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Judicial CP - December 2002


Straits Times, Singapore, 5 December 2002

Case File

Youth molested women in lifts

A MONTH after he was released from jail, a youth went back to his old ways and molested a 23-year-old woman he had forced into a lift.

Lim Lian Hock, 19, committed the offence at a block of flats off Alexandra Road late at night on June 30.

Then, on the afternoon of Aug 12, he struck again. He dragged a 24-year-old woman into a Tiong Bahru lift, slapped her and removed her T-shirt.

He stopped only when she told him that she was an HIV carrier.

Lim, who had finished serving a three-year jail term for molestation in May, was also charged with taking drugs and kicking a police officer in the groin.

He was sentenced to 12 years of corrective training and 12 strokes of the cane.

Copyright @ 2002 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.


Straits Times, 10 December 2002

Ex-con tells about life of jail and caning

'There was no pain at first, just a warm burning sensation but slowly, as feeling returned, the heat became unbearably painful. It felt as if a red-hot iron rod had been pressed against my backside. I felt my flesh tingling and then came the throbbing pain. That was only the first stroke...'

By K.C. Vijayan

FEW things live as vividly in Neivelle Tan's memory as his first six strokes of the cane.

A NEW LEAF: Today, he is a pastor who has put his lessons into print in the 200-page Iron Man. -- DESMOND WEE

He was 18 and had pulled a weapon on a prison officer after being jailed as a juvenile for a gang-related murder.

Over the next 13 years, he would receive a total of 30 strokes across his bare buttocks.

Now a 62-year-old pastor, he describes his criminal exploits, life behind bars, and the excruciating pain of a thick cane landing forcefully on soft flesh in an autobiography to be published this month.

Crime and punishment

• 1957 - Jailed for three months for rioting. He was 17.

• 1958 - Sentenced to indefinite detention for a gang-related murder in Joo Chiat. Spared the gallows because he was two weeks shy of his 18th birthday.

• 1958 - Sentenced to six strokes of the cane for trying to assault a prison officer with a weapon.

• 1959 - Sentenced to 12 strokes for assaulting another inmate.

• 1965 - Is one of 10 prisoners released on a pardon to mark Singapore's independence.

• 1965 - Arrested for a string of armed robberies but escapes while in remand and returns to robbery.

• 1966 - Re-arrested and sentenced to seven years' jail and six strokes of the cane.

'Again I heard the horrible whizzing sound of the descending cane through the air. My whole backside was now totally swollen... I felt like I was ready to black out, but I forced myself to remain conscious and fought back the engulfing darkness,' he writes.

'Then it was all over. They untied me and, as I tried to straighten myself, my legs were so wobbly that they almost buckled.'

Mr Tan's 200-page book is entitled Iron Man, the nickname given to him by other prisoners because he was so tough and stubborn.

He said he became 'the man behind every vice in the prison'.

He was the top prison money lender, using cigarettes as currency for others to gamble, at a 20-per-cent interest rate.

'Ten sticks loaned would reap 12 by the end of the week,' he said.

The business grew and brought in a lot of cash as he got prisoners to repay their debts with money supplied by their family members.

'I had clothes tailor-made, specially washed and pressed for me and on weekends, was able to afford massages, even manicures,' he said.

Once or twice, he got caught.

'During a surprise raid on my prison cell, they found a few hundred dollars rolled up and tucked into the springs of my bed, cracks in the wall, cakes of soap and between slits in my slippers.'

This was the least of it. He also escaped from remand prison, linked up with a gang in Johor Baru and committed a string of armed robberies here while on the run.

Once, he almost pulled off a plan to kill a prison officer with a sharpened metal bar that he broke off from a chair.

His turnaround came while he was doing three months in an isolation cell for making a weapon. He asked for toilet paper and was handed seven pages of the Bible. He read and re-read them.

When he was released in 1971, he went to bible college and, four years later, founded the Church of God in Bedok.

Now married with three grown-up children, people who knew Mr Tan as a hardened criminal marvel at his transformation.

Said a retired prison officer, now in his 70s: 'We used to call him the 'go-stan' (slang for 'go back') man because every time just before release, he would say he wouldn't come back again, but he would turn around and come back for another crime.

'He was the mastermind behind a lot of incidents in the prison but he would pretend he knew nothing, playing the guitar in his cell instead. His prison number 7172 also became a popular 4-D hit.'

Dr Walter Williams, 70, added: 'I used to hear him speak at church functions and what is amazing is the total transformation of the man.

'Here we had someone who was prepared to gouge out his grandmother's eyes to get what he wanted, and yet has been able to change.'


Straits Times, 11 December 2002

Man jailed for robbing five cabbies in four days

Aided by accomplices, he held up the taxi drivers at knifepoint in the period between May 29 and June 1. His loot comprised cell phones, cash and valuables

IN A four-day blitz, Mohamed Mahmud Mohamed Salleh, 19, robbed five taxi drivers of mobile phones, cash and valuables.

