SINGAPORE - An illegal hawker from Hong Kong broke into several offices and stole about $93,000 in cash and items while on social visit passes here between 2006 and 2015.
After Tsang Wing Ming's arrest on Dec 7 last year, his blood sample was taken. His DNA matched swabs taken from the scenes of crime including a screwdriver.
On Thursday (July 6), the 55-year-old was jailed for four years and three months after he pleaded guilty to four housebreaking-related charges. Three other charges were considered in sentencing.
In passing sentence, District Judge Jasvender Kaur said she could not accept his counsel Ho Lifen's submission that he be sentenced to 31/2 years.
"In my view, that is inadequate, considering the fact that you came here solely to commit these offences,'' she said.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jasmine Chin-Sabado had sought a sentence of 41/2 years for his offences.
The court heard that at about 11.45pm on Sept 18, 2011, Tsang broke into Chia Khim Lee Food Industries at Defu Lane 10 and stole $500. The safe had been forced open but there were no valuables inside.
In another burglary in Sept 2013, he gained entry into Osaka Agency at Kim Chuan Terrace through a window and stole $4,142 and 120,000 yen (S$1,551). He also broke into another office there, Sut Lick Trading but did not steal anything. The drawers were found ajar and a safe had been dragged to another room. A screwdriver was found on the floor.
On Aug 7, 2015, Tsang stole cash totalling $33,933 from a safe after forcing it open at Detpak Packaging at Pandan Loop Hong Leong Building.
DPP Chin-Sabado told the court that Tsang stole from offices in Singapore and not Hong Kong because he knew that Singaporeans have the habit of keeping money in their offices.
"The accused stole money as his goods were sometimes confiscated by the government and he needed money to replenish his goods,'' she said.
No restitution has been made.
Ms Ho said in her mitigation plea that her client, a father of two, was not a professional burglar. She said it was evident that his acts were opportunistic, involved a low degree of premeditation and lacked careful planning.
She said he has actively sought help to turn over a new leaf, is remorseful and looks forward to completing his punishment to be reunited with his family, especially his wife who is ill.
The maximum punishment for housebreaking and theft by day is 10 years' jail. For housebreaking by night, the maximum punishment is three years' jail and a fine.
Housebreaking and theft by night is punishable with up to 14 years' jail.