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Judicial CP - January 2001

Corpun file 6458


The New Paper, Singapore, 10 January 2001

He went fishing ... for valuables

By Jason Tan



Khairudin Ismail, 23, (above) was sentenced to 3 years' jail and ordered to be given four strokes of the cane on each of five charges of housebreaking by night that he pleaded guilty to.

Under the law, a housebreaking offence is one that takes place between 7pm and 7am.

Two of the sentences are to run consecutively, making a total seven years' jail and 20 strokes of the cane.

Another seven similar charges were taken into consideration in sentencing.

You have obviously not learned your lesson despite being given many opportunities to do so... I hope you'll never use your fishing skills to steal other people's property again.
- District Judge Adrian Soon while sentencing Khairuddin Ismail

HE doesn't fish but see what Khairudin Ismail, 23, got with a rod: Handphones, wallets, coins, a pager, cigarettes, a Discman, watches and even an umbrella.
He roamed housing estates late at night, hunting for units with open windows and valuables lying around.
Then he would look for a bamboo pole to use as a "fishing rod". He would sometimes tie a trowel to it, and scoop things up. In four months, he hit 11 homes.
As it turned out, he is an old hand. Since he was 15, he has committed over 20 housebreaking offences and has been produced in court five times.
When he was charged in court yesterday, District Judge Adrian Soon told him: "I hope you'll never use your fishing skills to steal other people's property again."
Khairudin, dressed in a long-sleeved grey T-shirt and jeans, said: "This time, I'm totally remorseful."
Judge Soon shot back: "You had promised not to break the law, yet you've broken it. What's so special about your promises this time?"
In 1992, the Juvenile Court put him on probation on 21 counts of housebreaking and theft.
Two years later, when he was 17, he was sent to the Reformative Training Centre on three counts of housebreaking.
In 1998, he was jailed four weeks for stealing property. In 1999, he was jailed a further three months, again for stealing property.
He still didn't change.
On April 4 last year, he went to a flat in Block 130, Bukit Batok West Avenue 6, and stole an Ericsson handphone through the window.
The primary-school dropout quit his job as a phone operator for a taxi company. He spent his days wandering round parks with his 18-year-old girlfriend.
He stayed at Geylang hotels or at friends' homes, having left home when his parents divorced in 1988.
He targeted flats in the western area, facing expressways and parks, so that he would not be seen easily. But the crime squad at Jurong Police Division was tracking him down.
On Aug 25 last year, Khairudin committed another housebreaking at Bukit Batok. Two days later, seven Jurong police officers sprang a trap on him near his girlfriend's flat at Bukit Panjang.
Khairudin was caught red-handed.
He was wearing a stolen 25 Hours watch and carrying a stolen handphone.
In court yesterday, the judge chided him, saying: "You have obviously not learned your lesson despite being given many opportunities to do so."
The judge then sentenced him to seven years' jail and 20 strokes of the cane.
Khairudin nodded and smiled. Then he turned back and smiled at three friends, who were supposed to be his witnesses.
But at the last minute he pleaded guilty.

Corpun file 6530


The Straits Times, Singapore, 30 January 2001

Jailed for stabbing man to death

A man who escaped to Thailand after stabbing a man in Beach Road eight years ago is sentenced to 10 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane

By Elena Chong

AN ODD-JOB labourer fled to Johor and then flew to Bangkok after he stabbed a man to death in Beach Road eight years ago.

A forged passport led to Lai's arrest.

Lai Kah Seng, 39, was arrested when he tried to enter Singapore with a forged passport in August last year.

Yesterday, Judicial Commissioner Choo Han Teck sentenced him to 10 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane for manslaughter and using a forged passport.

Lai pleaded guilty to causing the death of Mr Lew Ngiau Lon, 32, by culpable homicide not amounting to murder, at Block 6, Beach Road, on Jan 4, 1993.He also admitted the passport offence.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaswant Singh said Mr Lew had been to a wedding dinner with some colleagues at City Plaza on the night before he was killed.

He later went to a karaoke lounge, then drank four bottles of beer with a colleague at a furniture shop in Block 7, North Bridge Road, near his home.

Two hours later, as Mr Lew was walking towards his block, Lai, a complete stranger, told him to be careful as there were policemen around.

Mr Lew placed his arm on Lai and told him not to frighten him with the word 'police'. The two had an argument.

The DPP said Lai became angry as he had merely wanted to alert the intoxicated Mr Lew about police presence.

Lai went and retrieved a knife from his letterbox at Block 8, North Bridge Road, nearby, and confronted Mr Lew, who was waiting for the lift at Block 6, Beach Road.

It was about 2.30 am.

A resident saw the two facing each other and heard the victim say 'don't stab me' twice in Hokkien.

The witness also heard Lai swear and saw his hand move in a stabbing motion.

A few days after the fatal stabbing, Lai took a taxi to Johor, then boarded a flight to Bangkok where he stayed illegally for seven years.

He was arrested when he flew home with a forged passport he bought for $500.

Defence counsel Peter Low said in mitigation that his client was angry with the deceased because his well-meaning caution was met with insolence, assault and a direct and open challenge to his courage.

Mr Lew had claimed he was the headman of a secret society, counsel said.

He not only punched Lai but also provoked him by challenging to meet him at the next block, said the lawyer.

The court heard Mr Lew's blood-alcohol concentration was 226 mg of ethanol per 100 ml of blood.

Copyright (c) 2001 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved. 

Corpun file 6531


The Straits Times, Singapore, 31 January 2001

Molest in the air

Jail and cane for airplane molester

By Wong Fei Wan

A COMPUTER engineer accused of molesting a woman seated next to him on board a Singapore Airlines flight was yesterday ordered to be given three strokes of the cane, on top of a year's jail sentence.

Claiming a sleeping disorder, Swarup is appealing against the sentence and conviction. - TERENCE TAN

Swarup Das, 27, was found guilty by a district court of touching the 32-year-old woman's groin and slipping his right hand under her dress to stroke her private parts while she was asleep.

He is appealing against both the sentence and conviction.

District Judge Hoo Sheau Peng said Swarup's evidence that he was sleeping when he accidentally touched the woman was 'hard to believe'.

Swarup, an Indian national, had earlier said that he had raised the armrest which separated him from the woman because he wanted to sleep more comfortably. He added that he had put a pillow between the seats.

He also demonstrated in court how he had placed his right elbow on the pillow and rested his head on his right palm before dozing off.

But the judge did not believe him. He said that as Swarup was tall, the final sleeping position which he demonstrated to the court was 'incredible' and stretched the imagination.

Earlier, a doctor testified that Swarup suffered a mild sleep disorder and could display a lot of leg and hand movements in his sleep.

The judge did not accept the defence's argument that Swarup had hiked up the woman's dress with his legs unintentionally.

This was because, District Judge Hoo added, the victim would have been awakened by Swarup's 'kicking and thrusting movements'.

Besides, the blanket covering the woman's feet was still in place, even though her dress had been lifted up to her thigh area.

The judge said that the woman was a reliable witness and there was no reason for her to frame Swarup as they were total strangers.

The woman and her friend had boarded the Singapore-bound plane in San Francisco on Sept 8 last year. She was seated between her friend and Swarup, who was next to the window.

Both women covered themselves with blankets before going to sleep.

The woman said she was awakened when she felt something resting heavily on her groin. It was Swarup's right hand.

Thinking it was an accident, she lifted his hand and pushed it back to his side of the seat.

But about 30 minutes later, she was again awakened when she felt one of Swarup's fingers slipping into her panties and touching her. She grabbed Swarup's hand immediately and flung it away from her.

Both women were transferred to seats reserved for cabin crew after the woman's friend informed a stewardess about the incident.

Swarup is out on bail of $15,000.

Copyright 2001 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved. 

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