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Judicial CP - May 2002

Corpun file 9030


The Straits Times, Singapore, 4 May 2002

Jail and cane for molester who told tall tale

After taking his victim to a hotel and molesting her, he claims in court that she wanted a closer relationship with him

By Wong Sher Maine

A MOLESTER who claimed trial and spun an 'unbelievable' story in his defence was sentenced to 15 months' jail and six strokes of the cane yesterday.

Mugsof Lai
For his offence, Lai was sentenced to 15 months' jail and six strokes.

District Judge See Kee Oon, who convicted Lai Jiat Thiam, said that the former art administrator's story was both 'unreliable' and 'unbelievable'.

The portly 44-year-old divorcee molested a 38-year-old woman, who co-owns a bakery shop with her husband, last Oct 29.

He met and chatted her up at a psychiatrist's clinic at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, where they were both patients. Then, he offered her a ride back to her shop near Bukit Timah.

At the time, the woman was feeling weak from the effects of an injection which the psychiatrist had given her and she accepted his offer.

But, instead of taking her back to her bakery, Lai took the unsuspecting mother of three to the Hamilton Hotel at Jalan Besar.

He led her to a room on the second floor, where he molested her for about 30 minutes and made her masturbate him.

The woman, who said she avoided being raped by telling him that she was having her period, was too weak and afraid to resist during the whole ordeal.

She did what he asked to get out of the place 'as soon as possible'.

After the incident, he drove her back to the hospital at her request, where she was warded overnight because she was traumatised.

During her testimony, Lai stood up and protested, saying that she was 'telling stories'. He said that he had never touched her.

According to Lai, he went to the budget hotel to take a rest because he was feeling exhausted and giddy from not sleeping well, and to apply medicine to his leg which had a skin problem.

The woman insisted on following him into the room to use the washroom, he said.

And while they were in the room, she 'pestered' him continually, asking about the skin condition on his leg.

The prosecution pointed out that he could have gone home, instead of spending money on a hotel room.

Also, if he had been as irritated with the woman as he said he was, he did not have to let her into the hotel room.

Lai suggested that the woman wanted to have a closer relationship with him. But the judge did not believe him.

Lai is considering appealing.

Corpun file 9031


The Straits Times, Singapore, 4 May 2002

In short

Lift Molester Gets 4½ Years' Jail

A 22-YEAR-OLD man molested several women in lifts or on staircase landings over the space of a few weeks.

Toh Hong Thoe's victims were aged 15 to 30. His spree of outraging women's modesty ended on March 1 when he was caught by the father of one of the women.

A district court heard that Toh had followed the 20-year-old up to the sixth floor of a block of flats in Yishun using a different lift.

When the woman stepped out of the other lift, he followed her to the eighth floor where he grabbed her from behind and squeezed her breasts.

Toh tried to run down the stairs when the woman screamed for help. But her father detained him on the sixth-floor staircase landing.

Toh, a car washer, admitted to four other similar charges of molesting women, mostly in Yishun, in February.

District Judge See Kee Oon sentenced him to 4½ years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane after the prosecution sought a stiff sentence.

Toh, who received a similar conviction in 1999, had two other charges considered during the sentencing.

Copyright © 2002 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 9064


The Straits Times, Singapore, 10 May 2002

Hammer attack teen gets jail, cane

A 16-YEAR-OLD boy involved in a hammer attack on a 15-year-old student and his four friends at a bus stop in MacPherson was given 30 months' jail and six strokes of the cane yesterday.

Winston Lee Wei Zheng, then a Secondary 3 student at MacPherson Secondary School, admitted that he had been rioting with 15 others at the bus stop in front of a hawker centre in Circuit Road on Dec 15 last year.

He and his friends were part of a group which attacked the boy with a hammer and a 10 cm-long knife. The victim ended up in hospital for four days.

Two of Lee's accomplices, coffeeshop assistant Wu Jin Chang, 17, and hawker assistant Tan Guan Da, 18, were each sentenced to three years' jail and six strokes of the cane last month for rioting and being armed with deadly weapons.

Tan Teck Chye, 16, jobless, was jailed 30 months and given three strokes of the cane, while student Steven Ang Kun Yee, 16, and national serviceman Simon Lee, 19, had their sentences postponed pending Reformative Training Centre reports.

On the day of the assault, the 16 youths, armed with two knives and a hammer, chased the victim and his four friends from a community centre to a bus, which Lee and six others boarded.

On the bus, they assaulted the victim and his friends.

Ten others in the group, all between 14 and 15 years old, have already been dealt with.

