SINGAPORE - A disgruntled insurance agent who sent anonymous threatening letters to his former and potential clients failed in his appeal against his jail sentence for criminal intimidation and harassment on Friday (July 19).
Myanmar national Ye Lin Myint, 36, was sentenced to two years and five months' jail in January.
He had pleaded guilty to five counts of criminal intimidation and eight harassment charges, while 30 other charges for similar offences were taken into consideration during sentencing.
On Friday, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon dismissed his appeal, saying the jail sentence was "not manifestly excessive" and "if anything, it was on the low side".
Some time in mid-2017, Ye Lin Myint, a Singapore permanent resident who was an agent with Prudential at the time, felt disrespected when his clients cancelled their policies with him and prospective clients did not turn up for their scheduled appointments.
Angered by their actions, he sent them e-mails and letters with the pseudonym "Lord Voldermort" - a misspelling of the name of boy wizard Harry Potter's nemesis - between August and September in 2017.
He threatened to harm them if they did not send him one bitcoin, which was worth about $6,600 at the time.
When they did not accede to his demands, he decided to target their neighbours instead.
In his letters to the neighbours of his clients, whom he did not know, he threatened to harass their units if they did not get his clients to pay him what he wanted.
His actions eventually led the Singapore Police Force and Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah to issue online advisories, in which victims are advised not to respond to the letters.
In his judgment remarks on Friday, the Chief Justice said Ye Lin Myint had acted maliciously and misused confidential information relating to his clients in threatening an escalating cycle of harm if they did not comply with his demands.
The former insurance agent had also falsely represented his clients as being indebted to him in his letters to their neighbours.
Chief Justice Menon also noted that Ye Lin Myint's actions had caused a high degree of public alarm given the "sheer number of victims" he targeted.
While he acknowledged that Ye Lin Myint had been depressed at the time, the Chief Justice noted that the psychiatric evidence showed it was a "mild episode of depression with no significant contributory link to the offence".
By sending the letters anonymously, it showed that he had intended to prey on his victims' fear, said the Chief Justice.
"When you have an anonymous threat, the person can't take steps to protect himself, because you don't know where the threat is from," Chief Justice Menon said.
"They didn't know anything about him, but he knew all about them," he added.