Man jailed 23 months for theft and opening 96 packets of rice at FairPrice supermarkets

Ng Peng Soon was on bail for theft when he vented his frustration by opening 96 packets of rice at FairPrice supermarkets over one week.
Ng Peng Soon was on bail for theft when he vented his frustration by opening 96 packets of rice at FairPrice supermarkets over one week. ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

SINGAPORE - A man was on bail for theft of an earpiece when he vented his frustration by using a nail clipper to open 96 packets of rice worth more than $1,000 at FairPrice supermarkets over one week.

Ng Peng Soon, 45, who faced six charges, was jailed for 23 months on Thursday (Jan 18) after he pleaded guilty to stealing a $96 earpiece at Popular book store in White Sands mall and two counts of mischief.

The court heard that Ng was having his work break at the mall in Pasir Ris Central Street 3 on Sept 7 last year when he went to Popular with the intention to steal the earpiece.

He took the earpiece and wanted to scrape off the barcode on the box so that it would not trigger the alarm during his exit from the store. But when he was about to do so, a customer appeared in the aisle and he quickly walked away, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace Chua.

Ng subsequently returned and removed the earpiece from the box. He placed the box on a bookshelf and covered it with an assessment book. He then left the store without paying for the earpiece.

A store employee discovered the empty box and informed the admin officer, who made a police report the next day. The earpiece was eventually recovered from Ng.

DPP Chua said while on bail, Ng went to a FairPrice supermarket in Tampines Avenue 4 on Oct 4.

Frustrated with his theft offence, Ng took out a nail clipper from his bag and scratched open 51 packets of rice costing $567. Four days later, he carried out the same act at a FairPrice outlet in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 by damaging 17 bags of rice valued at $212.

Three other mischief charges involving nine packets of rice at the FairPrice outlet in Tampines on Oct 5 and 7, and 19 packets at the outlet in City Square Mall on Oct 10 were taken into consideration.

In all, the total damage to FairPrice was around $1,163.

An Institute of Mental Health report noted that Ng had a psychiatric history of borderline intellectual functioning and antisocial personality disorder. However, there was no contributory link between these conditions and his offences.

Ng could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for theft in dwelling. For causing loss or damage of $500 or more in mischief, he could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined.