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SINGAPORE

Judicial CP - July 1996



masthead

The New Paper, Singapore, 1 July 1996

Seasoned conman:
I'll change ... trust me

By Alethea Lim


Leong Yew Thong

A SEASONED conman posed as the ex-husband of a well-known businesswoman to cheat his victims.

Leong Yew Thong, 39, pretended he was Ms Claire Chiang's ex-husband to get his victims to put $45,000 into a company called Card Orient Investment between September and November 1994. He also posed as a senior police officer.

He had embarrassed Ms Chiang when one of the people he cheated called her to complain about her "ex-husband", Deputy Public Prosecutor Malcolm Tan had said during an earlier hearing on May 27.

When contacted yesterday, Ms Chiang, 44, said: "I don't even know who he is.

"I only found out what happened when some people called me."

Ms Chiang is the executive director of Banyan Tree Gallery and deputy chairman of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Community Relations Committee.

She also heads the Society Against Family Violence.

Leong is a bankrupt who has been cheating since 1982.

Yet, in the Subordinate Courts on May 4, he told The New Paper that cheating was a "talent" he would rather not have.

"I'm not proud of what I've done. My family has suffered because of my actions. It's been torture for my wife to have to come to court," he said.

Leong, who is serving a three-year jail term for attempted cheating, said: "I don't wish for my family, especially my wife, to suffer any more.

"I want to change for them."

Leong pleaded guilty on May 27 to cheating three people of $45,000 and extorting $250 from another.

District Judge F G Remedios sentenced him to eight years' preventive detention and three strokes of the cane on Thursday. Yet the father of three children, aged five, seven and eight, still put some of the blame on his victims.

"I admit to my mistakes, but these people would not have fallen for my schemes if they weren't greedy," he told The New Paper with a smile.

WIFE'S SUPPORT: Leong's wife, 40, +said she hoped her husband was sincere in wanting to change.

"I understand that it's difficult for him to change, but as long as he tries, I'll support him," said the part-time sales promoter.

Penalty

Preventive detention carries seven to 20 years' jail.

Leong's criminal history included 15 counts of cheating and related offences since 1982:

Two counts of criminal breach of trust, two of abetment of theft, four of corruption, one of possession of a forged document, one of fraudulent possession of property and two of impersonating a public servant.




masthead

Straits Times, Singapore, 1 July 1996

Unlawful assembly offence: No need for person to take part to be liable

By Lim Li Hsien

A MAN can be considered part of an unlawful assembly, and be liable to prosecution, even though he does not take part in the offence that the group commits.

A magistrate's appeal before Chief Justice Yong Pung How, recorded in a recent issue of the Singapore Law Reports, has put a man and his son in jail, with the son ordered to be caned too.

The CJ upheld the convictions of Lim Thiam Hor, 51, and his son, Lim Teck Beng, 22, for unlawful assembly.

They and three others were considered part of a group who assaulted a coffeeshop worker in March last year. The Lims were first dealt with last year and the CJ heard their appeal in March this year. The Penal Code defines an "unlawful assembly" as a group of five or more persons with the common object of committing an offence.

Defence counsel Patrick Nai argued that the numbers had not been made up in such an assembly because the father had not taken part in the fight. It was argued that there was no "common object" as the other three persons in the fray were not known to the Lims.

The CJ said that it was well-accepted in law that a mere presence did not mean that a person was a member of an unlawful assembly. But in the senior Lim's case, he found such a contention totally baseless.

He said the incident began because the father had sought revenge after failing to borrow a newspaper at a coffeeshop in Block 47 in Toa Payoh.

On March 6 last year, the senior Lim went to the coffeeshop near his home and asked its owner, Mr Low Tian Hock, for a newspaper.

Mr Low refused and Lim started abusing him. A coffeeshop worker, Mr Chew Boon Chai, 32, tried to placate Lim, but without success.

Lim then paged for his son and, when he arrived, stood outside the coffeeshop while the son and three other men kicked, punched and hit Mr Chew on the head.

Lim also could not explain satisfactorily why he had a pipe in hand at the time, the CJ said.

