Man involved in viral Chinatown riot during circuit breaker convicted of several offences
SINGAPORE — A 24-year-old man who was involved in a brawl in Chinatown in 2020 that sparked an islandwide manhunt was convicted on Friday (Feb 4) over a string of offences, including rioting and breaching Covid-19 regulations. The incident happened when Singapore was under a circuit breaker that restricted social and economic activities due to the Covid-19 outbreak in April and May that year.
SINGAPORE — A 24-year-old man who was involved in a brawl in Chinatown in 2020 that sparked an islandwide manhunt was convicted on Friday (Feb 4) over a string of offences, including rioting and breaching Covid-19 regulations.
The incident happened when Singapore was under a circuit breaker that restricted social and economic activities due to the Covid-19 outbreak in April and May that year.
Muhammad Syukri Muhammad Iskandar was convicted on two counts of rioting with a deadly weapon, one count of being a member of a secret society and one count of breaching Covid-19 regulations on social gatherings.
He pleaded guilty to the four charges, with another five taken into consideration for sentencing.
Court documents stated that Syukri, a Singaporean, had gathered with four other men at around 3.30am on May 10, 2020 at People’s Park Centre with the intention of causing hurt to another group.
This happened after one of the co-accused, Muhammad Roslan Mohamed Rumli, 29, had mistakenly assumed that his girlfriend was held against her will by members of a rival group.
Roslan had then called Syukri and a few others to accompany him to find his girlfriend at a unit in People’s Park Centre, with the group prepared to retaliate should a fight erupt.
A fight did ensue, with some of the co-accused wielding knives. Syukri armed himself with a helmet at one point in time that night during the altercations.
A video that was circulated online showed what appeared to be closed-circuit television footage of the fight.
Court documents showed that the group had gathered at Roslan’s house before and after the brawl in Chinatown.
Under Singapore’s prevailing circuit breaker rules that year, members of the public were not allowed to gather with non-household members for social purposes.
Syukri and two other co-accused — Noor Najat Alwi, 20, and Muhammad Farid Surian, 20 — are said to be members of the same secret society.
The prosecution sought a jail sentence of 32 months and five weeks, and five strokes of the cane.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Janice See told the court that there was premeditation involved in the offences, seeing how the gang had gathered before the fight.
The riot also caused serious injuries, with one victim found lying in a pool of his own blood when the police arrived at the scene.
Following the incident, Syukri and some others tried to evade capture, such that the police had to issue a public statement and conduct a manhunt to arrest them.
Syukri slept at parks and at a relative’s house for several nights after the riot, until he was arrested on May 18.
Syukri, who appeared in court on Friday without a lawyer representing him, told the judge via a translator that he was very sorry and that he regretted his actions.
He also sought a deferment for eight weeks for any punishment meted out, to see to the schooling arrangements of two of his children.
He is ordered to appear again before the court for sentencing on March 29.
In total, 12 men including Syukri have been charged in relation to the Chinatown riot. Other than Roslan, whose case is still pending before the court, all of the co-accused have been sentenced.