Former part-time cleaner sentenced to three weeks' jail for stealing $7,000 from piggy bank

SINGAPORE - A woman hired as a part-time help found a piggy bank containing $7,000 in the Woodlands flat she was cleaning.

Norashikin Abdullah, 21, then took the Hello Kitty piggy bank that was in a wardrobe to the kitchen, where she pried it open and pulled out the bank notes inside.

She did this while the victim, Ms Rebecca Lee Li Zhen, 23, was asleep. Ms Lee had paid her $50 before going to her room to sleep on Feb 28 last year.

When Norashikin left the flat, she threw the piggy bank into the rubbish chute before taking a taxi to JCube shopping centre to meet Muhammad Shauqil Muhammad Shawal, now 22.

After depositing six $1,000 notes into her own bank account, she transferred $3,000 to Shauqil and another $500 to a friend she owed money to.

She also withdrew $2,000 which she used with the rest of the money she stole to go on a shopping spree. She bought a wallet for Shauqil and also clothes and other items for her daughter.

Ms Lee discovered the theft later that day. She made a police report after Norashikin denied she saw or stole the piggy bank.

District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt had called for a probation report after Norashikin admitted to the offence on Nov 30.

On Thursday (Jan 11), she was sentenced to three weeks' jail but the sentence is stayed pending her appeal.

Her pro bono lawyer Sherrie Han filed a notice of appeal. She had asked the court to place the single mother, a warehouse assistant, on probation. She said Norashikin, who has learnt a painful lesson, can be rehabilitated and should be given a second chance.

But Deputy Public Prosecutor Kong Kuek Foo asked for a jail term of at least four weeks. He told the court that Norashikin was a recalcitrant offender and had been placed on the guidance programme before, also for theft.

Her risk of reoffending, according to the probation report, has been assessed as "moderate''.

DPP Kong said there was an abuse of trust. Norashikin was hired to clean the flat but abused the trust by stealing Ms Lee's money. No restitution has been made.

Police seized $2,818 and items bought with the stolen money from Norashikin and Shauqil. Shauqil has been dealt with separately, for receiving stolen money.

The maximum penalty for theft is three years' jail and a fine.