Clinic assistant jailed one week for stealing cash from patient

SINGAPORE - Out of greed, a clinic assistant stole the $200 that a patient had brought to pay for a heart screening.

Ong Ee Min, 24, took the cash from Ms Ng Qi Ying's wallet as the 15-year-old lay on a bed, unable to see her belongings which had been placed on a chair nearby.

Ong lied that she had not seen the money when Ms Ng, a secondary school student, later approached her at the counter to make payment. She pretended to help her victim look for the cash, but eventually admitted what she had done to police.

On Wednesday, Ong broke down in the dock as she was sentenced to a week in prison for the theft. This was committed on March 14 at the Cardiac Centre in the KK Women's and Children's Hospital, where she was then a clinic assistant.

Her mother began crying in the dock and had to be comforted by her father. Ong's parents declined comment after the hearing.

The court heard that Ong had been convicted of similar offences in 2011 and 2013. She received a probation term and fine respectively for those.

District Judge Low Wee Ping said he hoped the short stint in prison would help Ong to reform.

Ong's lawyer told the court she was remorseful. Pleading for leniency, Ong said she did not know what would happen to her mother.

She could have been jailed for up to three years and fined.

pohian@sph.com.sg