Snatch thief gets jail and six strokes of the cane

SINGAPORE - A snatch thief was jailed for five and a half years and ordered to be given six strokes of the cane on Friday.

Bhuaneswaran M. Perumal, 48, admitted trying to steal a $2,000 gold chain from Ms Kalaivani Murali, 31, at a second floor lift lobby of a block of flats in Yishun Street 21 on July 17.

He also pleaded guilty to stealing 83-year-old Madam Chen Rui Lian's handbag in a lift at a block on June 3 and snatching Madam Kamala Abimanan's gold chain worth $3,000 on June 25. Both thefts took place at HDB blocks on Yishun Ring Road.

The court heard Bhuaneswaran managed to take only a part of Madam Kalaivani's gold chain as it broke when she held on it. He pawned the broken gold piece for $230 but the item was recovered.

On June 3, he grabbed the old woman's handbag containing $550 and other personal items and ran out of the lift on the sixth floor. Madam Chen tried to give chase but fell and suffered abrasions on her hands.

About three weeks later, he was waiting for a friend at a void deck when he saw Madam Kamala, 56, returning home with bags of groceries and decided to follow her. He went into the lift with the victim and grabbed her gold chain.

She struggled and screamed for help. He pawned the gold chain for $1,300 and spent the money on daily expenses and paying debts.

He has previous convictions dating from 1985 to 1999 for drug and property-related offences and causing hurt with a dangerous weapon.