Last of nine robbers in 2014 heist of over $600,000 gets 7 years’ jail and 12 strokes
After robbing the manager of a money-changing business of over $600,000 with a group of men in 2014, Sivaraam Monion fled to Malaysia.
He was arrested by Malaysian authorities on July 6, 2022. On Tuesday, the 36-year-old Malaysian became the last of nine men to be sentenced for the crime when he was given seven years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane.
Sivaraam had pleaded guilty in a district court to a gang-robbery charge, with another charge taken into consideration during sentencing.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheldon Lim said Sivaraam borrowed RM10,000 (S$3,000) from one of the accomplices, Tachana Moorthy Peromal, in 2014 to alleviate his financial difficulties, but he eventually could not repay his debt.
In April 2014, Tachana and another man planned to rob couriers from a money-changing business of the cash they were transporting. Sivaraam agreed to join them after Tachana promised to waive his debt.
Members of the group entered Singapore on multiple occasions to conduct reconnaissance and plan the robbery. In October 2014, as instructed by Tachana, Sivaraam and two others stole a Singapore-registered Proton Wira car to use during the robbery.
On Nov 4, 2014, they wore balaclavas to conceal their faces during the robbery and also placed plasters on their fingertips so as not to leave traces of their fingerprints behind.
The manager of the money-changing business, a 35-year-old male Singapore permanent resident, left home with his two-year-old son around midnight on Nov 4 and drove to Changi Airport to pick up money from two couriers.
A bag containing more than $624,000 in various currencies as well as two phones was placed in the boot of the car, and the manager dropped the couriers at their homes in Bedok.
He was on his way to the home of his father-in-law, who was the director of the business, to store the cash when the robbers ambushed him at an open-air carpark around 12.50am on Nov 5.
After he reversed his vehicle into a parking space, one of the robbers drove up and blocked his car.
The terrified victim locked the car doors, but one robber broke a window on the driver’s side and the group shouted at him to exit his vehicle. One of them threatened the victim in Tamil: “You want me to kill your son?”
The victim was dragged out of the car, punched and restrained as his son remained in the front passenger seat. The robbers then grabbed the bag containing the bag containing the money and fled.
A witness from a nearby block of flats saw the heist and alerted the police.
The robbers fled to Malaysia but were arrested over several years, with the first in November 2014.
On Tuesday, Judge Luke Tan rejected Sivaraam’s lawyer’s request for a lower sentence for his client on the basis of lower culpability.
Six of the other eight robbers had been given seven years’ and 12 strokes. Agreeing with the prosecution’s call for the same sentence to be meted out to Sivaraam, Judge Tan also noted the duration it took for Sivaraam to be arrested meant it was hardly a case of him showing remorse.
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