Ex-hotel worker jailed for robbing former employer

SINGAPORE - An ex-hotel employee returned to her former workplace in the middle of the night and committed robbery, making off with $660 after threatening the receptionist with a pair of scissors.

Norlinah Jafar, 36, first asked Ms Fatimah Mohamed Hussain to go to the toilet, which would have left the cash drawer unattended.

The receptionist refused, but Norlinah briefly brandished the weapon and then pulled her into the toilet. Ms Fatimah, 37, handed over the drawer keys in fear shortly after. Norlinah then unlocked the drawer, took the money, and fled in a taxi. She used the loot for personal expenses, and has not returned the money.

On Friday, Norlinah was jailed for three years for the robbery committed at around 2.40am on Oct 22 at New Happy Hotel at Lorong 10 Geylang.

Her total sentence comes to three years and two weeks, after she received a further two weeks' prison for misappropriating $936 from Dragon Court Hotel in Mosque Street. Norlinah was also given a week in jail for using criminal force on a 20-year-old prostitute after others had assaulted the victim, in a separate incident. The court ordered this punishment to run concurrently with the first two.

She committed the offence at Dragon Court Hotel just four days before the robbery, less than a day into a second employment stint there. Norlinah had earlier been sacked for taking Dragon Court's money, but was rehired as a receptionist.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Andrew Low said that the robbery victim, Ms Fatimah, had been placed in fear and forcibly pulled into an enclosed area. He pointed out, among other things, how Norlinah had committed her multiple offences in just the month of October.

Norlinah, who is slim and bespectacled with short, dyed hair, was fined $500 in January for theft.

She pleaded guilty to three of five charges on Friday, with the rest taken into consideration. She could have been jailed for between three and 14 years for robbery between 7pm and 7am.