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'Misunderstanding' over dog led to chopper threat on neighbour

Dog owner says they are still on good terms, regrets incident

Whenever he walked by her flat, he would always ask if her kids had eaten and how they were doing in school.

Though there was the occasional racket in the middle of the night in his home, Ng Siang Hai was by and large a "caring and peaceful" man, said his next-door neighbour, Madam Ranjini.

Except for one day early last year, when, in a fit of anger, the 24-year-old threatened Madam Ranjini's tenant with a chopper during an argument.

That tenant was Mr Subramaniam Muruganantham, 46, a deliveryman.

The argument, over a pet Maltese, escalated into a scuffle between Mr Subramaniam and a knife-wielding Ng.

MISUNDERSTANDING

The incident happened at Block 742, Yishun Avenue 5, in the common corridor between the units.

Ng was charged with criminal intimidation yesterday and sentenced to two weeks' jail.

Both Mr Subramaniam and Madam Ranjini regret how much the incident has spun out of control.

Speaking to The New Paper at her flat yesterday evening, Madam Ranjini blamed it all on a misunderstanding.

The 31-year-old said: "Last year, my husband let our dog keep Ng company as he lives alone.

"But Ng might have thought we were giving it to him."

She claimed she later saw that the dog had been mistreated. She then decided to keep the dog safe in her own home.

For a whole year after that, the dog was in her care. But in January, Ng demanded it back.

The argument then escalated into a fight between Mr Subramaniam and Ng in the common corridor outside their front doors. At one point, Ng returned home to take a chopper.

Mr Subramaniam said: "It was an Indian festival that day.

"I didn't want to ruin the mood so I tried to remain calm with Ng even though he was shouting.

"After the incident, I even tried to withdraw my charge against him because his mother and he came to apologise."

Despite what happened, Ng still asked how Madam Ranjini and her family were doing when he was returning home the other day.

Other residents in the block also described Ng as someone who rarely bothered anyone.

Madam Ranjini said: "It was a one-off incident that exploded to much more than what it should have been.

"We feel regretful that Ng had to be sentenced."


Last year, my husband let our dog keep Ng company as he lives alone but Ng might have thought we were giving it to him. 

- Mrs Ranjin

What happened

He approached his next-door neighbour's flat to get back the dog he believed was given to him.

Ng Siang Hai asked Mr Subramaniam's nephew if he could see the dog.

Mr Subramaniam then came out of his unit and confronted Ng, asking why he wanted to see the dog.

He refused to hand the dog over and the two started arguing before scuffling with each other.

At one point, Ng went to his own flat and emerged, raising a chopper towards Mr Subramaniam.

A witness and friend of Ng's then took the chopper from his grasp.

Mr Subramaniam and Ng continued their argument at the nearby lift landing, where it escalated into a physical fight.

The police arrived and arrested Ng.

Last year, my husband let our dog keep Ng company as he lives alone but Ng might have thought we were giving it to him.

- Mrs Ranjini