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No free roti prata, so man slashes food stall cook with knife

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SINGAPORE — Angry that he was denied free roti prata from a stall he usually visited to ask for free food, 45-year-old Murugan Joseph slashed the stall’s cook with a knife.

The court heard on Friday (Feb 😎 that Murugan had been drinking then, as well as on another occasion last year when he threatened, abused and insulted a police officer.

For these two offences and another incident, Murugan was sentenced to 10 months and two weeks' jail, six strokes of the cane and fined S$3,000.

The court heard that Murugan and his two friends, 58-year-old Balachandran Kothandapani and Farizal Rahmat, 36, would regularly ask for free food at Habib’s Express, an Indian food stall located at Block 710 Clementi West Street 2.

However, on July 29 last year, Murugan and Balachandran were told by Mr Louis Thiraviaraj, Habib’s Express’ senior supervisor, to pay for the roti prata that they had ordered.

Infuriated, the duo confronted Mr Thiraviaraj, threw some plates on the floor and left.

A few minutes later, Murugan returned with Farizal and demanded free food again, to no avail.

After a second confrontation, they left and returned with Balachandran 10 minutes later. As the trio made another attempt to get free food, the stall’s cook, Mr Revi Jose Vibin, intervened.

As Murugan and Farizal confronted Mr Revi, Balachandran left the scene and returned with a knife. Murugan then slashed the cook on the head with the knife, resulting in a 4cm-long laceration.

The victim was subsequently warded at the National University Hospital for two days.

Murugan also had a brush with the law 10 days before the incident at Habib’s Express when he threatened and used abusive language on a police officer.

He got drunk at a coffeeshop near his residence at Ghim Moh, returned home and made a phone call to the police at about 12.30am. He told the police: "I want (the) police to arrest me. I got alcohol problem."

He repeatedly asked to be arrested and hurled vulgarities at one of the two police officers who turned up at his unit. He threatened the officer and said: “You want me to take the knife or not? Either arrest me or I take knife. I got beat policeman before.”

In the third incident that occurred on Feb 6 last year at 1.30am, Murugan was unhappy that a cashier at a 7-Eleven store located at West Coast Drive refused to sell him beer after the permitted hours.

Grabbing a pen from the counter, he pointed it at the cashier and then smashed a bottle of bird’s nest drink on the floor.

While waiting for the police to arrive, Murugan also stole a bottle of mineral water.

The cases for Balachandran and Farizal are pending. 



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