Straits Times, Singapore, 6 June 1998
Robbed tourists with arrest threats
A VIGILANTE Corps man gave his police identity card and security pass to a friend who used them to threaten tourists with arrest unless they handed over their money and valuables.
Wee Siew Cheng, 20, who is no longer a VC member, admitted abetting his friend to impersonate a public servant. He also admitted twice conspiring to commit robbery, conspiring to commit theft, and attempting to steal cash from an ATM machine. Four other charges were considered in sentencing.
District Judge FG Remedios told Wee on Thursday that these offences warranted a stiff sentence, and jailed him for 5½ years and the maximum 24 strokes of the cane.
This is how the crooks operated:
At about 2.45 am on April 23, Wee's accomplice approached Mr Mohamed Ali Ahmad, a Malaysian tourist, in front of Tangs in Orchard Road, identified himself as a policeman and told him to hand over all his belongings or be arrested.
Wee then called his accomplice's mobile phone and spoke to Mr Mohamed, introducing himself as Inspector Jonathan Lee, and said he would be arrested unless he cooperated.
Afraid, Mr Mohamed handed over his money and jewellery, but then ran after the crook and scuffled with him to get his things back. The police were then called and they arrested the culprit.
The police found Wee's police IC and security pass on the floor and arrested him soon after.
Hours before, about 10.45 pm on April 22, at Tanglin Shopping Centre, the pair had pulled the same trick on an Australian tourist, Mr Christopher Robins Wade, 25, and demanded his credit card PIN. Mr Wade gave it only after he was threatened with arrest by Wee over the phone.
The crooks made four abortive attempts to use the credit card to get money from ATM machines.
Wee was already on bail for another offence, committed last June. He and another friend made false reports to the police, under an assumed name, that they had lost their personal documents.
DPP Fong asked for a deterrent sentence because Wee:
Abused his police NS identity card and police security pass for illegal gain;
Preyed on tourists who were unfamiliar with Singapore's laws;
Intimidated them by pretending to be his accomplice's superior officer.
The DPP said there was no telling how many other tourists could have fallen victim to their scheme, and such offences could have a serious impact on the tourism industry.
Wee, who has seven previous convictions for failing to attend training, said in mitigation that he committed the offences as he needed money to marry his pregnant girlfriend.
Straits Times, Singapore, 18 June 1998
Four secret society members get cane and jail for rioting
FOUR secret society members, charged originally with murdering a member of another secret society, were yesterday jailed between 18 and 30 months and ordered to be caned, for rioting in front of the Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station.
District Judge Daniel Koh said he found it disconcerting that there were so many rioting offences.
There were 478 reported cases last year, 518 in 1996 and 361 in 1995.
Agreeing that deterrent sentences were appropriate, he sentenced salesman Kho Lian Teck, l7, to 18 months and five strokes; Ong Kian Heng and sales promoter Koh Boon Wei, both 18, to 24 months and five strokes each; and food stall assistant Yeo Hsi Tsung, 18, to 30 months and five strokes.
The four, members of the Sio Koon Tong Secret Society of 18 Group, pleaded guilty to ganging up with three others to hurt national serviceman Png Hock Seng, 18, on Oct 25 last year.
Mr Png, a member of Sio Gi Ho Secret Society of 18 Group, died from a stab wound.
Ong and Koh were each given a concurrent sentence of six months' jail for being part of an unlawful assembly with several others at Fire Disco in Orchard Plaza on Sept 14, 1996.
A third theft charge against Ong was considered during sentencing.
Yeo, who has a previous conviction for unlawful assembly, was jailed 18 months for rioting with 12 others opposite Parkway Parade in Marine Parade Road on March 8, 1996. His sentences are to run together also.
In the case last October, the court heard that those accused attacked Mr Png after he had alighted from a taxi with two friends.
The New Paper, Singapore, 19 June 1998
The Electric New Paper. Copyright © 1998
Jailed: Leow Kok Meng.
Leow Kok Meng was jailed 18 months and ordered to be given three strokes of the cane. He could have been jailed for up to five years and caned or fined. He has four previous convictions for armed robbery, extortion, voluntarily causing hurt and use of criminal force to prevent a public servant from discharging his duty.
He plays cards,
wins then slashes loser
BY DANNY LIM
A GAME of cards among friends turned violent after one of them lost some money. The twist: The WINNER slashed the loser.
Teo Kim Poh, 43, needed plastic surgery and now has difficulty lifting anything heavier than a teacup. Leow Kok Meng, 38, a masseur, pleaded guilty yesterday to two charges of hurting Mr Teo and Mr Chia Song Heng, 41. Leow found his friends drinking at a coffeeshop at Block 158 in Mei Ling Street on Nov 10 last year around 11.30 pm. Mr Teo then invited Leow to a game of cards.
After three games, Leow wanted to go off for supper after winning money from Mr Teo. But Mr Chia persuaded him to play on. When Leow continued to win, his friends would not let him go. Leow flared up. He walked to a nearby hawker centre, grabbed a chopper and slashed Mr Chia, who was tailing him.
Mr Chia suffered injuries to his face, left arm, and right wrist and a deep cut on his lower lip. But he managed to slip off in a taxi to the Alexandra Hospital. Leow returned to the coffeeshop and slashed Mr Teo. Mr Teo suffered cuts to his face which required plastic surgery. A deep cut to his right wrist left him unable to lift heavy objects.
