Drug addict gets jail, caning for robbery

Culprit attacked a cleaner, took his ez-link card and $60 in cash

A 49-year-old jobless drug addict, who assaulted a 56-year-old hawker centre cleaner while robbing him of $60, yesterday received the minimum sentence of five years' jail with 12 strokes of the cane.

Suhaimi Ibrahim pleaded guilty to one charge of robbery with hurt, and one count of drug use.

A district court heard that Suhaimi left his home in Tampines Street 21 in the early hours of May 25, looking for targets to rob.

At about 5.40am, Mr Leong Kok Cheong left his home, also in Tampines Street 21, and walked towards a bus stop a few blocks away.

Mr Leong was in the void deck of Block 230G Tampines Street 24, when Suhaimi hit his back with a belt-like object. Mr Leong grabbed hold of the object, but Suhaimi punched him and he fell.

The attacker continued raining blows on Mr Leong's face as he lay on the ground.

During the assault, Mr Leong's wallet fell out of his shirt pocket, but he held on to it with his right hand while on the floor.

However, Suhaimi pinned him down, threw more punches at him, snatched the wallet and fled back home.

The wallet contained some cards and $60 in cash.

Suhaimi pocketed the money and an ez-link card and threw the rest of the items away.

He then exchanged the cash and card for some cigarettes and sleeping tablets with an unknown person in the area, the court heard.

Mr Leong went back home with a swollen eye and bleeding from his gums, an elbow and a knee. His older brother called the police.

He was given 14 days of medical leave.

Police arrested Suhaimi at his home at about 4pm the same day.

His urine tested positive for morphine, and he admitted taking heroin since January. Heroin breaks down into morphine in the body.

The punishment for robbery with hurt is between five and 20 years' jail, with at least 12 strokes of the cane; and for heroin use, up to 10 years' jail and a $20,000 fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'Drug addict gets jail, caning for robbery'. Print Edition | Subscribe