Over 2 years' jail for man who restrained victim for his friends to slash and beat

SINGAPORE - A group of friends drinking at a nightclub hurled glass cups, bottles and beer towers at some patrons they thought were staring at them, causing panic among the other customers.

Outside the nightclub later, the attackers restrained a man and assaulted him with a knife and a baton, resulting in severe gashes on his head and body.

One of the accused, Ashley Koh Hui Cong, 29, who prevented the victim from escaping, was on Monday (May 23) jailed for two years, two weeks and 116 days.

Koh, who appeared in court via video link, earlier pleaded guilty to offences including voluntarily causing hurt by means of a weapon with common intention.

He had committed the offences during a remission order. Another six charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

The court was told that Koh and his three friends - How Jia Hao, 24, Calvin Goh Siang Howe, 29, and Marcus Yeo Zhen Wei, 31 - were drinking at Club Secret at Clarke Quay on the night of March 21, 2021.

They got into an argument with patrons sitting nearby who they thought were staring at them. They then threw objects, including glass cups, beer towers and bottles, at the patrons.

This alarmed other customers at the club, who dispersed to avoid being hit by the items thrown, said Deputy Public Prosecutors Chee Ee Ling and Sheldon Lim, adding that in the ruckus, an unknown patron was punched by Koh.

When the group was asked to leave, How and Goh proceeded to their cars to retrieve weapons - How grabbed a baton while Goh armed himself with a 30cm knife.

They regrouped with their two friends outside the club when they saw two men - Vietnamese nationals Nguyen Ngoc Quy, 25, and Phan Van Son, 28 - walking away from the club.

How thought Mr Nguyen and Mr Phan had intimidated them as they walked off by showing "furious and agitated body language", and he decided to attack them to protect himself, said the prosecution.

How struck Mr Phan's head with his baton, prompting the others to attack. Mr Nguyen was slashed, beaten and punched by the group as Koh grabbed him to prevent him from fleeing.

The DPPs said: "The accused persons attacked the victim continuously for 11 seconds. The assault on the victim only stopped when the victim managed to slip out of the accused's grasp and ran away."

The attack was captured on nearby security cameras and Koh was arrested on March 26, 2021.

Mr Nguyen had long gashes on the back of his head and body, and a collapsed lung. He was given 37 days' medical leave, but appealed to the doctor to reduce it to 21 days as he was unable to fund his stay in Singapore and needed to work despite not having fully recovered.

The DPPs said the attack was unprovoked and took place in public before a crowd of stunned onlookers.

"(Koh) played a crucial role in this - he firmly grabbed the victim's arms and shirt to prevent the victim from escaping, thereby prolonging the duration of the assault," they said.

Koh committed the offence under a remission order, they added, and referred to his history of violent offences since 2005 - including rioting, drug abuse and assaulting a public servant - for which he was earlier jailed.

The judge backdated his jail term to account for his arrest last year and called for a compensation order of $1,100, which was not paid.

How and Goh were earlier jailed, while Yeo has yet to be dealt with in court.

For voluntarily causing hurt by a dangerous weapon, offenders can be jailed for up to seven years, fined and caned.

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