Singaporean man who jumped into Rochor Canal after drunkenly harassing churchgoers gets jail, fine

Rajendran Prakash, 27, (left) pictured in the Rochor Canal with a police officer who was rescuing him after he drunkenly harassed churchgoers then jumped in the canal. He later verbally abused police, the court heard. — Screen capture via TODAY
Rajendran Prakash, 27, (left) pictured in the Rochor Canal with a police officer who was rescuing him after he drunkenly harassed churchgoers then jumped in the canal. He later verbally abused police, the court heard. — Screen capture via TODAY

SINGAPORE, Sept 4 — In a video that went viral on social media, Rajendran Prakash jumped into the Rochor Canal last year after drunkenly harassing members of a church along Ophir Road.

For his actions, the 27-year-old maintenance worker was sentenced to five days’ jail, as well as a fine of S$2,500 (RM7,568), yesterday.

He pleaded guilty to being intoxicated in a public place and using abusive words towards a police officer, with another charge considered for sentencing.

The court heard that Rajendran, an Indian national, went to the Bugis area on September 29 last year. He bought and drank alcohol there as he said he had just received his salary.

At about 1pm, retiree Eu Seng Kee was praying at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes when he heard a commotion.

He then saw Rajendran touching and embracing a female churchgoer. Rajendran rubbed her arm too.

Noticing that she appeared uneasy and frightened, Eu advised her to move away. But Rajendran continued following her and behaving in a rowdy manner.

Another person in the church, Gladiston Joseph then came forward to intervene, observing that Rajendran smelt strongly of alcohol.

However, Rajendran slapped him in the face. Gladiston then pinned him to the ground, but released him later and told him to behave himself.

Gladiston also told the church priest to call the police.

According to a previous TODAY report, Rajendran subsequently jumped into the Rochor Canal.

In the viral video, a police officer could be seen holding on to him by the arm in the canal, while another officer rushed to retrieve a nearby life buoy.

After getting him out, the two officers escorted him to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He was uncooperative and behaved aggressively, hurling vulgarities at the officers and giving them the middle finger.

In mitigation, defence lawyer John Koh told the court that Rajendran was facing difficulties as a worker in a foreign land, and has stopped drinking since the incident.

“He was facing immense pressure to perform at work which eventually led to a tremendous amount of stress and pressure. His sole motive in Singapore was to work in view of making more money for his family in his home country,” said Koh, who took the case pro bono.

For being drunk in a public place, Rajendran could have been jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$1,000, or both.

For using abusive words towards a public servant, he could have been jailed for up to a year, fined a maximum of S$5,000, or both. — TODAY

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