Armed with a knife, a 38-year-old man loitered in his neighbourhood, near Jalan Bukit Merah, looking for somebody to rob.
On Aug 19 last year, Mohammad Hamzah Abdul Motalib spotted a nurse walking home at around 9.20pm. He then attacked and robbed her.
Yesterday, Hamzah, who did not have a lawyer, was jailed for six years and ordered to be given 12 strokes of the cane, after he pleaded guilty to committing robbery with hurt.
The court heard that he had been walking around the Kim Tian area when he saw Ms Kyi Pyar Naing Lin, 26, whose attention was on her mobile phone.
He tailed her to Block 127A.
As Ms Naing Lin was running to catch a lift, Hamzah caught up with her, slashed her right hand with his 25cm blade and pushed her into the lift.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Amanda Sum said: "At this point, the victim reflexively caught hold of the knife with her right hand to prevent the accused from cutting her neck with it. A struggle ensued.''
Ms Naing Lin dropped her phone in the struggle and eventually let go of the knife.
Hamzah took the phone and ran home to Block 127C, which was nearby.
Several residents heard Ms Naing Lin's screams, came to her help and called the police.
The police received the call at around 10pm and Hamzah was arrested in his flat about three hours later.
Ms Naing Lin suffered a slash wound on the back of her right hand and a cut on her right index finger.
The prosecutor, in asking for jail and the cane, stressed that Hamzah had committed armed robbery.
She added that while Hamzah has schizophrenia and was having a mild relapse at the time of the robbery, an Institute of Mental Health senior consultant had felt that he was not of unsound mind when he committed the crime.
This was attributed to the organised manner in which he had planned and carried out the robbery.
Hamzah pleaded for a light sentence. Robbers who cause hurt can be jailed for up to 20 years and receive at least 12 strokes of the cane.