SINGAPORE - An unemployed man used a folded cloth belt to hit his two children multiple times and placed an ignited lighter near them after he accused them of lying that they had no information on their mother.
The 33-year-old father of five's relationship with his wife is estranged. He lost contact with her after she left the flat in Boon Lay some time before January last year, a district court heard.
On Friday (June 30), he was sentenced to four months' jail for two counts of ill-treating his 10-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter. He was also jailed for a day and fined $1,000 for stealing $41 worth of cigarettes from a minimart in Boon Lay.
He admitted to the three charges, with four others, including another count of ill-treating the boy, taken into consideration in sentencing.
He cannot be named to protect the identities of his children.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Ong said that on Jan 29 last year, the accused was at home with four of his children when he asked the victims if they had any information about their mother. Both said they did not.
He became angry and believed that they were lying. The children protested that they did not lie.
He then took a cloth belt, folded it in half, held the belt by the metal buckle and used it to hit his son, who was struck on the shoulder. He continued hitting the boy, who was in pain and moved about to dodge the blows. He hit the boy around 10 times all over his body.
He then turned to his daughter and hit her with the cloth belt after questioning her about her mother again. She was hit about five times.
Later, the accused took a lighter and ignited it. He approached his son and held it near his left arm, and asked if he was lying about not having information about his mother. The boy felt the heat from the flame. The man similarly placed the lighter flame near his daughter's hand while asking her about her mother.
When his daughter cried and said she was not lying, he kept the lighter and walked away.
Multiple bruises were found on both children's bodies, with red markings on the 10-year-old's arms and chest area.
The accused stole the cigarettes at 4.13am on April 17 last year.
His jail term will start after the expiry of his current three-year and six-month sentence for taking drugs.
The accused could have been fined up to $4,000 and/or jailed for up to four years on each charge of ill-treating a child which caused the child unnecessary physical pain.
The maximum penalty for theft in dwelling is seven years' jail and a $30,000 fine.