Man jailed six months for stealing $6,300 worth of milk powder

SINGAPORE - A man who stole milk powder some two months after his release from a long prison term was jailed for six months on Thursday.

Teo Chuan Beng, 57, who faced nine charges of stealing milk powder totalling $6,323 from supermarkets, admitted to five charges of theft.

The cases against his alleged accomplices, Soo Guan Khwee, 42, and Lim Soon Huat, 69, both unemployed, have yet to be dealt with.

A district court heard that Teo, a craftsman in a landscaping firm, suffered heavy losses from soccer betting during the World Cup tournament, and owed $8,000 to $9,000.

Soo suggested that they could steal milk powder from supermarkets and sell it to make money.

Teo agreed to join in.

Teo and an accomplice stole 20 tins of milk powder worth $1,618 at Giant at Woodlands Road on Sept 13, while another man acted as a lookout.

The other thefts were committed at NTUC FairPrice outlets in Bishan and Geylang, and Giant in Serangoon Central and Aljunied, between Aug 17 and Sept 16.

The stolen items were not recovered as they had been sold.

Teo has previous convictions for possessing an offensive weapon, robbery and drug-related records.

In June, he was released from a 17-year jail term, where he had also received six-strokes of the cane, for drug trafficking and other drug offences.

District Judge Ng Peng Hong told Teo that he was lucky the prosecution had not sought preventive detention or corrective training.

"I think you should be kept in prison for as long as possible," he said.

"Despite 17 years six strokes, the moment you came out from prison, what did you do? Gambling, stealing."

Teo could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined on each charge.