Last member of gang in Kallang slashings gets 33 years' jail, caning

Sarawakian Donny Meluda has been in custody since he was brought back to Singapore on Jan 18 last year. His sentencing brings to a close court proceedings against the gang who went on a violent robbery spree in 2010, killing one victim and seriously
Sarawakian Donny Meluda has been in custody since he was brought back to Singapore on Jan 18 last year. His sentencing brings to a close court proceedings against the gang who went on a violent robbery spree in 2010, killing one victim and seriously injuring three others.ST FILE PHOTO

27-year-old fled to Malaysia and was on the run for nearly seven years before he was arrested last year in Sarawak

After being on the run for nearly seven years, the last member of a four-man Sarawakian gang that went on a violent late-night robbery spree in 2010 was sentenced yesterday to 33 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane.

Donny Meluda, 27, who played a supporting role in the Kallang slashings, fled to Johor Baru and remained in West Malaysia until he was arrested in January last year when he travelled to Sarawak.

The sentencing brings to a close court proceedings against the gang who went on the robbery spree between the night of May 29 and the morning of May 30 in 2010, killing one victim, and seriously injuring three others.

Two were convicted of murder - Micheal Garing, 30, who wielded a 58cm-long parang in the robberies, was given the death penalty, while Tony Imba, 40, who spearheaded the attacks, was sentenced to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane in 2015.

Hairee Landak, 28, was sentenced in 2013 to 33 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane for armed robbery with hurt.

Donny, who has been in custody since he was brought back to Singapore on Jan 18 last year, was armed with a detachable tap handle during the spree.

Yesterday, he pleaded guilty to three charges of armed robbery with grievous hurt, with a fourth charge taken into consideration.

On the night of May 29, 2010, the four Sarawakians, who were working here as cleaners, prowled the Sims Drive and Kallang area looking for robbery victims.

They attacked construction worker Sandeep Singh, then 24, at a playground, punching, kicking, slashing and hitting him on the head with a brick.

 
 

The next target was full-time national serviceman Ang Jun Heng, then 19, who had half of his left palm chopped off.

The group then set upon construction worker Egan Karuppaiah, then 43, who had parts of his fingers sliced off.

The fourth victim, construction worker Shanmuganathan Dillidurai, 41, died at the scene after being repeatedly slashed on his head, neck and body. A piece of his scalp and his severed left hand were found near his body.

In 2014, in convicting Micheal and Tony of murder, a High Court judge likened the gang's attacks to a safari hunt.

Yesterday, Donny's lawyer, Mr Siva S. Krishnasamy, said his client had been "unplugged" from his comfort zone of a jungle environment, where hunting for animals was a pastime, and thrust into a modern and fast-paced city.

The lawyer said Donny turned over a new leaf while on the run and has led a transformed life after embracing Islam.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Anandan Bala argued that Donny should not be given credit for staying on the right side of the law while in Malaysia.

"The long period in which the accused had remained at large to escape punishment should be viewed as aggravating as it delayed the conclusion of proceedings and prolonged the closure that the victims and their families needed," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2018, with the headline 'Last member of gang in Kallang slashings gets 33 years' jail, caning'. Print Edition | Subscribe