Migrant worker jailed 6 months after nearly biting colleague’s finger over water dispute

SINGAPORE – After getting drunk, Rengasamy Karalmarx recalled a dispute a month earlier, when his fellow migrant worker inadvertently splashed him while emptying a water bottle.

Rengasamy then confronted the other man and attacked him, biting his ring finger so hard that he was almost amputated.

On Thursday (December 23), the 30-year-old Indian national was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to willfully causing injuries, which in turn caused serious injuries to Mr. Krishnan Karthikeyan, 35.

The two workers were staying at Cochrane Lodge 1 dormitory at 51 Admiralty Road West in Woodlands earlier this year when the first incident took place, the court heard.

On August 4, Mr. Krishnan emptied his water bottle because he wanted to fill it with fresh water. He threw the water from the third level where he was.

When a party splashed onto the second level where Rengasamy was standing, Rengasamy went up to confront Mr. Krishnan and they argued, but they did not fight physically.

About a month later, on the evening of September 5, Rengasamy got drunk after drinking three cans of beer.

As he stood outside his bedroom on the second floor and waited for his friend, he felt water pour over him from above. He then remembered the previous incident and decided to confront Mr. Krishnan again.

The victim was on the phone with his family in his room when Rengasamy approached him and punched him in the nose, causing him to bleed. Rengasamy then pushed him to the ground and continued to punch him several times, as well as biting his right ring finger.

Blood gushed from the finger before Rengasamy bit Mr. Krishnan’s thigh as well. Mr. Krishnan bit Rengasamy’s thigh in response, the court further heard.

Other residents of the dormitory intervened and pushed Rengasamy away. The police were then called.

Mr. Krishnan went to Khoo Teck Huat Hospital that evening to receive medical treatment. He was given 14 days of hospital leave after being diagnosed with a minor head injury, finger fracture and bite.

In another medical report, a doctor said the finger injury was a “near amputation”.

Mr. Krishnan’s employer paid his medical expenses in the amount of S $ 3,882.

Deputy Prosecutor Chong Ee Hsiun requested a six to eight month prison term for Rengasamy, calling the attack “vicious and unprovoked.”

Those found guilty of willfully causing serious bodily harm can be sentenced to imprisonment for up to five years or a fine of up to S $ 10,000, or both.

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