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Orchard Towers fatal brawl: Jail, caning for man who reoffended after murder charge was reduced

SINGAPORE — Tan Hong Sheng, the last of six accused persons whose murder charges were reduced over the high profile Orchard Towers brawl which left a man dead, was sentenced to four years and nine months’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane on Friday (March 5).

Police cordon off the area outside Orchard Towers after Satheesh Noel Gobidass, 31, was found dead in the wee hours of July 2, 2019.

Police cordon off the area outside Orchard Towers after Satheesh Noel Gobidass, 31, was found dead in the wee hours of July 2, 2019.

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  • Tan Hong Sheng did not participate in the attack on Satheesh Noel Gobidass on July 2, 2019
  • He had, however, previously seen the alleged killer, Tan Sen Yang, wielding the purported murder weapon 
  • After his murder charge was reduced, Tan Hong Sheng jumped bail and committed a new rioting offence
  • The sentencing leaves Tan Sen Yang the only person left to be dealt with over the stabbing

 

SINGAPORE — Tan Hong Sheng, one of six accused persons whose murder charges were reduced over the high profile Orchard Towers brawl which left a man dead, was sentenced to four years and nine months’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane on Friday (March 5).

Tan and five others had their charges reduced as they were not involved in causing the death of Satheesh Noel Gobidass, 31, who suffered a fatal stab wound to his neck at the entrance of Orchard Towers on July 2, 2019.

This leaves the alleged killer, Tan Sen Yang, as the only one left to be dealt with. The 28-year-old still faces a capital murder charge over the stabbing. 

Tan Hong Sheng, 23, was part of a group that got into a dispute with Satheesh’s group earlier that morning at the Naughty Girl Club. 

He had pleaded guilty last month to consorting with Tan Sen Yang, who is accused of carrying an offensive weapon — a foldable karambit, which is a small curved knife resembling a claw — at the nightclub.

Tan Hong Sheng had already been arrested twice for rioting at Club V5 Tycoon at Ming Arcade and Club District 9 at Orchard Hotel, and had been out on police bail when he was at Orchard Towers on the morning of the brawl.

After he was hauled to court and eventually got his charge downgraded, he jumped bail and was later handed a fresh rioting charge. He has been in remand since then. 

Aside from the Orchard Towers incident, he pleaded guilty to two unrelated charges of rioting, once while armed with a deadly weapon. 

District Judge Ng Cheng Thiam took into consideration another five similar charges for sentencing.

Four others in the case have already been jailed. The fifth, Chan Jia Xing, 27, was given a year-long conditional warning in October last year. This means he must remain crime-free for 12 months or he can be prosecuted for the original crime.  

The case attracted heated online discussion, leading the Attorney-General’s Chambers to direct the police to investigate claims of preferential racial treatment for the offenders. 

WHAT HAPPENED

The court previously heard that the two Tans knew each other from drinking sessions. 

Shortly before that fateful morning, Tan Hong Sheng had seen the other man, whom he also knew as “Legay Boy”, behaving aggressively while wielding the karambit.

He then told a mutual friend he no longer wanted to join drinking sessions when Tan Sen Yang was present, but the friend nonetheless invited Tan Sen Yang for drinks that morning of July 2.

At about 6.30am, their group got into a dispute with Satheesh's group at the nightclub entrance. Tan Sen Yang swung his knife at everyone gathered there, slashing a security officer on the finger and another man on the face.

Shortly after, Satheesh confronted the group at the entrance of Orchard Towers. 

Tan Hong Sheng noticed Tan Sen Yang punching Satheesh while holding the karambit, before he allegedly slashed the victim around the lower jaw and neck.

Video footage of the incident later went viral on social media. 

Tan Hong Sheng did not join in the attack and pulled Tan Sen Yang away from Satheesh, who walked a few steps before collapsing.

Both Tans and another of the individuals involved, Loo Boon Chong, discussed the altercation at Boon Lay Market later. Tan Sen Yang told the others not to worry as he would take responsibility, then left with Loo.

Loo later discarded Tan Sen Yang’s bloody T-shirt down a common rubbish chute.

For consorting with a person with an offensive weapon, Tan Hong Sheng could have been jailed up to three years and given at least six strokes of the cane.

For rioting, he could have been jailed up to seven years and caned. Rioting with a deadly weapon carries up to 10 years’ jail and caning.

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orchard towers murder crime court

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