SINGAPORE - An unemployed man, who robbed and tied up two masseuses with cable ties, was sentenced to two years and seven months in jail and 12 strokes of the cane on Tuesday (Feb 23) for robbery and cheating.
Teo Zhi Jie, 21, was given a concurrent jail sentence of two months and fined the minimum $30,000 for helping a loan shark known as Sam by handing over his bank ATM card to his runner to facilitate in the loan shark's business.
A court heard that on Feb 26 last year, Teo called Lee Qing Yew, 19, and told him of his plan to rob prostitutes who were foreign nationals by impersonating policemen.
One person would make an appointment as a customer and the other would barge in and both would identity themselves as policemen making a check on the unit. They would then steal valuables.
Lee agreed. They decided to target illegal escorts as they thought such victims would not dare to report them. Both men contacted Melvin Tan Shen Kang, 18, who agreed to the plan.
The trio met at Serangoon Road and they bought cable ties.
Teo turned up at the Balestier Road unit of freelance masseuse Hu Yang for his appointment that evening.
Once inside, he asked to use the toilet. When the China national checked and found that he had put on rubber gloves, Teo pushed her to the bed, covered her mouth and tied up her hands with a cable tie. The other two entered the premises and they robbed her of $364, a Visa credit card and other personal belongings.
They divided the loot. Teo kept Ms Hu's card and used it at Mustafa Centre to buy a pair of headphones worth $499.
In the other robbery with wrongful restraint, committed on June 15 last year, it was agreed that Lee would pose as a customer and would let Teo and Andrew Tan Zhi Wei, 28, in once he got into China national He Yuanyuan's unit in Kim Keat Road for a massage.
But Ms He locked the door after Lee got in.
After the massage, Lee left. But he returned shortly, claiming he had left his wallet behind. When Ms He opened the door, Teo and Tan barged in.
They tied up her hands and robbed her of $800, two mobile phones and other items. Teo and Tan left with the stolen items but Lee was detained by Ms He and her boyfriend who came after the other two had fled. All the stolen items, except for a pair of sunglasses ,were returned.
Lee, who made restitution of $500 to Ms He, is now at Reformative Training Centre while Melvin Tan will be sentenced on March 3. Andrew Tan has absconded.