He added that the question of whether the three men were friends was not central to "common object". At the most, it could form part of the overall picture from which the court could draw its conclusions.

Evidence, like the timing and coordination of the attack, and the acts of the parties, were also factors that the court would take into account.

Just because the men were unknown to the Lims did not mean there was no common object, he said.

He concurred with the district court's finding that it was the senior Lim who summoned the three men.

The father has been sentenced to 18 months' jail, and was spared the cane because of his age. His son has been sentenced to 24 months' jail and six strokes of the cane.

The CJ upheld the sentences. They could have been jailed for up to five years each.




masthead

Straits Times, Singapore, 5 July 1996

Oriental hotel killing: Attacker acquitted of murder

By Lim Li Hsien

Nasir and his victimA JOBLESS man was acquitted yesterday of murdering a Japanese tourist in her room at The Oriental hotel two years ago. But Judicial Commissioner Choo Han Teck found Abdul Nasir Amer Hamsah, 25, guilty of committing robbery with hurt and sentenced him to 18 years' jail and 18 strokes of the cane. The maximum term is 20 years. Nasir was responsible for the violent death of Madam Fujii Isae, 49, a cleaner who died within an hour of arriving in Singapore on a company holiday. JC Choo told Nasir: "I am satisfied that the prosecution has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that you have caused injuries to Fujii Isae.

"I am also satisfied that the injuries were sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. There is also no doubt that some of the injuries to the deceased were inflicted by you wilfully."

But he also found that some of the injuries were inflicted accidentally. Given Nasir's big size, being 1.8 m tall and weighing 76 kg, he found it possible for him to have caused such injuries by falling onto the woman. On June 6, 1994, Nasir and his accomplice Abdul Rahman Arshad, 32, had followed Madam Fujii and her companion, Madam Miyoko Takishita, to their ninth-floor room.

They attacked and robbed the women. Madam Fujii died, but Madam Takishita survived.

The two men escaped. It was only in January this year, after Nasir was arrested and charged with the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Woodlands, that he was found to be the man wanted for the tourist's death.

His finger prints matched those found in the hotel room.

He named Abdul Rahman as his accomplice, and the latter testified for the prosecution, saying that it was Nasir who had attacked Madam Fujii. It was the prosecution's case, led by DPP Francis Tseng and DPP Lionel Tan, that Nasir had stamped on Madam Fujii's face repeatedly in an attempt to prevent her from identifying him.

According to the evidence, Madam Fujii was lying face up on the hotel floor with six facial fractures around her eyes when she died. The swelling in her face prevented her from breathing. Blood had been found on the wall above where she lay.

The prosecution said the bloodstains were evidence that the accused had stamped on the woman's face and that he had held on to the wall to gain leverage.

The defence, led by Mr Subhas Anandan and Mr Amolat Singh, argued that the bloodstains, on the contrary, supported Nasir's story. He had bloodied his hands after punching Madam Fujii on the nose, and when he lost his balance, he threw out his arms and touched the wall to steady himself.

Forensic pathologist Paul Chui had testified that a fall was unlikely to cause the kind of injury Madam Fujii suffered. But he also conceded that that this was the first time he had to perform an autopsy of such an injury caused by a shod foot.

JC Choo found that Dr Chui was familiar with road accident facial trauma but was less so with injuries caused by the foot.

The prosecution is considering an appeal.

Nasir still faces a charge of attempted robbery and another of trying to escape from a lock-up. His accomplice is serving 10 years' jail for robbery.




masthead

Straits Times, Singapore, 9 July 1996

Drug trafficker escapes death sentence narrowly

A DRUG trafficker escaped the death penalty narrowly yesterday when his original charge of trafficking in 267.8 g of heroin was reduced to just 14.99 g.

Anyone found guilty of trafficking in 15 g or more of heroin faces the death penalty.

Mohammed Yusof Abdul Rahman, 36, unemployed, pleaded guilty to the reduced charge.

Before sentencing, Justice S. Rajendran asked what led to the substantial reduction in the heroin amount in the charge.

