For the crime of smuggling drugs, an Indian-origin Malaysian man has been jailed for life in Singapore along with 24 strokes of the cane.
The man, identified as Saravanan Chandram, pleaded guilty to two charges of importing the drugs found in 10 bundles containing at least 1.38 kilogrammes of cannabis, and at least 3.29 kilogrammes of cannabinol and cannabinol derivative.
The judge passed down a life sentence instead of the mandatory death penalty as the prosecution submitted a certificate to the court stating that Saravanan was only a drug courier and had helped the authorities to disrupt drug trafficking.
Saravanan worked for Aya, a drug syndicate leader in Skudai in the southern Malaysian state of Johor. He worked as his bodyguard and personal driver.
As the Indian-origin Saravanan did not have money for the operation of his son, he borrowed Malaysian Ringgit 4,000 (SGD1,270) from Aya.
When he returned to Johor, he was asked by Aya to repay the money, but he could not do so immediately.
According to the defence submissions, Saravanan’s boss ordered him to deliver 10 packets of a substance. The defence said that Saravanan believed he was delivering 10 packets of tobacco, instead of cannabis.
He rented a car on November 5, 2014 and hid the bundles under the armrest of the rear passenger seat. However, he was caught by the Singapore authorities.
The prosecution said that Saravanan's belief was unfounded when there were clearly suspicious circumstances surrounding the delivery of the drugs.
There were also inconsistencies in his account as he had initially said he was promised SG5,000 for the delivery, but later claimed he was promised Malaysian Ringgit 2,000.