SINGAPORE - A clash involving young members of two rival gangs ended with a 16-year-old slashing a teenager, also 16, with a karambit - a curved knife resembling a claw - permanently disfiguring his face.
Of the eight who turned up that day, seven are aged between 15 and 18 years old. One is an adult aged 29.
On Tuesday (Nov 23), the 16-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty to seven charges, including voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous means and involvement in an unlawful society.
Another 10 charges - two for sex with a minor - were taken into consideration.
The teenager cannot be named under the Children and Young Persons Act as he is 16 years old.
Court documents showed that sometime in April 2020, the teenager was approached by one "Fred" who introduced himself as the "headman" of a gang.
Fred then recruited the teen to be a fighter for an unlawful secret society which operated in the vicinity of Block 143 Teck Whye Lane.
While he was a gang member, the teen sought to take revenge on members of a rival gang who had previously assaulted him.
He contacted several people he believed were members of the rival gang and arranged to meet them at a playground near Block 106 Jalan Bukit Merah at 11.30pm on June 11 this year.
He also rounded up four male friends - three aged between 15 and 18, and the 29-year-old - to be there with him.
One of them, a 17-year-old, handed him the karambit after the teen shared plans to hurt some of the members of the rival gang.
When they met at a nearby pavilion, the teen punched a 15-year-old boy in the face after he confirmed that he was a member of the rival group.
With knife in hand, the teen chased the 15-year-old, who approached a member of the public at a nearby coffee shop to call the police and an ambulance and waited there till they arrived.
The teen then returned to the pavilion and attacked the other youngsters there.
He swung the karambit at a boy's face and punched and kicked another youngster. The four members of the rival gang comprised three boys aged 15, and a 16-year-old.
The police arrived shortly after and the teen fled the playground but was arrested the next day.
The boy who was slashed was taken by ambulance to the National University Hospital, where he had surgery. He had sustained a deep cut from the left upper cheek to behind his ear and an abrasion on his shoulder.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Benedict Chan said his facial scar was assessed to be a permanent disfiguration.
Court documents showed that the teen had been involved in numerous fights and was part of an unlawful assembly on another occasion while armed with a 22cm knife.
District Judge Kessler Soh agreed with the prosecution that probation was not an appropriate sentence and called for a report to assess his suitability for reformative training.
Offenders in reformative training are detained in a centre and made to follow a strict regimen that includes foot drills and counselling.
The teen is due back in court for sentencing on Dec 14.