Man gets jail and caning for extorting $500 from ex-girlfriend

Mohamed Soffian Abdulah was jailed for two years and ordered to be given three strokes of the cane for extorting $500 from his former girlfriend.
Mohamed Soffian Abdulah was jailed for two years and ordered to be given three strokes of the cane for extorting $500 from his former girlfriend.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - An odd-job labourer who extorted $500 from his former girlfriend was jailed for two years and ordered to be given three strokes of the cane on Wednesday (Sept 21).

Mohamed Soffian Abdulah, 45, who pleaded guilty, was also given one month's jail for misappropriating a $698 Samsung Tab S at a coffeeshop at Bukit Batok East Avenue 3 on June 2 last year.

This sentence was run consecutively with the two years' jail imposed for the Sept 4 extortion charge.

Six other charges, including one of attempted extortion, were taken into consideration during his sentencing.

A district court heard that the victim, a 34-year-old retail assistant, got to know Soffian through a chat line in April last year. They exchanged contact numbers and started to chat.

During their relationship, they became physically intimate.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Star Chen Xinhui said on several occasions, they went to a hotel in Balestier where they had sex. He took nude photographs of her using his mobile phone.

Initially, she asked him to delete the photographs. But she did not object when he told her that he only wanted to keep them for his personal viewing pleasure.

Soffian borrowed money from her but he stopped responding to her text messages and calls after she repeatedly asked him to return the money.

On Aug 19 last year, she received threatening messages from his mobile phone.

Someone claiming to be Soffian's girlfriend "Nana", said she had five nude photographs of the victim and threatened to show the photographs to her family if she did not settle the matter by paying her money.

When the victim did not reply, "Nana" threatened her. She warned her not to report to the police, or else Soffian would send people to her house.

Five days later, "Nana" said she was willing to settle the matter if the victim transferred $1,000 to her account. Otherwise, she would post her nude photographs online.

Out of fear, the victim agreed, and managed to reduce the sum by half. The victim transferred $500 using the POSB ATM machine at Yishun MRT station on Sept 4 the same year.

DPP Chen said it was later revealed that Soffian was behind all these messages and had come up with the fictitious character "Nana" to exert pressure on the victim.

He used the money for daily expenses and his drug habit. No restitution was made.

In the other case, the court heard that Mr Muhammad Saiful-din Mansoor, 26, forgot to take his Samsung tablet with him after breakfast at the coffeeshop at Bukit Batok East Avenue 3 on June 2 last year. He later returned to the coffeeshop to look for it but to no avail. He had also tried calling the Tablet but it was switched off.

Soffian claimed he picked up the Tablet from the floor of the coffeeshop and took it home. He sold it to a friend for $50.

Soffian's nine previous convictions over the years included criminal intimidation, cheating and theft.

He could have been jailed for up to seven years and caned for extortion. For misappropriating property, the maximum penalty is two years' jail and a fine.