Man who stole Hermes bags for girlfriend jailed

An IT trainer staged an elaborate burglary to steal luxury items for a woman in China he was in love with and then fled the country.

But Saw Yan Naing, 30, was arrested at Changi Airport when he returned home about two weeks later.

Saw, who left for China just hours after stealing four Hermes bags and a Rolex watch worth a total of $82,800, was yesterday jailed for two years and three months.

Each bag was worth between $7,700 and $29,000, while the watch cost $7,500.

The Singaporean pleaded guilty to breaking into HoBZ House of Brandz on the second floor of The Arcade shopping mall in Collyer Quay at about 2.15am on Dec 30 last year.

Saw worked near The Arcade and was familiar with its layout. He knew that part of the building was under renovation and less secure.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Shana Poon said: "Before going to The Arcade, the accused disguised himself in order to avoid detection. He wore a long-sleeved shirt, a pair of long pants, a wig, a fake moustache and a cap... He also wore a surgical mask and a pair of gloves."

He entered the mall at around 11.10pm on Dec 29 last year via an entrance that was undergoing construction work. That area was out of bounds to the public. After a three-hour wait, he climbed a ladder, opened the false ceiling outside HoBZ House of Brandz, and crawled into the hole overhead before entering the store.

Saw then disabled the store's security alarm and turned off closed-circuit television cameras. He fled with the valuables through the hole in the ceiling and flew to China with his loot about five hours later.

Saw sold some of the items there and gave the rest to his girlfriend.

Singapore police managed to establish his identity, and officers arrested him at Changi Airport when he returned to Singapore at around 1.20am on Jan 12 this year.

Saw has made full restitution.

His lawyer, Mr T. M. Sinnadurai, said his client regretted his actions.

"He understands the seriousness of the offence and is not making any excuses for what he had done."

For housebreaking, Saw could have been jailed for between two and 14 years.