Said Mr Teo, an odd-job labourer, at his Mei Ling Street flat yesterday :"I was very drunk and didn't know what was happening. I just felt a lot of pain."
He could not recall how much he lost.
"I can move my hand now, but it still feels numb," he said in Mandarin.
Singapore Press Holdings. All Rights Reserved.
The New Paper, Singapore, 23 June 1998
NG BOON KWEE: Hauled to court for robbery, attempted robbery, and theft.
"It's his looks, your honour. He did this because he felt inferior and was angry with the way people bully him."
-- Mr Ong Peng Boon, the lawyer for Ng Boon Kwee.
I can't make much of this notion of him looking like a born loser and him going around to threaten people. If he really feels inferior, he would just have gone away (and not confront the shopkeepers).
-- District Judge Daniel Koh
Is this the face
of a born loser?
His looks led him to
commit crime, says lawyer
BY DANNY LIM
HE has the face of a born loser, claimed his lawyer.
His looks tortured him so much that he threatened and robbed people to vent his frustration.
So said the lawyer for Ng Boon Kwee, 26, a freelance salesman, in a mitigation plea last Friday.
Ng was hauled to court for robbery, attempted robbery, and theft.
His lawyer, Mr Ong Peng Boon, repeated the point about Ng's looks again and again, until District Judge Daniel Koh shot back: "Well, he looks all right to me!"
Muffled giggles erupted in the court.
Ng had robbed a shopowner in Lucky Plaza and tried to rob another.
Ng had visited a garment shop in Lucky Plaza on March 29 at about noon. He took a pair of white Versace jeans worth $89 and left without paying.
The sales manager, Mr Wong Kok Chung, 26, followed him out and stopped him.
Instead of returning the jeans, Ng started to shout at him.
Mr Wong, not wanting to create a scene, asked Ng to follow him back to the shop.
Back in the shop, Ng scolded Mr Wong for calling him a thief and demanded compensation.
He asked for a red packet containing $369, saying he belonged to a secret society known as "369".
When Mr Wong said he didn't have so much money, Ng grabbed his wallet and took $100.
And before he left, he asked Mr Wong to call him on his handphone once he had raised the remaining $269.
Mr Wong got the money from a friend and gave it to him at 2 pm that day.
"He was big-sized and really fierce. I didn't know what he was going to do to me, so I gave him the money," said Mr Wong when contacted by phone on Saturday.
But that was not the end of the matter - one hour later, Ng was back.
This time, he demanded $150. Mr Wong, who had only $128 at that time, gave it to him.
Ng was caught when he demanded money from an electronics shop in Lucky Plaza the next day. The shop owner called the police.
Judge Koh slapped Ng with a stern deterrent for what he described as Ng's 'ridiculous conduct'.
Ng Boon Kwee was jailed eight years and ordered to be given 24 strokes of the cane.
He pleaded guilty to two charges of robbery, one of attempted robbery, and another of possession of an offensive weapon.
Six other charges, including theft, were taken into consideration. Ng has previous convictions for robbery, use of abusive language and driving offences.
The penalty for robbery is two to 10 years' jail and up to six strokes of the cane.
The New Paper, Singapore, 24 June 1998
Vadiveloo Rajamuthi and Kalairajan were each jailed seven years and ordered to be given 24 strokes of the cane. In addition, Vadiveloo was fined $800 and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for four years. Kalairajan was disqualified for three years.
For each charge of robbery, they could have been jailed for up to 14 years and caned 12 strokes.
Vadiveloo has three previous convictions for theft. Kalairajan has one conviction for housebreaking and one conviction for the fraudulent possession of a property.
Serangoon robbing spree
They asked for work permits
Then snatched wallets of Indian workers
BY DANNY LIM
TWO men went to Serangoon Road, in a stolen van, with one mission: a robbing spree.
Vadiveloo Rajamuthi, 22, and Kalairajan, 21, terrorised four Indian workers and pocketed their hard-earned money. They preyed on their last three victims within minutes of one another.
The pair pleaded guilty to five and four charges of robbery respectively in court yesterday.
They had broken into a van in a carpark at Toa Payoh Lorong6 at 11.20 pm on May 24 using an old key Vadiveloo found several months earlier.
With the same key, Vadiveloo drove the Toyota van to the Serangoon Road area.
They spotted their first victim at 12.05 am along Serangoon Road near Mee Toh School.
They stopped the van, alighted, and confronted Mr Sengamalai Karuppiah, 30, an Indian national.
Kalairajan shouted at him and demanded to know what he was doing in the streets at that hour. He also asked to see his work permit.
But before Mr Sengamalai could take out his work permit from his wallet, Kalairajan snatched the wallet away from him.
He continued to scold Mr Sengamalai as he walked towards the van with the wallet that contained $200.05.
The pair then drove off, leaving Mr Sengamalai stunned.
They used the same ruse on three other Indian workers in the area at 2 am, 2.15 am, and 2.45 am.
But their sins caught up with them after they robbed their fourth victim in front of a church in Keng Lee Road.
Maybe it was divine intervention - a police patrol car passed by as Mr Periasamy Alagu, 22, ran out from behind the van, shouting for help.
The two robbers then tried to escape, but some policemen gave chase and arrested them.
The $899 taken from the four victims was recovered.