Taxi robber gets 4 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane

SINGAPORE - An unemployed man was sentenced to four years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane for robbing taxi drivers at knife-point.

Ng Kian Yong, 42, admitted to robbing Mr Mohamed Yusoff, 64, of $30 along Lorong 24A Geylang, and Mr Pang Tee Ann, 63, of $280 at the carpark in front of Eunos MRT station on March 19.

He had held a chopper at the necks of his victims before demanding money from them.

Two other charges including an attempted robbery were taken into consideration.

At about 2am that day, Mr Yusoff picked up Ng at a bus stop along Eunos Crescent. He directed the driver to take him to Lorong 24A Geylang.

When the victim reached Lorong 24A and asked for the fare, Ng took out a 20cm-long chopper from his bag and held it at the victim's neck and demanded money. Mr Yusoff handed over $30 to Ng, who alighted and fled.

About two hours later, Ng hailed a cab, driven by Mr Pang, along Lorong 15 Geylang.

When the taxi arrived at the carpark in front of Eunos MRT station, Ng took out his chopper and demanded money from the victim. Mr Pang handed over $280.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Dwayne Lum sought a consecutive sentence, or a higher sentence than the minimum of three years and 12 strokes.

Citing aggravating factors, he said Ng had targeted public transport workers and there was a very real public interest to ensure the safety and security of taxi drivers who ply their trade at night. He said Ng used the same modus operandi in all four charges.

Ng could have been jailed for up to 14 years with at least 12 strokes of the cane on each charge.