SINGAPORE: A 27-year-old man was sentenced to three years and two weeks’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane on Tuesday (Dec 5) for taking a stranger’s car on a joyride after robbing him of his keys at knifepoint.
Indra Haiqal Azman Ali, who is unemployed, approached Vikesh Ram Tamil Arason, 30, at a taxi stand opposite Lakeside MRT station in the early hours of May 8 this year. Vikesh was standing outside his parked car having a cigarette with two friends when Indra started to shout at the group, demanding the key to Vikesh’s car.
When Vikesh refused to hand over the keys, Indra took out a knife and brandished it at him. It was a Kukri knife, a traditional Nepalese weapon with a curved blade and commonly used by Gurkhas.
Afraid, Vikesh gave up his car keys and Indra sped off in the Honda Civic. He did not have a valid driving licence.
Indra drove the car towards Jurong West Street 24, speeding down the road at 80 to 121km/h where the speed limit was 50km/h. He lost control of the car while negotiating a bend at high speed, driving up the kerb and skidding onto a grass field.
The car flipped sideways and came to a halt at the centre of the field. Indra suffered rib and spinal fractures. The car was badly damaged.
Vikesh and his friends, who had called the police before following Indra in a taxi, arrived at the scene, where they witnessed Indra sitting on the grass after having crawled out of the car.
Before Indra’s joyride, he had stolen two canned drinks from a minimart at Jurong West Street 52 by pulling a canvas cover off the drinks refrigerator and smashing the glass with his Kukri knife.
He helped himself to cans of peach juice and coffee. These were recovered from him at his arrest barely an hour later.
Citing a report from the Institute of Mental Health, Indra’s lawyer said he suffers from stimulant and opioid use disorder. He is unemployed and divorced, and has been doing drugs since he was 15, the lawyer said, urging the court to impose the minimum sentence for robbery, which is three years and 12 strokes of the cane.
Indra had pleaded guilty to five charges: One each for theft, robbery and rash driving as well as two for driving without a licence or insurance.