DPP Mathavan Devadas replied that Mohammed had made a full disclosure and led Central Narcotics Bureau officers to the drugs.

The judge then sentenced the trafficker to 27 years' jail and 15 strokes of the cane.

He said: "It is your good fortune that you cooperated fully with the CNB and the prosecution who, in the light of your disclosures, decided not to press on with the charge of trafficking in 267.8 g of heroin."

In cooperating with the CNB, Mohammed invoked section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, which protects informers. He said he could not tell the court more than what was said in his statement of facts.

The statement showed that, on March 16 this year, CNB officers had seen him take a purple bag from a flat in Block 416, Hougang Avenue, to a flat in Block 7, King George's Avenue.

After Mohammed returned to the Hougang flat, the officers stormed the flat. There they found him and two other persons in the master bedroom.

The toilet floor and toilet bowl and rim were stained with heroin. Mohammed's body was also dusted with the drug. The officers also found several sachets and straws containing about 4.4 g of heroin.

He later led the officers to the King George's Avenue flat where they found 267.8 g of heroin in about 20 packets.

In mitigation, defence counsel Ahmad Khalis, assisted by Mr Thomas Chin, said that Mohammed was introduced to drugs in his teens after he dropped out of school.

In 1976, when he was 16, he was convicted for the possession of a controlled drug and sent for reformative training. Since then, he had been in and out of rehabilitation centres.

Mr Ahmad said his client was trapped in a vicious circle and was lured easily into trafficking.

Justice Rajendran took into account two other charges -- one for consumption and another for trafficking -- for sentencing.

Mohammed could have been jailed up to 30 years.




masthead

Straits Times, Singapore, 11 July 1996

4 get jail, caning for armed robbery and other crimes

FOUR men were sentenced to between five years' jail and life imprisonment plus caning yesterday for various crimes, including firearm robberies. Low Kim Soon and Lee Siap Peng, both 27, were each given the mandatory life imprisonment and the minimum six strokes on each of two charges under the Arms Offences Act.

They pleaded guilty to committing armed robbery with Poy Chye Liang, 26, and Ong Boon Huat, 32, while armed with a revolver each at the World Trade Centre multi-storey carpark on Oct 6 last year. They struck again three weeks later. This time, Low and Lee were also similarly armed when they, together with Poy and Ong, robbed a gambling den in Bukit Timah Road. All four are Malaysians.

Ong, a fruit-seller, was given 12 months' jail for helping to dispose of a stolen Rolex gent's watch in Owen Road last October. He was sentenced to the minimum five years and six strokes for consorting with Low and Lee in Bukit Timah Road.

All the sentences are concurrent, and backdated to their arrests in January this year. In Poy's case, he pleaded guilty to two charges of consorting with Low and Lee and one charge of having a .38 Colt revolver unlawfully in Foo Kim Lim Road, off Jalan Eunos, on Jan 7. Justice M. P. H. Rubin sentenced him to five years' jail and six strokes of the cane on each of the three charges. He ordered two of the sentences to run consecutively -- a total of 10 years and 18 strokes.

Recounting the WTC robbery, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sunari Kateni said the four planned to rob one Lim Hee Seng, 37, on Oct 6 after Ong told them that Mr Lim operated a casino on board a cruise ship and would normally check in at the WTC at 6.30 pm.

At 7.40 pm, Mr Lim and his younger brother, businessman Lim Kan Seng, 27, drove past in a white Mercedes-Benz and the trio followed them to the seventh floor of the multi-storey carpark. After Poy had blocked their car, Lee and Low tried to chloroform the victims. The two armed robbers took their wallets, a watch, a clutch bag containing $150,000, a $10,000 Rolex watch, a handphone, cash cheques and two credit cards. The trio then drove to Woodlands where they met Ong and split the loot in Johor Baru.

