A man came up with a plan to rob prostitutes to earn some easy money and his two friends agreed to help him.
They found a target, assaulted her and told her they were police officers, as one of them flashed his Institute of Technical Education (ITE) identification card.
They not only robbed her but also stole from her housemate.
Yesterday, Rigel Douglas Wong, 27, who hatched the plan, was jailed for 31/2 years and given 12 strokes of the cane for robbing masseuse Xiao Meirong, 35, of $1,050 worth of property with Hideyoshi Tanaka, 29, and Gabriel Foo Junxian, 22, and punching her face and pushing her head several times on April 1, 2015.
He also stole an iPad mini and two mobile phones totalling $2,650 from the victim's housemate, Ms Guan Li, 40.
Tanaka was given 14 months' jail in January last year for housebreaking and theft, while Foo was given 30 months' probation in 2015.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Charleston Teo said the trio were at a Geylang Internet gaming cafe on March 31, 2015 when Wong suggested robbing prostitutes.
They found about 10 contact numbers of prostitutes from the Internet and started making phone calls.
Ms Xiao responded and at about 2am the next day, they arrived outside her house at Prome Road in Balestier. The plan was for Wong to enter the house first, while Tanaka and Foo would hide behind a tree and rush in after him.
After Wong had entered Ms Xiao's home, she saw the other two men and immediately closed the door. Wong told her he needed to speak to his friends and he stepped out of the house.
This time the men decided that Foo would enter the house first. Wong called the victim again and convinced her to provide her services by increasing the fee to $300.
DPP Teo said Foo entered the house and stopped her from closing the door so the other men could also get in. Wong then punched Ms Xiao's face, and both he and Foo pushed her head several times.
They claimed to be police officers, and Foo flashed his ITE card. Then Tanaka stood guard while Wong and Foo stole $300 and two mobile phones from the room.
Ms Guan was in the toilet when she heard the commotion, so she left the house through the back door. She later found property worth $2,650 missing from her room.
Wong could have been jailed for up to 14 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane for robbery. The maximum penalty for theft is seven years' jail and a fine.