Goh Thiam Leng, 43, walked into a jewellery shop at People's Park Complex, tried on a $28,100 gold bracelet, left without paying.
The theft in March this year was witnessed by security officers, who gave chase, along with other members of the public who heard the commotion. They caught up with Goh in the vicinity of New Market Road Food Centre where Goh then brandished a 20-cm-long knife. He was eventually cornered near Upper Cross Street where a member of the public took a wooden pole and swung it at Goh, who dropped the knife.
Two days earlier, Goh had threatened Mr Lee Choon Kiang, 55, who used to work with him. He had asked for $20,000, which Mr Lee was unwilling to fork out because it was the third time Goh had approached him for money.
Mr Lee relented and gave him $100 for transportation fee. Goh charged at Lee with a fruit knife and gave him a two-week ultimatum - either give him the money or his life.
Today, Goh was sentenced to five years of corrective training and 10 strokes of the cane.
Corrective training can last between five and 14 years, and is a tough prison regime for repeat offenders without remission for good behaviour.