Man gets 7 years and 12 strokes for robbery with hurt

Two women were robbed of their expensive watches and one was forced to write a cheque for $100,000 when they were lured to a rented flat, threatened, and tied up. One of the watches was returned to them later.
Two women were robbed of their expensive watches and one was forced to write a cheque for $100,000 when they were lured to a rented flat, threatened, and tied up. One of the watches was returned to them later.ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - Two women were robbed of their expensive watches and one was forced to write a cheque for $100,000 when they were lured to a rented flat, threatened, and tied up.

On Monday (June 19), Andrew Sim Kheng Joo, 39, was sentenced to seven years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to robbing Ms Khong Zhi Hui, 30, of the cheque and her Patek Philippe watch worth $50,000, while armed with a penknife.

He also admitted to threatening to harm Ms Khong and her friend, Ms Karen Soh Geok Peng, 47, if they reported the robbery to the police.

His co-accused, Octavius Tok Tien Howe, 43, whose case is yet to be heard, also punched Ms Khong in the mouth and stomach during the robbery on May 25 last year (2016).

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Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaime Pang said it was Tok who had roped Sim into the robbery by pretending his child had been kidnapped and he needed money to pay the kidnappers. Tok also made the arrangements to rent a flat in Cradles Condominium in Lorong Limau, in the Balestier area.

The court heard that Tok was a customer of Ms Soh, who sold handbags at Far East Plaza, and he called her on May 24 last year, purportedly to sell her some bags.

He called Sim the same day to tell him he had a "job'' for him.

The next day, Tok dropped Sim at Whampoa Market to buy duct tape, two penknives and a pre-paid SIM card. Tok then went to meet a property agent.

Tok took Sim to the flat and told him to wait there. Sim was to grab the victims as soon as they entered and tape their mouths and hands.

DPP Pang said Ms Soh and Ms Khong met Tok at Hyatt hotel at about one o'clock in the afternoon and followed his car to the condominium, where they were told the bags were kept.

Once they were in the condo, Tok grabbed Ms Khong by the neck and Sim pushed Ms Soh towards the bed. Tok told Ms Khong to drop her handbag. When she refused, he punched her.

Sim pointed a penknife at Ms Soh and threatened to harm her if she did "anything''. He tied her hands with tape and took pictures of their identity cards.

Sim claimed that Tok owed him a large sum of money and demanded $100,000. Throughout the ordeal, the pair would tell the victims that there were other men outside and they should not try to escape.

The duo robbed Ms Soh of her $31,000 Rolex watch and Ms Khong of her Patek Philippe watch, as well as the cheque. Tok guarded the victims who were tied up while Sim left to cash out the cheque. He then returned to the flat.

The victims were untied and asked for one of the watches to be returned. They chose the more expensive watch.

Sim warned them not to report the matter as the men knew where they lived.

Sim's lawyers from Clas Fellowship, Mr Ng Shi Yang and Ms Wong Su-Jin, highlighted Sim's lack of premeditation and significantly lower level of culpability as well as his remorse and cooperation in their mitigation plea.

Five other charges were taken into consideration in sentencing. Sim's sentence was backdated to May 28 last year. He could have been jailed for up to 20 years with not less than 12 strokes of the cane for robbery with hurt.