A 39-year-old Indonesian man was yesterday sentenced to 12 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane for a brazen and violent robbery that shocked a lunchtime crowd in the heart of the financial district more than a year ago.
Arun, who goes by only one name, was detained by passers-by after stabbing Mr Kang Tie Tie, 37, a courier for money changers, outside the Raffles Place MRT station.
He had tried to run off with Mr Kang's bag containing nearly $800,000.
More than 20 calls were made to the police shortly after the incident at about 1pm on Nov 14, 2014, the High Court heard.
Yesterday, Arun, who is small-built, balding and bespectacled, pleaded guilty to armed robbery with hurt. He spoke through a Mandarin interpreter.
The court heard that he had come to Singapore from Batam on the night of Nov 13 and stayed at the Festive Hotel at Resorts World Sentosa with a friend.
The next morning, he bought a knife from a hardware shop in Tiong Bahru. He wrapped it with newspaper and carried it in a plastic bag.
He then went to The Arcade in Collyer Quay in search of a target to rob. He knew, from previous visits, that there were many banks and money changers in the building.
Walking around the building, he decided to rob Mr Kang - also an Indonesian - after seeing him handling stacks of money.
Arun followed him inside the building for 10 minutes as the courier made his rounds.
After exiting the building, Arun took out his knife, approached Mr Kang from behind and stabbed him repeatedly, in quick succession, on the right side of his body and right arm.
He then snatched Mr Kang's sling bag and ran in the direction of Chulia Street, with the victim shouting for help and chasing after him.
Four clips of the incident, taken from surveillance footage, were played in court yesterday.
Three eyewitnesses took steps to ensure that the knife and other items which were on the ground remained undisturbed in their original positions.
Passers-by helped Mr Kang as he scuffled with Arun near UOB Plaza 1 after catching up with him.
Two of them pinned Arun down until the police arrived, while a third attended to Mr Kang, who was bleeding profusely.
Mr Kang was discharged from hospital three days later. He was given 23 days' hospitalisation leave and 19 days' outpatient medical leave.
The stabs severed one of the main nerves in his right arm, leaving him with a claw deformity and no sensation in his ring and little fingers.
Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Charlene Tay Chia sought a deterrent sentence to send a message that gratuitous violence and brazen attacks to deprive victims of their property will not be tolerated.
"By committing such a heinous offence in the heart of Singapore's CBD and in full public view, the accused has shaken the collective sense of safety and security we pride ourselves in," said the DPP.
Arun's lawyer, Mr S. Balamurugan, said his client regrets his "stupid, senseless and cruel" acts and would like to apologise to the victim. Mr Balamurugan said Arun had come to Singapore not to rob but to buy medication. He said his client felt emasculated by his domineering wife and decided to prove that he could "make it in life".
Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng agreed with the prosecution that a severe sentence was warranted. She noted that the offence was premeditated and, instead of just threatening the victim with the knife, Arun had stabbed him from behind.