Teen gets 8 years, 24 strokes
Judge sentences teen re-offender to eight years' jail and caning for various offences
He yanked a youth he had just met to an alley and challenged him to a fight.
When Mr Kelvin Gan Teck Xiang, 18, did not respond, Jeron Liew Wei Jie punched him twice in the face, causing him to fall backwards.
Even as Mr Gan lay unconscious after hitting his head on the ground, Liew continued to hit and kick him.
Mr Gan, a Malaysian studying at ITE College West, died in hospital five days later.
District Judge Lim Keng Yeow yesterday described the unprovoked attack as "being among the most serious" involving youthful offenders dealt with by the State Courts in recent years.
Liew, 19, was also convicted for robbery with hurt and drug use.
He was sentenced to a total of eight and a half years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane.
Liew, who stood expressionless in the dock, had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt (VCGH) for the attack near Parklane Mall in Selegie Road at around 2.45am on May 24 last year.
Judge Lim said: "It can hardly be disputed that, given the manner of commission and the consequential death of the victim, the case comes close to being among the worst of VCGH (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) offences."
Despite Liew's young age, the judge said that sentencing him to reformative training - a sentence of 18 months to three years in a reformative training centre with a strict regimen including foot drills and counselling - would not sufficiently reflect the gravity of his offence, which resulted in death.
Listing several aggravating factors, Judge Lim said: "There was virtually no provocation by the victim and the offender had persisted in his brutish violence in the absence of any retaliation by the victim.
"In fact, even after the victim had fallen to the ground unconscious, the offender remained unrelenting in his aggression."
Stressing that the sentence had to reflect society's utter abhorrence of Liew's actions, the judge added: "A family came to lose a son irretrievably and under the most senseless of circumstances.
"The court is acutely aware that no words will be sufficient to describe the grief and pain that the victim's family has borne for more than a year... (and) may continue for some time, in spite of today's outcome."
Liew had also pleaded guilty to two other offences committed last year - robbery with hurt, for which he received the minimum sentence of five years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane, and drug consumption, for which he was jailed for six months.
As the robbery sentence is to run concurrently with his VCGH sentence, he only has to serve the six months for the drug offence.
Judge Lim also took into account Liew's violence-related antecedents and the fact that his attack on Mr Gan and two offences for possession of weapons (taken into consideration for sentencing) were committed while he was on bail for the robbery charge.
For offences committed in 2011, he was sent to a juvenile home, and was later jailed twice for violence and public-order offences.
Judge Lim also noted that Liew committed the robbery with hurt offence less than six months after his last conviction and week-long jail term.
He said: "When the current spate of offences are viewed in light of their chronology and the antecedents, there are clear indications of a worrying level of recalcitrance and propensity for re-offending.
"The prospect of already facing serious consequences did nothing to sober him or restrain him."
Liew's crimes began in April 2011, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Shi told The New Paper yesterday. They include unlawful assembly, housebreaking, theft in dwelling, attempted cheating, voluntarily causing hurt, and affray.
After his case ended, Liew gave a slight smile and shrugged his shoulders at another accused in an unrelated case, who was seated in the dock.
For VCGH, Liew could have been jailed for up to 10 years, caned and fined.
Correction note: In an earlier version, we reported Jeron Liew Wei Jie was jailed eight years and given 24 strokes of the cane for attacking Mr Kelvin Gan Teck Xiang, 18. This is incorrect. The correct sentence was 8½ years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane and this was also for two other offences Liew had committed – robbery with hurt, and drug use.
He also robbed foreign worker, took drugs
Jeron Liew Wei Jie's 2015 crime spree started on Jan 16.
After plotting with two accomplices to rob foreign workers, he found a target in Mr Balasubramaniam Sureshkumar, a 29-year-old lorry driver from India, that day.
At around 12.30am on a pathway near a canal at Upper Jurong Road, the group waylaid their victim and covered his mouth while punching his head and stomach.
They escaped with two mobile phones worth a total of $370.
On Feb 6, Liew was arrested for drug consumption in a flat in Jurong West Street 81.
His urine sample was later found to contain methamphetamine, better known by its street name, Ice.
Court documents revealed that Liew had consumed Ice using a modified bong.
On May 24, his fatal attack on Mr Kelvin Gan Teck Xiang took place.
Liew and Mr Gan had been drinking separately at a nightclub in Selegie Road earlier that night.
When he was going for supper nearby, Liew ran into Mr Gan's group, one of whom was someone he knew.
While chatting with the group, Liew felt that Mr Gan was boasting about having gang affiliations.
He challenged Mr Gan to a fight, but the latter declined.
When Mr Gan walked away to make a phone call, Liew mistakenly thought that he was calling for "backup".
He grabbed Mr Gan by the collar and yanked him to an alley, where he again challenged Mr Gan to a fight before punching him twice.
After Mr Gan blacked out, Liew slapped his face twice to try to wake him.
Angry by the lack of response, he slammed Mr Gan's head on the kerband kicked his face twice.
The assault stopped only after Mr Gan's friends pulled Liew away.
Liew then went for supper.
Mr Gan had surgery for his head injury at the Singapore General Hospital. Due to the extent of his neurological damage, his family decided to withdraw care and he died on May 29.
The cause of death was certified as pneumonia following head injury.
Rise in number of young offenders
More young people are getting arrested for breaking the law.
Last year, there were 3,121 offenders aged between seven and 19, compared with 3,031 in 2013 and 3,120 in 2014.
The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) said on its website that the most common crime was shop theft.
Young offenders were also involved in violent crimes such as rioting, extortion and unlawful assembly.
The NCPC added that most problem youngsters lived in homes lacking in parental guidance, and they usually underachieved in school and had low self-esteem.
TOP THREE OFFENCES COMMITTED BY YOUNG PEOPLE
Shop theft: 791
Other thefts*: 267
Total arrested: 3,031
Shop theft: 803
Other thefts*: 232
Total arrested: 3,120
Shop theft: 838
Wilful trespass: 196
Other thefts*: 184
Total arrested: 3,121
*Refers to thefts not including theft of bicycles, theft from motor vehicles and theft from persons.
Source: Singapore Police Force