Man tried to rob elderly woman, sentenced to two years' jail and six strokes of cane

SINGAPORE - After following an elderly woman into the lift as she returned home, Lee Swee Chung brandished a penknife and demanded money from her.

But the 69-year-old did not have any cash on her, and she ran out of the lift and shouted for help. Lee was caught on camera and later arrested.

On Tuesday, Lee, 46, was sentenced to the minimum of two years in jail and six strokes of the cane for attempted robbery on Aug 15.

The court heard that Lee, then a driver, had followed Madam Lee Ah Cheng to her HDB block along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 around 11.50pm that night. Madam Lee, who noticed Lee following her, saw him putting on a pair of latex gloves at one point.

She hurried into the lift and tried to close the door but he used his hand to prevent it from closing, before entering and pressing the button for a higher floor.

As the lift was ascending, Lee suddenly demanded $500 in Hokkien but his would-be victim claimed she did not have any cash on her. He reduced his demand to $100, but she repeated she had no money. This was when Lee threatened her with the penknife, shouting "No money!" at her in frustration. The lift arrived at her floor at this point, and Lee fled the scene.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Andrew Low pointed out the offence had taken place late at night, and against a vulnerable victim. Lee had shown a degree of premeditation in following her and had caused fear and alarm to her by his use of the penknife, Mr Low added.

Besides at least six strokes of the cane, Lee could have been jailed for between two and seven years.