In the other robbery, the four men robbed a gambling den. On Oct 27, after they had arrived at the den at 12.30 am, Poy handed two revolvers to Low and Lee. Ong remained in the car. The four again split the loot in Johor Baru.




masthead

The New Paper, Singapore, 12 July 1996

Shame on you, son




"He is my son and I love him. But I am also very angry with him. He has brought shame on the family." - Rais' mother




"I want to make sure there's someone home for him." - Madam Kalsom, Hairudin's mother

They could have been jailed 20 years for rape. Instead, four men were sentenced to between six and 12 months' jail yesterday after the charge was reduced to molesting a 17-year-old girl. One mother is overjoyed - but another is not. IVY ONG reports

MOHAMMAD Rais Ripin, 29, was a relieved man yesterday.

He was all smiles as he was led out from the courtroom.

But for his mother, joy was dampened by the bitterness at what her son had done to the family.

Rais' father, Mr Ripin Atan, a labourer, was diagnosed with stomach cancer last November - just days after Rais was arrested and charged with rape.

Mr Ripin, who was in his 60s, died two months later.

Till today, Rais' mother blames him for his father's death.

The 52-year-old woman, who did not want to be named, said: "My husband was very upset with Rais' arrest. He kept worrying about Rais.

"After a while, I could see that he was losing the will to live."

Though she suffered from diabetes and arthritis, she worked as a cleaner after her husband's death to pay for the household bills.

"I can't earn much but at least, I make enough to put food on the table," she said.

She has five children, including Rais. Only Rais, who was working as a repairman before his arrest, and her youngest daughter, a student, 20, live with her.

The eight months that her son spent in jail have been a strain on her.

She said: "I sleep a lot nowadays. That's the only time I can stop thinking about Rais.

"But even that doesn't work because I end up waking in the middle of the night and thinking about him anyway."

Her feelings towards Rais, her second son, who was sentenced to a year's jail and three strokes of the cane, are mixed.

"He is my son and I love him. But I am also very angry with him. He has brought shame on the family."

Still waiting for son

MADAM Kalsom Hassan, 47, has been waiting at home since 11 am yesterday for her convicted son.

One of her friends called to say that he might be released.

Hairudin Mohd Idris, 22, was sentenced to six months' jail for helping to commit molest. He had already served eight months in remand. This means he will be freed.

Said Madam Kalsom, a housewife, in Malay: "I was in Johor when Hairudin was arrested. Since then, I have seen him only once a week in prison."

But there was still no sign of Hairudin at 5 pm. She said: "I'll wait. Whether he comes home today, or tomorrow, or any other day, doesn't matter.

"I want to make sure there's someone home for him."

She was not contactable this morning.

The family lives in a HDB apartment in Boon Lay Place.

Hairudin has five other siblings. He was an odd-job labourer before his arrest.

Smiles and tears when case is over

THERE were smiles and tears of joy in the courtroom after the sentence.

The four men could have been jailed up to 20 years for rape.

On Wednesday, the charges were reduced to molest.

They were sentenced to between six and 12 months' jail yesterday. Two of them will walk free since they have already served eight months in remand.

Justice Kan Ting Chiu highlighted several factors that played a part in his decision.

The factors against the accused:

  • There were four of them against one woman.
  • They abused her friendship and trust.
  • Their excuse of having committed the offences while drunk was not acceptable.
  • Although Parijan and Rais had no records of similar offences, their long criminal record showed a low regard for the law.

However:
  • They did not use violence.
  • There were no injuries.
  • They did not start with any pre-planned designs.
  • They pleaded guilty to the amended charges as soon as possible.
  • They were in custody for rape charges, and their anxieties while in custody must be considered.


PARIJAN MOHAMMAD, 29
A year's jail and three strokes of the cane

MOHAMMAD RAIS RIPIN, 29
A year's jail and three strokes of the cane

DARMA HASIM, 21
Eight months' jail. Will walk free

HAIRUDIN MOHD IDRIS, 22
Six months' jail. Will walk free



masthead

The New Paper, Singapore, 22 July 1996

Beat up and robbed his friend

Man calls friend a miser for not buying him drinks
They argue and have a fight

By Riana Zakir


Jailed: Zainal Mohamed Zain was sentenced to three years' jail and 12 strokes for robbery.

