Duo who allegedly stole $500,000 from shop believed to have been involved in other cases

Nguyen Van Nhat (left) and Ngo Quang Phuoc.
Nguyen Van Nhat (left) and Ngo Quang Phuoc.ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Two Vietnamese men who allegedly made off with half a million dollars in cash after breaking into a fruit wholesale shop in the wee hours of Tuesday morning were charged in court on Thursday (Jan 7).

Nguyen Van Nhat, 23, and Ngo Quang Phuoc, 35, are alleged to have committed house breaking by cutting the ceiling window grille to enter Loh Ee Seng Trading Company at about 1.30am on Tuesday and stealing $500,000 from a safe in the unit. The shop is located at Blk 25 Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre.

The police prosecutor told the court that the men are believed to have been involved in other similar cases.

District Judge Christopher Goh granted the prosecution's application to remand both men at the Central Police Division for a week, with permission for them to be taken out for investigations.

Their cases will be mentioned again on Jan 14.

The police said they nabbed the duo at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) at about 10.30pm on the same day of the alleged theft, some 16 hours after the shop owners discovered the break-in.

 

The two men had allegedly used the stolen money to buy luxury goods, including a pair of Gucci shoes and a Louis Vuitton belt.

About $433,000 in cash and several luxury goods were recovered from the hotel room in MBS where they had been staying since Saturday.

The suspects' identities were established by police after a taxi driver told them that he had picked up the pair along West Coast Highway early on Tuesday morning.

The cash amount is the largest police have seen in a housebreaking case in the past two years.

The fruit shop owners had said they had been keeping the money in the safe since the middle of last month to prepare for the Chinese New Year peak season. The cash was meant for suppliers, and as bonuses for employees.

If convicted, the two suspects each face between two and 14 years' jail, and a fine.