Man gets 3 years' jail, 12 strokes of the cane for robbing 7-Eleven of cigarettes at night

SINGAPORE - For robbing a 7-Eleven store of eight packets of cigarettes, a first-time offender was sentenced to three years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane on Thursday (Sept 30).

Muhamad Ismail Zainudin, 40, who was working as a security officer, was convicted on one charge of robbery at night.

On Thursday, he begged for leniency and promised never to repeat the offence after pleading guilty to the charge.

But District Judge Luke Tan said the mandatory minimum required by law for the charge was three years' jail and 12 strokes, which he then handed to Muhamad Ismail.

At about 4.10am on April 19, Muhamad Ismail went to the 7-Eleven in Bukit Batok Street 52 wearing a dark-coloured long sleeved top with a hoodie over his head.

He bought and paid for a bottle of coffee before asking if he could buy alcohol. The cashier refused and said she would call the police if he refused to leave.

Muhamad Ismail then showed her part of a plastic dummy nunchaku in his pocket, and told her to sit down or he would cut her.

The cashier complied and pleaded with him not to hurt her.

He then took eight packets of cigarettes from the store and fled home.

Security footage from his block showed him leaving and returning while using an umbrella to shield himself from the police cameras.

But the police were still able to trace and arrest him on the same day.

Officers searched his unit and found the plastic dummy nunchaku, consisting of two 26cm parts and a plastic chain. They also found the cigarette packs, of which one had been opened.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Delicia Tan urged the court to jail Muhamad Ismail for three years and a month with 12 strokes of the cane.

She said the uplift of one month was because he took calculated steps to avoid detection, and that the use of the dummy weapon was a calculated move to cause fear.

She also asked for him to pay back $12.20 for the opened packet of cigarettes, with a default jail term if he failed to do so.

Muhamad Ismail, who did not have a lawyer, said he was fully remorseful and that he committed the offence out of anger. He pleaded with the court for leniency.

Judge Tan said there was clear planning involved, but noted that he was a first-time offender. He also said he would not make the compensation order.

He backdated the sentence to April 19.

Those convicted of committing robbery between 7pm and 7am face a minimum of three years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane, with a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

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