Two Chinese nationals jailed for stealing from mosque donation boxes

Two Chinese nationals who travelled here specifically to commit crime were each jailed for five months on Friday for stealing $1,719 from a mosque.

Wei Rengu, 30, and Qin Shi Gang, 29, admitted to the theft at Masjid Sultan at Muscat Street on Oct 10.

An executive officer of the mosque was viewing the CCTV footage that day when he saw Qin fishing money out of a donation box and Wei pretending to take photographs of the surroundings. The pair moved from one donation box to another.

Mr Asmawi Said, 59, immediately went to confront the two men. He saw Qin holding on to some money that he had managed to fish out from the donation box.

He went up to them and asked for their particulars. Qin fled while Wei was detained.

Qin's particulars were established through subsequent investigation. He was arrested while trying to leave the country at Changi Airport.

Among the items seized were cash of $1,719, a red folder containing seven metal plates with black strings, a silver torch and a laptop bag with a hole cut into the base.

Further investigations showed that they had travelled here from China to Singapore on Oct 5. They visited the mosque the next day and returned three days later with the intention of stealing money from the mosque's donation boxes, only to be thwarted as a member of the staff was observing them closely then.

They then returned on Oct 10 to carry out the offences. They had been taught by an unknown person in China how to go about stealing from the donation boxes.

They could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.