Money changer robbery: Two more convicted

Annadurai (top) and Tachana (above) were part of the gang of eight robbers.
Annadurai (above) and Tachana were part of the gang of eight robbers.
Annadurai (top) and Tachana (above) were part of the gang of eight robbers.
Annadurai and Tachana (above) were part of the gang of eight robbers.

Both get jail and caning for involvement in $624,000 heist

Two men who helped plot the violent gang robbery of a money changer's son-in-law were jailed and ordered to be caned yesterday.

The victim had his two-year-old son with him when he was pulled from his car and robbed of $624,036 on Nov 5, 2014.

Singapore permanent resident Annadurai Raman, 43, and Malaysian Tachana Moorthy Peromal, 29, are the second and third men to be convicted of the crime committed in the carpark of Block 110 Aljunied Crescent.

Last month, Ravi Sandhira Sagaran, 28, who carried out the actual robbery with four other Malaysians, was given seven years' jail and the minimum 12 strokes of the cane. The other four are at large.

Annadurai was yesterday given the same sentence, while Tachana, one of the masterminds, got nine years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane.

In sentencing them, District Judge Low Wee Ping said the gang robbery was an "audacious and brazen'' act committed by no fewer than eight persons. "The operation was carried out with military precision,'' he said.

Lawyers for the accused pointed out that their clients had not participated in the robbery, but Judge Low said the crime had entailed planning and needed logistical support, surveillance and disposal of evidence.

"This court does not accept that because these two accused did not participate in the execution of the robbery, they were less culpable than those who did,'' he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Soo Tet said the victim, Mr Ali Yousouf Saiboo, 37, worked for his father-in-law's money changing business at The Arcade.

The company employs couriers to deliver bundles of foreign and Singapore currencies back and forth to customers in Malaysia.

The plan for the robbery was hatched by Tachana and a few others around June 2014. He contacted Annadurai, who agreed to help. The other accomplices were recruited at various times. Between September and October, members of the gang travelled to Singapore to discuss the plan. Annadurai's job was to tail the victim and observe his usual route.

The robbers had intended to rob Mr Saiboo at Geylang East Central, but he decided to take the currencies collected from Changi Airport in a suitcase to his father-in-law's home instead. Five masked men blocked his car with their stolen Proton Wira at the Aljunied Crescent carpark sometime around 12.50am on Nov 5 that year.

Mr Saiboo activated the door locks when he saw the five alighting from their car, but one of them hit the window on his side repeatedly with a crowbar until it shattered. One threatened to kill his son.

Mr Saiboo was dragged from his car and punched. The robbers then removed the two suitcases from the boot. One of them kicked Mr Saiboo in the stomach before leaving.

Annadurai was arrested three days later, while Tachana and Ravi were arrested in Malaysia on Nov 12 that year. The maximum punishment for gang robbery is 20 years' jail and caning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2016, with the headline 'Money changer robbery: Two more convicted'. Print Edition | Subscribe