Teen who punched and robbed engineer in Geylang sentenced to reformative training

Alson Chew Guozhi pleaded guilty to a charge of using criminal force to commit theft and a count of committing robbery at night.
Alson Chew Guozhi pleaded guilty to a charge of using criminal force to commit theft and a count of committing robbery at night.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A 17-year-old snatched a handbag from one victim and punched and robbed another in Geylang in November last year after he lost money gambling there.

On Thursday (Feb 18), Alson Chew Guozhi was sentenced to reformative training.

He had pleaded guilty to a charge of using criminal force to commit theft and a count of committing robbery at night.

A community court heard that on Nov 10 last year, Chew went to Lorong 16 Geylang to gamble with two friends, Daryl Ng Zhong Jun, 16, and Keith Tan Kai Wen, 17.

Chew lost money and hatched a plan to rob a foreigner to get cash.

The trio spotted a 28-year-old Indian national, who appeared drunk.

At about 11pm, Chew asked the man, who had worked in Singapore as a civil engineer for four years, if he wanted a prostitute.

He agreed to follow the trio, and they led him to the staircase of Crystal Lodge, at 30 Lorong 16 Geylang.

Chew then said a prostitute was on the way, and asked the man to pass him money first. But the man insisted on wanting to see her first.

Shortly after, when he tried to leave, Chew pushed the man against the wall. Ng held on to his shoulder while Chew punched him multiple times. Ng also kicked the man. Tan stood by and watched their assault.

After the man fell to the floor, Chew grabbed his wallet from the back pocket of his trousers, while Ng grabbed his mobile phone.

The trio then fled and split their loot. The total value of the stolen items, including cash inside the wallet, was $2,100.

Tan got $100 cash, while Ng took $150 cash and the mobile phone. Chew got the rest.

Two weeks later, at about midnight on Nov 27, Chew again went to gamble at Lorong 16 Geylang with another friend, Benjamin Tan Han Wei, 20.

They lost $300 and Chew suggested that they rob someone.

Shortly after, they spotted a Singaporean man dressed like a woman.

Chew went up to the victim, who was holding on to a handbag, and pretended to ask for the price of his sexual services.

After feigning interest and agreeing upon a price, Chew lured the victim to a hotel in Lorong 22 Geylang.

Just as the victim was about to walk into the hotel, Chew snatched the handbag and ran away. Tan fled in a different direction.

A member of the public caught up with Tan and detained him. Chew was arrested later that day.

The total value of the handbag and items inside amounted to $300.

For using criminal force in committing the theft of the handbag, Chew could have been jailed for seven years and caned. For committing robbery at night, he could have been jailed for 14 years, with at least 12 strokes of the cane.

The cases of Chew's three friends are still before the courts.