Ex-corporal jailed for pocketing $100 belonging to man

SINGAPORE - A corporal who pocketed $100 while he was doing property registration at the Police Cantonment Complex was jailed for three months on Monday.

Desmond Soh Wei Feng, 22, who was then attached to Bedok police division, admitted to criminal breach of trust of the sum at the property registration room of the person-in-custody facility at the New Bridge Road complex on June 18 last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Eunice Lim said Soh's duty at the time was to register the property of the persons-in-custody and ensure that it was accounted for. He was assisted by another officer, Special Constable Mohamed Hafeez Khan Mohamed Sulaiman who also acted as a "witness for accountability".

The property registration officer has to lay out the belongings of the person-in-custody in his presence, and snap a photograph of it. The photograph is saved and printed out for records, and attached to a registration form stating the items shown on the photograph.

These are then sealed in a bag in the presence of the witnessing officer and the person-in-custody.

That morning, Soh registered a 49-year-old man's belongings and asked the man and the officer to sign on three copies of the form.

He then packed the items with the signed form and photograph into the bag, sealed it and directed SC Hafeez to escort the man to the cell, which is not the proper procedure. He did so to take the money from the bag, said Ms Lim.

After the duo had left, he removed two $50 notes from the bag before sealing it. He then kept the money in his pocket and handed the sealed bag to the registration officer.

Investigations showed that he spent $70 on meals, cigarettes and petrol. In the course of investigations, $30 was seized from him. He has paid back the $70.

Ms Lim said Soh was supposed to uphold the law but had abused his position of trust. Offences by law enforcement officers are treated seriously, she said, and the public is entitled to expect a higher standard of conduct of honesty and integrity.

Soon, who is no longer with the police force, could have been jailed for up to seven years and/or fined.

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