NTU professor sentenced to 18 months' mandatory treatment order for shoplifting

NTU  professor Er Meng Joo pleaded guilty to two counts of shoplifting items worth $225.15.
NTU professor Er Meng Joo pleaded guilty to two counts of shoplifting items worth $225.15. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Nanyang Technological University (NTU) professor Er Meng Joo, 55 was given 18 months' mandatory treatment order on Monday (May 22) for multiple counts of shoplifting.

A mandatory treatment order is for offenders who suffer from psychiatric conditions. They must go for psychiatric treatment in lieu of jail time.

On April 20, he pleaded guilty to two counts of shoplifting items worth $225.15.

Five other shoplifting charges involving items worth $228.20 were taken into consideration during sentencing.

He admitted that he repeatedly stole from convenience stores at the petrol stations he frequented.

Er, who is a professor in electrical and electronic engineering, shoplifted items worth $453.35 between Jan 9 and 29 last year.

The elected member of NTU's advisory board from 2009 to 2012, stole items such as air fresheners and toiletries from two NTUC FairPrice outlets at Esso petrol stations in Bukit Timah and Dunearn roads.

He was caught after Mr Lam Wing Kin, who manages both stores, reviewed closed-circuit television footage between Jan 28 and 29 last year and noticed Er behaving suspiciously while inside the Dunearn Road outlet.

One clip from Jan 27 showed Er taking some items, including a wall charger and two bottles of mouthwash, and leaving without paying.

A Jan 29 clip showed Er stealing items such as a power bank, two air fresheners and a micro USB cable.

Realising Er was a regular customer, Mr Lam tracked down his name and his car registration details. He lodged a police report on Jan 30 last year and Er admitted to the offences when police turned up at his home.

Er, who has earned many accolades, served as a member of the university's Senate Steering Committee from 2010 to 2012, according to details NTU posted on its website.

He clinched the Most Zealous Professor of the Year Award in 2009 and five years later, the Outstanding Mentor Award.

Er has also won the Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES) Prestigious Engineering Achievement Award twice, in 2011 and 2015.

He also received the IES Prestigious Publication Award in Theory in 2001.

For each count of shoplifting, he could have been jailed for up to three years and fined.