SINGAPORE - An unemployed man noticed an elderly woman wearing a thick gold chain with a jade pendant, followed her into a lift and subsequently robbed her, a district court heard.
Muhammad Zulfiqah Khairul Anwar, 25, was sentenced to two years and three months in jail and six strokes of the cane on Wednesday (July 5) after admitting to robbing Madam Toh Ai, 78, of her $2,000 gold chain. The robbery took place at a lift lobby at a block of flats in Hougang Avenue 8 on June 11 last year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wee Hao said that Madam Toh was walking home after buying groceries nearby at about noon that day when Zulfiqah decided to take her gold chain.
He followed her to the lift lobby. Madam Toh chatted with a neighbour for a few minutes before getting into the lift. He followed her in, but did not press any button.
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When Madam Toh exited the lift, he pulled her gold chain, causing it to break and drop to the floor, with the jade pendant detached. He also forcefully pushed her and she fell. He picked up the gold chain from the floor and fled.
Madam Toh tried to give chase while shouting for help, but lost sight of him.
A 33-year-old man heard her shouts and called the police.
A police officer was searching for Zulfiqah at about 11pm that day when he saw him boarding a taxi along Cassia Link. Zulfiqah was later arrested along Guillemard Road.
He claimed that the victim's gold chain with a broken hook found in his pocket belonged to his friend. The jade pendant was recovered.
Pleading for leniency, Zulfiqah's lawyer Gino Hardial Singh said his client committed the offence out of desperation as he had depleted his savings and was facing immense stress.
The former logistics officer at Giant warehouse lost his job in March last year due to an injury to his right ankle, the lawyer said.
"He became foolishly involved in the commission of the offence and has resolved to turn over a new leaf," said Mr Singh.
A second similar charge was taken into consideration for sentencing.
Zulfiqah, who had convictions for assisting in unlicensed moneylending and criminal breach of trust in 2013, could have been jailed for up to 10 years and caned at least six times for robbery.