NSF gets reformative training for robbing 2 women of $5,500 with accomplices

Koh Zhi Wei was sentenced to reformative training for robbing two women of cash and property totalling more than $5,000 last November.
Koh Zhi Wei was sentenced to reformative training for robbing two women of cash and property totalling more than $5,000 last November. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The fourth person in a robbery case was sentenced to reformative training on Wednesday (July 27) for robbing two women of cash and property totalling more than $5,000 last November.

Full-time national serviceman (NSF) Koh Zhi Wei, 20, was the last in the group to be convicted and sentenced after admitting to robbing housewife Zhang Daoqing, 38, of her $450 iPhone and cash amounting to about $4,282 at a condominium in Geylang East Avenue 2 on Nov 14 last year.

Co-accused Royce Tan Wen Jun, 19, Lydia Cholris Soh Ru Hui, 18, and Chong Sheng Wang, 19, are now serving reformative training for the robbery.

Koh had two other charges taken into consideration, including robbing Ms Zhang's flatmate, Ms Lin Meirui, 41, of her $777 mobile phone.

The court heard earlier that a day before the robbery, Chong suggested to Tan that he could rob prostitutes after the latter said he had gambling debts and wanted to earn money fast through illegal means.

Tan then invited Koh and Soh to join in the robbery by targeting prostitutes as they knew the prostitutes would not report the matter to the police.

The next day, they managed to rent a getaway car, bought gloves and a packet of cable ties for use in the robbery.

While Soh and Chong stayed in the car which was parked nearby, Tan and Koh went to the condominium, bringing along their extendable metal batons.

At about 10.40pm, the pair went to the unit. Armed with the batons, they told Ms Lin to kneel on the floor of the living room. Just then, Ms Zhang came out of her room and was told to kneel. Tan cabled-tied their hands and both took turns to watch the victims while the other, wearing gloves, searched the unit for valuables.

They left after taking property amounting to $4,732. They met Soh and Chong, who drove to a nearby multi-storey carpark where they shared the spoils of the robbery.

Ms Lin reported the robbery to the police three days later.

District Judge Mathew Joseph had called for pre-sentencing reports on Koh. He was recommended for probation and was found fit for reformative training, which is for offenders below 21 and between 18 and 36 months behind bars.

Koh's lawyer Josephus Tan had asked for probation, saying the first-time offender deserved a second chance.

The prosecution maintained its position that reformative training should be imposed in this case.

Citing aggravating factors, Deputy Public Prosecutor Randeep Singh Koonar said the offences, which took place in the sanctity of the victim's home, were calculated and targeted at vulnerable victims for the very reason that they were unlikely to lodge a police report.

Judge Joseph said he was mindful that the youth of the offender should not be held up as a shield to protect him from responsibility for his actions, and young age should not be seen as "automatic immunity'' from consequences for what he did.

The maximum penalty for robbery committed after 7pm is 14 years' jail with not less than 12 strokes of the cane.