A young robber who fled to Thailand after he was charged with a series of robbery and cheating offences was sentenced to seven years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane on Friday.
Chua Peng Hwee, 24, was 18 when he committed 37 robberies and other offences in 2006. He faces a total number of 43 charges, involving an amount of about $16,012, of which about $700 had been recovered.
He pleaded guilty to six counts of robbing students of their cash and valuables with a 22-year-old accomplice, Kevin Woo Ming Yang, who has since been dealt with.
The court heard that Chua and Woo, who brought along a chopper and knife, would approach the victims - all students - and accuse them of staring or causing hurt, among other things. The victims would be brought to staircase landings of mainly HDB blocks where the duo would take their belongings.
After fleeing, Chua and his accomplice would sell the mobile phones and pawn the jewellery. Chua was arrested on Dec 8, 2006 when he tried to use a stolen identity card to subscribe for a phone line.
A warrant for his arrest was issued in 2007 when he failed to turn up in court to answer to his charges. He ended up in Thailand where he married a Thai woman and is now a father of a two-year-old boy. He was arrested when he came back to Singapore on Oct 18 last year.