Copyright © 2002 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 9063


The Straits Times, Singapore, 10 May 2002

Gangster gets life for part in soccer player's murder

Judge hands out maximum penalty, with 16 strokes of the cane, for vicious, senseless attack on three 17-year-olds

By Elena Chong
Court Correspondent

mugshot of Muhamad Hasik SaharTEARS rolled down the cheeks of a 22-year-old secret society member when told he would have to spend the rest of his life behind bars for helping to cause the death of a national youth soccer player a year ago.

Judicial Commissioner Tay Yong Kwang slapped the maximum penalty for culpable homicide, which includes 16 strokes of the cane, on Muhamad Hasik Sahar yesterday. [Picture, right, from The Straits Times, 23 September 2003]

Hasik had ganged up with seven others to attack Mr Sulaiman Hashim, a promising under-18 soccer team player, and two of his friends, along South Bridge Road on May 31 last year. All three were 17 then.

Three accused ACCUSED: Hasik (centre) faces a manslaughter charge. Two others, Fazely (left of picture, side view shown) and Famy (top, in black T-shirt) will be tried for Mr Sulaiman's murder. [Picture and caption from The Straits Times, 9 May 2002]

Muhamad Hasik's gang was hunting for rival gang members at Boat Quay that night, after a birthday celebration at a pub along Mohamad Sultan Road. They then spotted the Institute of Technical Education student and his two friends walking to City Hall MRT station.

After asking if the trio belonged to a gang, they attacked them, hacking Mr Sulaiman to death.

One of his friends, who tried to run, was stabbed in the back and punched in the head. The third escaped.

In passing sentence, the judge said the attackers did not seem interested in finding out whether the unfortunate trio were rival gang members.

'It seems to me that the predators were merely spoiling for some violent action, and the prey happened to be outnumbered by two to one. The horrendous acts that early morning were indiscriminate and senseless,' he said.

Streets and public places must be kept safe. Gang fights and running street battles had no place in a civilised society, he said.

Deputy public prosecutors Ng Cheng Thiam and Imran Abdul Hamid said that after chasing the other two victims, Muhamad Hasik and his two friends returned to kick and punch Mr Sulaiman in the face.

While Mr Sulaiman lay helplessly on the steps outside a pub, three knife-wielding gang members continued stabbing and slashing his head, throat and neck, inflicting 13 stab wounds in all.

The three men are believed to be in hiding in Malaysia.

The trial of two unemployed men - Fazely Rahmat, 21, and Khairul Famy Mohamad Samsudin, 20 - began yesterday in another court. They have been charged with murder.

Last November, two others involved in the case, Mohammad Fahmi Abdul Shukor, 19, and Mohammad Ridzwan Samad, 20, were each sentenced to three years' jail and six strokes of the cane, for abetting the gang members to riot.

Mr Lawrence Wong, who was assigned as Muhamad Hasik's defence counsel, argued that life imprisonment was not appropriate. The usual sentence for such a crime is 10 years' jail.

He said that Muhamad Hasik, who has four siblings, felt obligated to one of the gang members who had helped him out financially.

A gang member since early last year, he did not take part in any 'gang' activities other than joining them in drinking sessions at various nightspots.

However, the judge said Muhamad Hasik, who has a previous conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon, had clearly not learnt his lesson.

He added: 'Those who feel victorious in being vicious, and who have no qualms about the annual celebration of one's birth culminating in the untimely death of another, will have to spend all subsequent birthdays within prison walls until such time as they are eligible for parole.'

Copyright © 2002 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 9139


The Straits Times, Singapore, 24 May 2002

Man joined teens to rob students

A 33-YEAR-OLD odd-job worker ganged up with teenagers to rob two students of their mobile phones and other items.

Because of his psychological makeup, Ng Peng Soon could not make friends of his own age, said his lawyer, Mr Shashi Nathan, who added that his client had been diagnosed with schizophrenia since 1985.

On Oct 30 last year, Ng, together with one of his accomplices, Ng Teck Meng, 16, plotted to steal some cell phones.

They contacted five girls and three boys, aged 12 to 16, and all 10 took the train to Eunos MRT station where they waylaid a 14-year-old student. They then took him to the 11th-floor lift landing of Block 320, Ubi Avenue 1.

There, eight of the accomplices acted as lookouts while Ng punched the victim on the back and chest. Teck Meng kicked the boy on his legs. They robbed him of $25, a TransitLink card and a Nokia phone.

Ng, together with five other teens, similarly robbed a 13-year-old student of his $100 Nokia phone at a lift landing in Block 792, Woodlands Avenue 6, on Nov 5 last year.

On Wednesday, Ng was sentenced to a total of 10 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to two counts of robbery with hurt. Another two charges were considered during the sentencing.

Teck Meng has been sentenced to the Reformative Training Centre, while the other teens have all been placed on probation.

Copyright © 2002 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 9140


The Straits Times, Singapore, 25 May 2002

Mum helped lover rape her little girl

Judge condemns 'revolting' sex attacks on child over five years; both jailed for 36 years each, man gets 24 strokes too

By Alethea Lim
Court Correspondent

THE girl was only nine when her mother's boyfriend started raping her.

Her mother ordered the child to submit to him, watched and even took part in some of the sexual abuse in her Tampines home.

The abuse went on almost daily for five years.

Yesterday, the mother, 35, who cannot be named to protect the girl's identity, was sentenced to 36 years in jail.

Her boyfriend, Peh Thian Hui, 48, a married man with two daughters and a son, was also slapped with a 36-year jail term and ordered to be caned 24 times.

The sentences were among the harshest meted out in recent times in a trial that was unprecedented: A mother who helped in the sexual assaults on her daughter, and even abused her sexually.

She was spared the cane because women are not caned.

In sentencing, Judicial Commissioner Tay Yong Kwang rebuked the couple, condemning the woman as the 'very antithesis of a mother' and Peh for attacking a child who had not even reached puberty.

The judge said: 'The rape of the child occurred with revolting regularity in the very sanctuary called home, sanctioned by the very person whose maternal instincts should be to protect the victim.

'It is an incomprehensible atrocity that a mother would order her little nine-year-old girl to submit to her then 42-year-old lover in this sordid fashion, all in the name of her love for the abuser.'

The court heard that the woman was estranged from her husband when she became Peh's lover in 1990.

That was after they started working together as housing agents, operating out of the woman's three-room flat.

In September 1996, Peh said he wanted to touch the girl, and the mother let him molest the child.

Then he said he wanted to have sex with the nine-year-old and the woman, who claimed to be in love with him, agreed.

She called the little girl into the bedroom and ordered her to submit to Peh. When the child refused, the mother scolded her, using Hokkien vulgarities, and said: 'All women will like such activities.' The sexual abuse became an almost-daily occurrence, stopping only on Sundays and public holidays when the girl's father dropped by to see her and her two older brothers.

It went on for years.

When the girl was 13, Peh raped her in the back of his van at a Pasir Ris Park carpark while her mother kept a lookout outside.

At least twice, he made the girl take part in sexual activities with her mother, said prosecutors Ravneet Kaur and Francis Ng.

The rapes left the girl with a sexually-transmitted infection.

The girl did not tell anyone until last October, when her mother started divorce proceedings and sought custody of her three children.

The girl, now 14, was unwilling to remain with her mother and finally broke her silence, confiding in a couple she had befriended.

They persuaded her to go to the police, and the two abusers were arrested on Nov 8.

Peh, who was expressionless in court, faced a total of 62 charges and pleaded guilty to 10, including five for rape.

Crying in the dock, the mother faced 60 charges and pleaded guilty to seven - five for helping her lover rape her child, one for molest and another for having obscene VCDs.

Peh's lawyer, Mr Kertar Singh, pleaded for leniency, saying that his client had 'lost his sense of morality' because he was sexually abused as a child and exposed to pornography constantly.

Lawyer Peter Yap, for the mother, said that her life was 'tragic and doomed from the very start' as she, too, had been sexually abused and 'unloved' in her marriage.

The prosecutors called on the court to punish the mother as severely as Peh, because she had betrayed 'the inherent trust that is so naturally placed on the mother as the nurturer and protector of her children'.

Copyright © 2002 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

blob Follow-up: 31 May 2002 - Police release photo of jailed rapist

Corpun file 9190


The Straits Times, Singapore, 26 May 2002

Tough camp helps boys to get back on track

By Pauline Leong

EXAMINATIONS were over, so the 15 boys went camping.

After three days roughing it out at a campsite in Sembawang last week, they emerged shell-shocked.

Camp was no picnic. The daily programme included marching, push-ups and carrying heavy logs and water-filled canoes.

Instilling discipline To instil discipline, the boys were put on a strict programme which included marching and push-ups. -- STEPHANIE YEOW

It was organised by Family Life Centre, collaborating with the Prisons Department, and intended for problematic kids.

The aim was to get them to reform before they got into trouble with the law.

It is a less severe version of Boot Camp, a youth-rehabilitation project by the Subordinate Courts for juvenile delinquents started in 1996.

But the boys, aged between 13 and 16 and sent there by their school because of their bad behaviour, still found this Camp Tough to be, well, tough.

Alex, 16, said : 'I joined the camp because I thought that it was going to be fun.'

But on Day One, which was a Thursday, the group was made to stand in the sun and run several rounds around the camp because they were too noisy.

'Some of us had to carry logs or crawl on all fours every time we did something wrong.'

They were not allowed to bring any form of entertainment with them; no walkmans, discmans, games or even cards.

Designer clothes and branded items were also disallowed.

Alex and his friends even thought of running away that night.

'We were all so tired. We talked about wanting to run back home to sleep,' he confessed.

But the rag-tag bunch did not have the energy to plan their escape from the isolated campsite, which is located next to the Prisons Training School.

Prison officers also dropped by, to screen a video on life behind bars as well as how caning is carried out.

Said Mr David Kan, executive director of Family Life Centre: 'We want to show that they could end up in there if they don't change their bad habits.'

It was enough to scare Alex, a former gang member.

He said: 'I'm very lucky that I didn't end up in jail. And I plan to stay that way.'

Corpun file 9193


The Straits Times, Singapore, 29 May 2002

Pair terrorise teens to steal mobile phones

Both culprits given jail term and strokes of cane

By Elena Chong
Court Correspondent

A CRIMINAL pocketed more than 30 Nokia mobile phones in a four-month crime spree targeting teenage boys.

Mageswaran Ramasamy, 19, an odd-job labourer, either robbed the boys or took their phones from them under false pretences.

On half of the occasions, he acted in conjunction with his friend Roslan Jaffar, 20, who is waiting to be enlisted into national service.

The men would approach the victim and accuse him of beating up their friend. Or, they would ask if he was from a gang, or whether he had been involved in a fight the previous day.

They would get the victim to follow them to a staircase landing where they would demand the phone or snatch it from him.

At times, they would ask the victim for his phone to make a call, then disappear with it.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Donovan Loh said that, in one case, Mageswaran and Roslan followed two 14-year-olds from Khatib MRT Station to Block 802 Yishun Ring Road on Jan 19.

Roslan then grabbed one of the boys by the neck and accused both of them of beating up his friend.

He led one of the teens to an area of stone tables, while Mageswaran took the other to the second floor.

They intimidated the boys, who handed over their phones -- worth $300 and $150 -- out of fear.

The culprits were arrested in late January.

Yesterday, Mageswaran faced 34 charges in a district court.

He pleaded guilty to nine charges - five of robbery, two of a criminal breach of trust and one each of taking morphine and deserting from his full-time national service duties at Civil Defence.

The total amount of property he stole between last September and January amounted to $13,110, of which only $1,930 was recovered.

Roslan, who faced 18 charges, pleaded guilty to three robbery charges and two of misappropriating property between Dec 29 last year and Jan 22.

Mageswaran was sentenced to a total of 10 years and four months behind bars while Roslan got six years. Both will also get 24 strokes of the cane.

Mageswaran, who has an 18-month-old son, has previous convictions for snatch theft, burglary, fighting and disorderly behaviour.

Roslan has been placed on probation before for being a member of an unlawful assembly.

They could each have been jailed for up to 14 years for robbery.

For criminal breach of trust, the maximum penalty is three years' jail.

Copyright © 2002 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 9280


The Straits Times, Singapore, 31 May 2002

Police release photo of jailed rapist

POLICE have released the photograph of the man who was convicted last week for raping his lover's young daughter over a period of four years.

Mugshot of Peh Peh Thian Hui, 48, faced 62 charges, including 54 of rape. He was sentenced to 36 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane last week. He preyed on his girlfriend's daughter for four years.

Peh Thian Hui, a 48-year-old father of three, was jailed for 36 years by the High Court and ordered to be given 24 strokes of the cane.

His lover, a 35-year-old woman, was also sentenced to 36 years' jail for helping him to rape her own daughter and for abusing her sexually.

The sentences were among the harshest meted out in recent times.

The woman cannot be named to protect the identity of the girl, who is now 14.

During the trial, the deputy public prosecutor had asked the court to withhold Peh's particulars too, but Judicial Commissioner Tay Yong Kwang said it was not necessary because Peh was not related to the girl.

The woman was estranged from her husband when she became Peh's lover in 1990, after they started working together as housing agents, operating out of the woman's three-room flat.

Peh started abusing the girl when she was nine and did it almost every day.

The victim reported the abuse last October after her mother started divorce proceedings and sought custody of her and her two siblings.

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