bruise.

The police were notified of the incident and officers later recovered the remaining $50 from Sakthi.

Nineteen days after the incident, Sakthi was released on bail and went to St James Power Station, where he spotted four people, including two Club Hollywood bouncers, raining blows on Mr Chue Eng Hwee, 26.

Sakthi, who was drunk, joined in the melee and kicked Mr Chue twice.

DPP Joshua told District Judge Kamala Ponnampalam yesterday that the cases involving the bouncers are still pending. He also urged the court to jail Sakthi for 17 months, stressing that Mr Poo was a vulnerable victim.

Defence lawyer Sherrie Han pleaded for not more than 14 months' jail for Sakthi.

She told Judge Kamala that her client is very remorseful and Mr Poo suffered only minor bruising to his face.

Sakthi is now out on bail of $15,000 as the court has allowed him leave to settle work matters. He has to surrender himself to the State Courts on July 18.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2017, with the headline 'Jail for thief who hit cabby victim'. Print Edition | Subscribe