Singapore jails migrant worker who bit off bystander’s fingertip in drunken brawl

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A bystander who tried to separate two men fighting after a drinking session in Singapore had part of his finger bitten off by one of the brawling pair.

Indian national Thangarasu Rengasamy, 40, was sentenced to 10 months’ jail on Friday after pleading guilty to voluntarily causing grievous hurt by biting the victim’s left index finger.

At the time of the incident, Thangarasu was an excavator operator living at a migrant worker dormitory in Kaki Bukit.

On April 22, he had been drinking alcohol with a friend near their dormitory at a popular spot for foreign workers to socialise.

During the nighttime drinking session, an intoxicated Thangarasu began shouting, prompting another man nearby – Arumugam Sankar, 42 – to voice his displeasure.

As the confrontation escalated, Arumugam approached Thangarasu and slapped him – at which point the victim, electrical engineering technician Nagooran Balasubramanian, 50, stepped in to try to separate the two men.

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But Nagooran soon became caught in the struggle as well and his left index finger “inadvertently entered Thangarasu’s mouth”, according to court documents.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Cai Chenghan said that Thangarasu bit down forcefully on Nagooran’s finger and did not let go, knowing that it would likely badly hurt.

Both men then fell to the ground as Thangarasu continued to bite down on Nagooran’s finger.

Hoping to help Nagooran, Arumugam tried to pull him away from Thangarasu but the man did not loosen his bite on the finger.

It was only after a few seconds had passed that Nagooran was finally able to pull his bleeding finger out from Thangarasu’s mouth.

Thangarasu then fled the scene and returned to his dormitory.

Nagooran went to wash his injured finger, which is when he realised that the top portion – known as the distal phalanx – had been bitten off at the first joint.

With Arumugam’s help, Nagooran managed to bandage his finger, but the severed part could not be found.

Singapore jails migrant worker who bit off bystander’s fingertip in drunken brawl - Informative Updates™
A migrant worker dormitory building in Singapore. Thangarasu Rengasamy was drinking alcohol with a friend near their dorm earlier this year when the brawl broke out. Photo: AFP

Worried that the bleeding would not stop, he called the police for assistance and was later taken to Changi General Hospital, where doctors recorded a partial amputation of the left index finger that would permanently impair its function.

Even though he was advised that surgery was required, Nagooran discharged himself from hospital against medical advice because of the costs involved. He was given a total of 14 days of hospitalisation leave.

Prosecutor Cai said that because of the extent of deliberation and the manner and duration of the attack, 10 to 12 months’ jail would be an appropriate sentence for Thangarasu.

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Thangarasu had caused Nagooran to suffer significant pain and a partial amputation of his finger, likely permanently inconveniencing the victim, Cai said.

For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, Thangarasu could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.

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