Singapore: Man slashes cook after demanding free roti prata, gets jail

MICHELLE DOR WRITES — An unemployed 45-year old man in Singapore by the name of Joseph Murugan allegedly attempted to steal free roti, a native Indian dish, by knifing a store clerk.

Assisted by two others, Murugan slashed the chef with a knife after he was turned down, leaving a four-centimeter wound on the chef’s head. The chef was hospitalized, while the three men were arrested.  Murugan was sentenced on Friday, February 8, to 10 months and two weeks in jail, plus a $3,000 fine.

Murugan and his two friends frequently tried to steal from Habib’s Express. And they were frequently somewhat violent. Particularly, on July 29 of last year, Murugan began breaking dishes after ordering roti and refused to pay. In what can only be described as a tense buildup, the attacker went to and from the restaurant four times that day, eventually returning with a 19.5-centimeter long knife, slashing the chef on the left side of his head. A blood sample showed that Murugan was intoxicated at the time. Last year, this same man called the police, stating “I want police to arrest me. I got an alcohol problem.”

Consequently, he pleaded guilty to five charges, including voluntarily causing harm with a weapon, possessing a weapon, using insulting words, mischief, and theft. The court also discovered that Murugan had been arrested for stealing a bottle of water from a 7-Eleven store last year. His two accomplices’ cases are still pending before the courts.

This occurrence was especially shocking, considering Singapore’s extremely low crime rate. An article by CNBC states, “Singapore’s crime rate is so low that many shops don’t even lock up, many shops don’t have windows, locks – or even doors.”

Perhaps Singapore should see this incidence of violence as a lesson of sorts; it has a growing population of alcohol abusers. While the nation prospers, it must not overlook those individuals who have fallen behind. Alcohol abuse can lead to far worse crimes than stolen roti prata.

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