In response to media queries - Facts of the case of Nagaenthran A/L K Dharmalingam

27 Apr 2022

1. Nagaenthran was arrested at Woodlands Checkpoint on 22 April 2009 as he was entering Singapore from Malaysia. He was bringing in nearly half a kilo of a powdery substance which contained at least 42 grammes of pure heroin. That is enough to feed the addiction of 510 drug abusers for a week.

2. Nagaenthran was convicted and sentenced on 22 November 2010.

3. Nagaenthran appealed against his conviction and sentence, and the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal on 27 July 2011.

4. After that, Nagaenthran made a total of seven applications (not including appeals), from February 2015 to this week. All his applications and appeals were unsuccessful. 

5. The Courts have found, among others, that:

  (i) Nagaenthran knew what he was doing; and that he did not suffer from intellectual disability;

  (ii) A psychiatrist called by the Defence on Nagaenthran’s behalf, agreed in Court that Nagaenthran was not intellectually disabled;

  (iii) His actions showed that he was “capable of manipulation and evasion” – for instance, when stopped at the checkpoint, he attempted to stop a search by telling the officers that he was “working in security”, thus appealing to the social perception of the trustworthiness of security officers. He was also noted to be “continuously altering his account of his education qualifications…, to reflect lower educational qualifications each time he was interviewed”; and

 (iv) Nagaenthran’s actions “evidenced a deliberate, purposeful and calculated decision”, “in the hope that the endeavour would pay off, despite the obvious risks”. This was “the working of a criminal mind, weighing the risks and countervailing benefits associated with the criminal conduct in question”. Nagaenthran considered the risks, balanced it against the reward he had hoped he would get, and decided to take the risk.

6. The Courts have also noted that the assertion, made in 2021, that Nagaenthran possessed the mental age of a person below 18 years of age, was the opinion of Mr M Ravi, Nagaenthran’s counsel. But Mr Ravi conceded that he did not possess any medical expertise to comment on this matter. At the same time, Mr Ravi refused to consent to having Nagaenthran’s latest medical and psychiatric reports placed before the Court, which would have been relevant. The Courts also noted that Mr Ravi had only met Nagaenthran once in the last three years, for a total of 26 minutes on 2 November 2021.

7. There has been much misinformation that has been put out in relation to Nagaenthran, in particular on his mental state. The above are the facts, as found by the Courts.

8. Nagaenthran had his capital sentence carried out today at Changi Prison Complex.

9. It should be noted that in the US, two persons were executed in October 2021. They had IQ ranges of 64 – 72 and 63 – 95 respectively, similar to Nagaenthran. The US Courts dismissed arguments relating to their alleged intellectual disability.


27 April 2022