SINGAPORE - As his girlfriend needed money, a man suggested that she steal and sell cough mixture from the clinic she was working at.
Ms Ho Min Pei, a student who was then working as a part-time receptionist at T P Sim Family Clinic and Surgery in Bishan Street 11, agreed.
The arrangement was for her to hand the misappropriated bottles of cough mixture to Yap Kailshen, 27, who would then look for buyers.
On Thursday (Oct 12), Yap was given four months' jail for instigating Ms Ho to commit criminal breach of trust of 684 bottles of Dhasedyl cough mixture worth $6,840 from the clinic between July 2015 and January 2016.
He was sentenced to three weeks' jail, to run concurrently, for having 24 bottles of a brown liquid containing codeine for sale without a licence on Jan 25, 2016.
The pair had agreed that Ms Ho would receive $25 from each sale and Yap would keep the rest of the sales proceeds.
The "market value" of illicit cough mixture on the black market was $35 to $40, according to Yap, but he has failed to properly account for how much he sold each bottle for, the court heard.
Ms Ho's services were terminated in January 2016 as a result of her offences. The 23-year-old has since completed her three-month jail sentence.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Randeep Singh Koonar said that the misappropriation occurred on at least 67 occasions.
Ms Ho's profit was at least $16,500.
On the day of the pair's arrest, on Jan 25, 2016, Ms Ho misappropriated 24 bottles of cough mixture from the clinic. She kept some of the bottles in her bag and the rest in her pocket.
She left the clinic at about 9.20pm and passed the bottles of cough mixture to Yap, who was seated on a bench outside.
Health Sciences Authority officers moved in and detained them.
The side effects of codeine, an opiate, include drowsiness, stomach upset, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, blurred vision and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Prolonged use may cause tolerance and dependence, and has been associated with drug abuse.
Yap's lawyer, Ms Choo Yean Lin, said in mitigation that her client secured a three-month work contract as a customer service officer last month. She said he regrets his actions, and that he committed the offencesout of love and infatuation for Ms Ho, and merely wanted to lighten her financial burden.
District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan granted the application for Yap to defer his sentence until Dec 13.
Yap could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined for abetting in criminal breach of trust. Under the Poisons Act, he could have been fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed for up to two years.