6 years and 10 months' jail for man who took part in staged heist involving $418,000

SINGAPORE - A man who took part in a staged robbery involving $418,000 in cash was sentenced on Friday (March 26) to six years and 10 months' jail.

Joshua John Foo Kuo-Li had faced a slew of charges before pleading guilty in a district court earlier this month to one count of cheating linked to the staged heist and two unrelated assault charges.

The 25-year-old Singaporean also admitted to a criminal intimidation charge and seven drug-related offences.

The court heard that Foo had worked with 28-year-old Ernest Leong Zhang Sheng to stage the heist in 2019.

Leong was then engaged as a courier for Royston Lim Swee Sheng, a 39-year-old who was involved in the illicit money-changing trade.

In proceedings which took place earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sunil Nair said that on Feb 19 that year, Leong travelled to South Korea with two other couriers - Ng Yu Jie, 22, and Hong Jing Hui, 28 - to physically transport $418,000 to Singapore.

While in the country, a man handed Ng the money.

He then split the sum among the three couriers for ease of transportation to Singapore.

Leong, who wanted to keep the money for himself, called Foo three days later and told him of the plan to cheat Lim by staging a robbery.

Foo agreed to take part in the crime.

The DPP said: "The act would fool the victim into believing that the money had been taken by unknown robbers who had no connection with Ernest, Yu Jie or Jing Hui."

The three couriers consolidated the cash when they arrived in Singapore on Feb 25 and Ng put the money in a bag.

Leong then told the two other couriers that he had to rush home to attend to "something urgent".

When he left, he told Foo to be ready. The plan was to stage the robbery in Balestier Road.

Foo had engaged two others to help him.

When they reached their destination, Foo pointed a knife at Ng and one of his accomplices snatched a bag containing the cash from Ng's hands. They then fled in a car.

Foo later met Leong for supper in Sims Avenue and received a reward of $50,000 in cash after handing him the bag.

Lim, Ng and Hong were dealt with in court earlier over money-laundering offences, while Leong is still at large.

It was not mentioned if Foo's accomplices will be dealt with in court.

Foo, who was arrested in March 2019, had also assaulted two men and threatened a convenience store worker with a knife in unrelated incidents.