Taxi robber Mahmud (left) and his friend, Ridzuwan (right) have both been sentenced to jail and caning.

His reward yesterday was a jail term of 9 years and the maximum 24 strokes of the cane.

Mahmud, who is unemployed, pleaded guilty to four charges of armed robbery and having a flick knife. Two other charges were considered in his sentencing.

He was aided by accomplices, all but one of whom have been caught.

Mahmud and Mohammad Jeff Alfean Abdul Latip, 19; Mohamed Fadhali Hanim, 20; and an unknown man, told Mr Yeow Kim San, 47, to take them to the Hard Rock Cafe in Cuscaden Road at about midnight on May 29.

When the cab stopped in front of the restaurant, Mahmud got out and told the others he was going to look for a suitable place to carry out the robbery.

After a while, Mahmud called Alfean on his mobile phone to get the cabby to drive up the slope, behind Forum The Shopping Mall.

Mr Yeow did so. Fadhali left to act as a lookout. Alfean and the other man stayed in the cab. Once Mahmud returned, Alfean, who held a flick knife, told Mr Yeow they wanted to rob him.

Mr Yeow was cut on the face when he struggled. The robbers fled with his Nokia phone, which they later sold.

At about 4 am the next day, Mahmud and Alfean robbed cabby Ong Peng Sian, 49, at knifepoint in a carpark in Jurong West Street 73.

They took his cell phone, which was worth $220, a CashCard with a $6 value, $200 in cash and bank cards.

The following day, in another carpark on the same street, Mahmud and Alfean robbed taxi driver Tan Hock Guan, 49, of his wallet, cell phone and personal documents, worth $518 in all.

They did the same in a carpark in the next street, Jurong West Street 72, the next day, when they held up cabby Tan Mui Teck, 54, at knifepoint.

Mahmud's friend, Muhamad Ridzuwan Sapary, 19, who is also jobless, was sentenced to five years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane. He pleaded guilty to two charges.

Mahmud and Alfean were with Ridzuwan when he robbed cabby Wong Peng Kiong, 39, of his mobile phone, two CashCards, a gold ring and $180 along Clemenceau Avenue on May 31.

Ridzuwan also robbed, and his accomplice assaulted, a Malaysian woman, Miss Lim May Yee, 20, at a playground in front of a block of flats in Jurong West Street 61 on May 25.

Mahmud, Alfean and Ridzuwan were in a taxi when they were nabbed at a roadblock along Jalan Bahar on June 2. The police found two flick knives on them, one of which was Mahmud's.

Fadhali has already been dealt with.

Alfean, who pleaded guilty in another court earlier on, is due to be sentenced today, when a reformative training report on him is ready.


Straits Times, 12 December 2002

Case File

Cabby robber gets jail, caning

AN UNEMPLOYED youth who used a knife to rob taxi drivers, was yesterday sentenced to 9 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane.

Mohammad Jeff Alfean Abdul Latip, 19, had earlier pleaded guilty to four charges of armed robbery, including one with hurt, and a fifth charge of having the flick knife.

The robberies were committed with one to three accomplices between May 29 and June 2. Except for one man who is at large, all the culprits have been dealt with.

Copyright @ 2002 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.


Straits Times, 12 December 2002

Youth took part in 5 robberies in a month

The 18-year-old, who was on probation, was sentenced to 11 years' jail and 24 strokes for the robberies and for stealing items from a car

MUHAMMAD Halim Mahmood was 16 when he took part in his first crime.

He stole a CashCard and four toy cars from a car in Tampines Street 22.

The value of the items came up to about $44 and he was put on 18 months' probation.

However, the 18-year-old youth blew his chance of a new start when he took part in a series of robberies while on probation.

In one of the robberies on April 2 this year, he and a 27- year-old accomplice were the lookouts while two 16-year-old accomplices beat up a 16-year- old student in a lift and stole the teen's $608 Nokia mobile phone.

This took place at Block 253 Tampines Street 21.

Ten days later, Halim and four accomplices accused a couple of staring at them at the void deck of Block 424 Bedok Avenue 1.

They beat up the man and snatched his companion's Motorola cellular phone, worth $600.

On April 15, Halim and his accomplices were in Tampines, where they punched a 17-year-old youth at the void deck of Block 939 Tampines Street 91 and took his mobile phone worth $490.

They committed robbery with hurt against two more youths in Bedok on April 16 and 18.

At the trial yesterday, Halim, who had seven other charges considered, pleaded for one more chance to turn over a new leaf.

But Assistant Public Prosecutor Abdul Halim Ibrahim argued that he had abused the magnanimity of the court when he breached his probation and went on the robbery spree.

Mr Abdul Halim said that most of the victims were young and five were 16 years and younger.

District Judge Adrian Soon agreed that Halim did not deserve another chance and sentenced him to a total of 11 years and 24 strokes of the cane for the five robberies and the theft from the vehicle.

Copyright @ 2002 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

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