Migrant worker jailed 6 months for punching fellow dorm resident, biting his finger

After drinking three cans of beer, a migrant worker punched a fellow dormitory resident in the face and bit his finger, causing it to fracture.

The pair grappled on the ground and bit at each other’s thighs before other residents at the dormitory in Sembawang came to stop the fight.

Indian national Rengasamy Karalmarx, 30, pleaded guilty on Thursday (Dec 23) to one charge of voluntarily causing hurt and was handed a jail sentence of six months.

Tensions brewed between the pair on the evening of Aug 4 when the victim, Mr Krishnan Karthikeyan, 35, emptied his water bottle from the third floor of 51 Cochrane Lodge 1 so he could refill it.

The water splashed on Rengasamy who was standing one floor below, and he rushed up to confront Krishnan. They argued but did not fight, Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Ee Hsiun told the court.

On the night of Sept 5, when Rengasamy was drunk after drinking three cans of beer outside his room, he felt water dripping on him from the third floor again.

He recalled the previous month’s incident and headed upstairs to confront Krishnan.

He saw him on the phone talking to his family. He then punched him in the nose and shoved him to the floor, hurting Krishnan’s head.

While Krishnan was down, Rengasamy hurled multiple punches at him and bit his ring finger, causing blood to spurt out, said DPP Chong.

On the ground, the pair bit at each other’s thighs while Rengasamy continued to punch Krishnan, until fellow residents came to pull them apart.

A police report was made shortly after and Krishnan was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. He was given 14 days’ hospital leave after suffering a fracture on his finger, a minor head injury and a human bite wound.

His medical bill came to some $3,880 and was covered by his employer, said the prosecution, who sought a jail term of six to eight months for Rengasamy.

DPP Chong said: “His culpability is high given the attack was vicious and unprovoked. It was merely fortuitous that there was not a more serious injury caused to the victim’s head.”

He added that the man was voluntarily intoxicated, which was an aggravating factor in this case.

Rengasamy said through a Tamil interpreter while in remand that he was sorry and pleaded for leniency. His sentence was backdated to Dec 10, the date of his remand.

For voluntarily causing hurt, he could have faced a maximum sentence of five years’ jail and a fine of $10,000.

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