SINGAPORE: The first of 17 men embroiled in the Kaki Bukit dormitory rioting incident in March has been sentenced to two weeks' imprisonment for using criminal force.
25-year-old Dharmaraj Ramesh is convicted of using criminal force on Ahsan Habib Md Fazlan Rahman by throwing an empty beer can at him on March 5 at about 11.15pm, at the canteen of Homestay Residences in Kaki Bukit Avenue 3.
That night, Dharmaraj and four friends were drinking beer in the canteen, where a large group of Bangladeshi workers were watching a cricket match.
Dharmaraj and his friends were leaving the canteen and while passing the group of Bangladeshi workers, he somehow became irritated with the noises they made. So the accused threw one empty beer can towards one of them.
The act sparked confrontations and later snowballed into a brawl.
In mitigation, Dharmaraj told the court through his interpreter that he regretted his actions and pleaded for leniency.
Prosecutor Winston Man said in his submissions that it was a minor offence in this case. He noted that the accused has been in remand for more than two weeks.
However, District Judge Lee Poh Choo stressed that "a signal must be sent to foreign workers living in dormitories" in Singapore.
She said this is especially so when they come from different countries and "must live harmoniously" together. The judge added that the thuggish behaviour in dormitories are unacceptable.
Dharmaraj is the first of 17 men implicated in the case to be convicted and sentenced.
One of the 17 has been discharged, leaving the cases of 15 accused to be heard. - CNA/ac
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