HE asked for a treat from his friend. He will have to pay for it.

Zainal Mohamed Zain, 32, called his friend a miser when the friend refused to buy him a drink.

The two got into a fight.

Zainal beat up his friend, then robbed him. As Mr Zainalabiden Buang, 25, lay knocked out on the grass, Zainal stripped him of $462 in cash and valuables.

Zainal now has to pay for his deeds.

Last week, Zainal was sentenced to three years' jail and 12 strokes for robbery.

The incident happened at a Yishun Central coffeeshop on July 5 at about 8 pm.

Zainal was drinking with three other friends when Mr Zainalabiden joined them.

After 10 minutes, Zainal wanted him to treat the group and order more beer.

But he refused, so Zainal called him a miser and asked him to leave their table.

Furious, Mr Zainalabiden, went to a nearby garden with Zainal where they argued and fought.

Too drunk

Mr Zainalabiden was punched on his face and body, but was too drunk to hit back.

Zainal then coolly stripped him of more than $400, a watch, a Transitlink card, a belt and his pair of sunglasses.

On his way back to the coffeeshop, Zainal met one of the friends, Selamat Masbari, 36, who was coming out to see the fight. Zainal then gave him the watch as a souvenir.

Three days later, Zainal and Selamat were arrested in the same coffeeshop when Mr Zainalabiden was passing by and spotted them.

Selamat, who has three previous convictions for theft, was sentenced to four months' jail for accepting stolen goods knowingly.

Zainal was arrested barely a week after he was released from a six-month jail sentence for housebreaking.

Said his brother, Mr Ahmad Mohamed Zain, 37, a butcher: "We knew he liked to drink beer, but we expected him to change after jail.

"So we gave him about $300 to buy clothes and some food instead. We are really disappointed he went back to drinking and stealing again."




masthead

Straits Times, Singapore, 27 July 1996

Jail and cane for youth who raped girlfriend

A HIGH Court judge yesterday slammed a 16-year-old youth for raping his girlfriend after a glue-sniffing session, saying that he had committed a vicious offence on the victim.

Justice T. S. Sinnathuray said that he viewed the offence as vicious because "the victim is very young, still a schoolgirl and had been your friend. She considered you as her boyfriend".

He then sentenced Lim Chee Wei to six years' jail and six strokes of the cane.

Lim had pleaded guilty to an amended charge of raping the 16-year-old girl at an electrical and plumbing office at Geylang Square between 3 am and 4 am on Jan 30 this year.

The former odd-job labourer was originally accused of aggravated rape, an offence which carries a minimum eight years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane.

The court was told that Lim was about 15 years old when he committed the crime.

His former colleague, Poon Phui Lup, also 16, had also been jailed for six years and ordered to be given six strokes by a district court for raping the girl.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaswant Singh said the victim and her four friends had gone to Lim's office on Jan 29 after they found that they did not have enough money to go to a trade fair.

Two of them took three cans of glue to the office and they played cards there.

After Lim's boss had left, Lim locked the door and gate and began to sniff glue. The complainant and another girl wanted to leave but found the door locked.

At about 1 am, Poon, who had also been sniffing glue, asked the victim and her friend to follow him into a room at the rear of the office where he and Lim slept.

Inside the room, Poon removed the victim's pants and panties. Lim then entered the bedroom and raped her.

Despite the girl's protests and cries, Lim forced himself on her repeatedly.

After Lim left, Poon came in and raped the girl, whose shouts for help were ignored by Lim. He told her that Poon was his "brother", and that he would not stop him.

She reported the incident to the police on Jan 31 and Lim was arrested the next day.

Defence counsel Wee Pan Lee said his client had had a tiff with the complainant before the incident and had wanted to break off with her.

He urged the court to give his client a chance by calling for a pre-sentence report, but DPP Jaswant Singh opposed this, saying it was inappropriate in the circumstances of this case.

Justice Sinnathuray agreed with the prosecutor. He also did not think that Lim had committed the offence because he was under the influence of glue.

The maximum penalty for rape is 20 years and the offender can also be fined or caned.

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